Review: Happy Mondays fail to deliver the goods at Norwich’s UEA LCR

Happy Mondays performed at UEA LCR last night. Picture: Steve Hunt

Happy Mondays performed at UEA LCR last night. Picture: Steve Hunt - Credit: Steve Hunt

HAPPY MONDAYS - UEA LCR First the disclaimers... In general I love the current trend of bands from the 80s and 90s getting back together and touring again. Many of them are bringing fresh life to old songs and giving people a great time once more.

Happy Mondays took to the stage as part of their 25 greatest hits gigs. Picture: Steve Hunt

Happy Mondays took to the stage as part of their 25 greatest hits gigs. Picture: Steve Hunt - Credit: Steve Hunt

HAPPY MONDAYS - UEA LCR

First the disclaimers...

In general I love the current trend of bands from the 80s and 90s getting back together and touring again. Many of them are bringing fresh life to old songs and giving people a great time once more.

I also love the Happy Mondays.

Happy Mondays performed at UEA LCR last night. Picture: Steve Hunt

Happy Mondays performed at UEA LCR last night. Picture: Steve Hunt - Credit: Steve Hunt


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But I'm sad to say this latest tour, which saw them play the UEA LCR on Thursday night, felt like a reunion too far.

The Manchester-band are back on the road for a set of 25 greatest hits gigs to mark the 30th anniversary of their debut album.

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But this felt like a group of people going through the motions, rather than back together to celebrate all the things that made them big in the first place.

Granted, the Mondays never would be classed as a tight and technically gifted live band, but what they lacked in talent, they always made up for with passion, presence and an edge.

But on this appearance at least, that all appears to be long gone.

Take lead singer Shaun Ryder, for instance. I know he's based much of his career on being nonchalant and at times aloof, but his heart wasn't really in it.

Lacking much of the cheeky charm that helped make his name, he spent most of the gig rooted to the spot, reading lyrics off a monitor, hand in pocket, lifting it briefly every now and then to vape.

To be fair, for brief moments they hit the sweet spot and the hardcore amongst the crowd enjoyed some freaky dancin to classics like 'Step On', 'Wrote for Luck' and 'Hallelujah'.

But most of the highlights could be credited to Ryder's co-singer Rowetta, still blessed with an amazing voice and a shining light of the gig. Top marks - she even looked like she wanted to be there.

The same could not be said of the rest of the band and I spent much of the evening trying to read the body language and wondering if, off stage, any of them even go as far to talk to each other any more.

Of course, if the band are great, it doesn't matter if they get on or not. But on this ocassion I left feeling they'd reunited for all the wrong reasons, not the right ones.

All of this might explain why they headed off into the night at 10.15, just one hour 10 minutes after arriving.

I'm fortunate to have received a review ticket, but had I parted with £29.50 for the gig, for which the only support act was a DJ, that might rankle somewhat.

Call the cops Norwich, this Mondays fan thinks we were robbed.

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