The durhhum-noo-noo-nuh-num-num-nurnur of the guitar strings twiddle and bend beneath the bullet-hail of drums, the combined to make the first three tracks sound surprisingly menace-zing. Twenny, maybe thirty feet away, beneath the spotlights and behind the smoke, Britian's best loved band take the stage...
Asses wiggle and rap hand gestures abound. Cameraphones snap-flash, hoping to create a perfect stop animation of Alex's hands alternating between strumming, mic holding and hair behind-ear-ing. The smartphone fireflies dissipate as the crowd does that changing tide push, crush and sway. Then, as a few breathes are caught, it continues anthem-ning it down! 'Brainstorm' gets the entire arena "wuh-wuh"-ing its topline melody. Crash-crash and the bash. The thrash. The smash. Then the bang and the ass-walloping chorus of "I bet you look good on t' dah-antz-floor" which is gutturally uh-uhing from the chapped lips of every beer slingin' brawler with his eyes slammed shut, screaming "FER-ROM NINETEEN EIIIGHT-TEA FOUR-WAHHH!" Meanwhile, these geez's better-halfs point their chewed manicures stageward, poking at every offbeat of the drum riddim.
'Excuberent' (read: probably 'charlie' snaffling) pockets of the crowd are going nuts, bubbling apart like lava melting and bursting through ice as circle-pits open out and stray limbs swing, near-skanking showing themselves as deniers of their inner-Ska kid. Charged atoms thrust - skulls, hips and chests clash to the dur-dum-doom-doom of the Homme-enhanced, violence-threatening backdrop come hail of aural-projectiles.
Lightning tears of genius zap the room, yet the hollow headed chromedomes behind me yarble their "Play the fahhhkin first album-bum" yakkedy-yakking. They heckle and moan, yet excitedly spill or sling their empty plastic cups every time there's a false-ending (of which, tonight, there are perhaps a few too many). These shiny-headed Fred Perry-shirted REAL MEN are alone in their new album berating, as the skull-bashing 'n' bouncing merry ruckus on the floor below me attests. The sweaty throng bellow every sylabol. Damp fart/dark cloud of Be Here Now, this is not. No, this rebirthed, rocked-up, Badseeds indepted tomb-pop tomes, have the entire crowd - your humble scribe included - lost in awe.
The drone, the snake shadows on the walls, the steam train wooh-ooh-oohs become incantions for a collective snake hip wriggle as 'Potion Approaching' crescendos. And those drums, oh those drums, they even have the baldies behind me under their spell. 'Cornerstone' provides a moment of relative Christmas-single calm. Meanwhile, circle pit scores are settled and girlfriends cuddled.
On stage, few words are forthcoming as beers are 'swug' and guitars tuned. And on it rattles.... 'View from the Afternoon' shouldn't fit but, like a salmon-shirted man shimmying to the bar, the indie-pop jangle wrangles its way in. In fact, somehow, every track, be it via vernacular, dialectual dexterity or simple clack-clatter, fits together and coheres, perhaps not seamlessly so but it is not as scarecrow jackets as it could or should be. It's hit after hit, each one a night-we-met and warmest-party/festival memory rekindler.
Its been said a billion times before but they are Britishness destilled down to its soap scum, steamy mirrored, hungover in Whetherspoons simplest elixir. Tonight, it rolls on and rocks more than just a little until Alex sings "fool's on pah-raid, ca-vort and fook abaht" in a distant written song about the throng sweating before him - with an honourable mention to those nose-bleedin' in the gents.
Ending with an encore of 'Florescent Adolescent' which sends arms aloft, stirs the bouncey-bounce-bounce and has the room shouting "...in your fishnets... Night dress... Tabasco... Rascle..." before leaving the stage to my song of the decade: '505'...