Mansun may be known for self-indulgence, but this is ridiculous. As Gay Dad dive into opener ‘New Age Panic’ with a flurry of hurried guitars and angry, soaring vocals something seems oddly familiar. And then it hits. The ever-modest Mansun have chosen a support band that sounds exactly like them.
Floppy-haired, black-clad vocalist (and ex-journalist) Cliff Jones is an even prettier version of Paul Draper. Chiselled pop star to Draper’s tortured artist, he obviously relishes every moment tonight. Six short songs prickle confrontationally, too energetic and excited to bother with the headliners’ pretension, but crackling with similar ambition. It’s lofty prog-rock turned inside out and spring-cleaned, blessed with Supergrass’ eternal good mood yet avoiding straightforward pop chirpiness.
So, though careering recklessly towards its end in an orchestral whirl, ‘Dimstar’ is calmed by the elfin backing vocals of Charley Stone and Jones’ wistful sighs. ‘Oh Jim’, meanwhile, is early Lemonheads gone space-age, while ‘Different Kind Of Blue’ muddles cracked samples with violins and floods everything in an irresistibly relaxed John Lennon haze. As Cliff calmly gazes into the audience and acknowledges the polite smatter of applause, though, Gay Dad are already headlining in his mind.