Inspiral Carpets brought the curtain down at 53 Degrees in thumping style, writes MALCOLM WYATT
Inspiral Carpets proved the perfect act to bring the curtain down on Preston’s threatened 53 Degrees venue, while ending their own December tour in style.
After impressive support slots from Blossoms and Brown Brogues, expectation grew, the local herd ‘mooing’ in time-honoured fashion to draw their Cow label heroes out.
Monochrome was a winning starting point, and while the sound was a little soupy all night, there was plenty of passion from a band belying their shelf-life, surely as fresh today as first time round.
From Martyn’s driving bass to Clint’s tell-tale organ and Stephen’s Julian Cope-like vox, we quickly shifted up the gears.
Not all the audience seemed to know the new songs, but they came alive for pop explanation mark Joe, Craig’s military drumbeat calling the tune.
The band dynamic was soon apparent - Clint doing most of the talking, Stephen saving himself between vocal stints for occasional pogoing, Graham tucked away with his guitar, Martyn driving the rhythm.
You’re So Good For Me deserved more crowd participation, the band’s comeback hit followed by 1992’s Two Worlds Collide, Stephen – the co-founder who recently returned to Carpets action - clearly at home with Tom Hingley’s vocal lines.
They seemed a tight unit too, with plenty of smiles for audience and band members alike, inspiring the joint to jump for She Comes In The Fall.
Clint’s organ reminded me of recent 53 Degrees visitors The Stranglers on new album track A to Z of My Heart.
And the floor was soon pounding to the might of breakthrough hit This Is How It Feels, jokingly introduced as a new song written in a dub-step style.
But if ever there was a sign that this is still a vital band with plenty of hooks, Spitfire seems to make up for all that lost time between incarnations, the front of the hall moving en masse.
Move provided a further wander down Memory Lane, Madchester, Craig then taking us to Sackville before Stephen bounced his way through Find Out Why.
Calling Out To You also showcased the strength of the new album, while legend of The Fall Mark E. Smith’s sequenced Salford drawl introduced a pulsaing I Want You.
Clint asked what time it was - the Sunday curfew approaching – and one punter tried to hoodwink him into believing it was only half nine in a desperate attempt to secure more tunes.
But time was ebbing away as we moved on to last song Let You Down, John Cooper Clarke - again via Clint’s techno-trickery - supplying his winning verse for the band’s new single, Martyn’s Teardrops-era bass underpinned by Clint’s roving key work.
They were soon back, the new album’s brooding Human Shield building nicely before 1992’s Dragging Me Down, Clint’s memorable riff seeing us in, the audience helping out with the chorus.
And where to finish but another sumptuous pop moment, Saturn V, its Mysterians-like keyboard intro and Graham’s chop guitar providing the platform for the band to go out in style.
While 53 Degrees’ future may be in doubt, this treasured five-piece seem to have plenty of good times ahead of them.