Inspiral Carpets – Live

31 Jul

Concorde 2, Brighton: Friday, July 27

Singer Stephen Holt rejoined the Inspiral Carpets last year after two decades with Tom Hingley at helm. Holt missed their peak period, bowl-cut barnets, paydays and Top 40 successes, but at Concorde 2, as he stood on the monitors and orchestrated the crowd, it was like he was back where he belonged.

Switching frontmen is rarely successful, but Holt’s return was no doubt helped by the fact that the Inspirals have always been seen as organ maestro Clint Boon’s band, a status signified by the shouts of ‘Boon Army’ that rang out in between every song.

The terrace-style chanting made it clear the crowd was up for it and, despite the stifling heart, so were Boon and co.

From the shout-along Joe and the stop-start swagger of She Comes In The Fall to the indie disco classic This Is How It Feels, this didn’t sound like a band going through the motions to top-up their pensions.

There was a palpable sense of urgency and commitment that, to be frank, was totally unexpected; the drumming was brash and blistering, the low-slung bass was so deep it sounded like it was being played under the floor, while Boon’s jabbing organ lines skimmed along like perfectly-aimed pot shots at the tight rhythm section below.

The doubling-up of Holt’s and Boon’s vocals also added an extra shot of vim, helping to produce a sound more akin to their original garage-band roots than the indie makeweights and Madchester halfwits they are so frequently filed alongside.

“Half the world is watching the Olympic opening ceremony and you’ve been watching the Inspiral Carpets,” said Boon at one point. 

As the majestic Saturn 5, with the chorus line “You really were the greatest sight” was shouted back by 300 sweat-drenched souls, those glued to their goggleboxes didn’t know what they were missing. The Inspirals aren’t past-it also rans. On this form, they should still be contenders.

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