It seems like many people have been waiting a long time for this, the Ultimate Reformation. And was it worth the wait? Ye Gods yes. Once you get over the similarities between Howard Devoto and the love child of Jasper Carrot and Mini-Me that is.
A totally charismatic front man whose bizarre mannerisms and behavior are delivered without hint of irony, every word preached with an almost demonic authority. When he reads "The Book" from a lectern stage front, it doesn't sound like a story any more - it is real. Jesus, poor Mr. Manifold, I really felt for him.
I was there for both thursday and friday - as I'm sure most of the (95% male, middle-aged, balding) crowd were. Maybe one criticism I would level at Devoto is my disappointment on the friday that the between song banter was quite so scripted - word for word a repeat of the thursday. And the complete omission of all but two tracks from Secondhand Daylight. How can Feed The Enemy not be included? What were they thinking of?
It seems that half the venues in town have now been snapped up by HMV who are obviously shitting themselves that CD sales are now so bad that they have to get into live music and have somehow ousted Carling from the sponsorship top spot. I'm sure as a result of this, I was threatened expulsion from the venue for using a "professional camera", despite being surrounded by people taking photos on "lesser" cameras or even videoing the entire show on their phones! This is the typical record industry behavior that has got them up shit creek in the first place - sheer greed. If I had a press pass I would have been in the press pit, NOT ten rows back straining over people heads to take a quick snap for here. Funnily enough my pictures are not good enough to sell to OK magazine. And here I am, promoting live music for all and encouraging people to visit HMV venues. Bastards. Anyway, three shots survived to tell the tale.