Past it? Not a chance. This gig was in 2008, but even as recently as May 2012, they stole the Happy Mondays’ thunder during a support slot at Rock City. Still very much relevant.
Date: March 13, 2008
Venue: Rescue Rooms
The venues may have been scaled down since their Madchester heyday, and their waistlines may have expanded a little, but the very name of the Inspiral Carpets still holds considerable gravitas in certain circles.
They put the ‘mad’ into ‘Madchester’ by virtue of their psychedelic organ-frazzled indie punk; they’re responsible for Noel Gallagher (he was their roadie before being inspired to start his own seminal Manchester band), they stormed the Top 40 thirteen times with adroit indie tunes and yet, even in the year of the revival (James, Carter USM, Utah Saints, Prodigy, EMF…), their existence seems incongruous in today’s scene. But do they mind? Do the ‘eck as like.
Tom Hingley may be partial to some embarrassing dance moves while lurking around the stage with the awkward gait of a stray dad at a Klaxons gig, but he seems contented in the fact that his band are together again, tearing through hit-drenched sets like baggy dervishes.
He’s ok with the fact that, apart from a hardcore fan base, the 2008 music scene couldn’t care less about his band. But it should because the Inspiral Carpets have tunes – big, bulging beasts of tunes.
Opener Dragging Me Down – a searing and swirling delicacy which channels the band’s richly hypnotic organ sound through oceans of pent up angst – is superb; This Is How If Feels is swathed in a kaleidoscopic haze while She Comes In The Fall’s militant drums and call-to-arms chorus is very close to the set highlight.
However, that accolade goes to show-stopper Saturn 5. The band teased the audience, making them think that they weren’t going to play it. But they deliver, and as soon as the first slab of plastic on Clint Boon’s organ is depressed, it’s greeted like a returning war hero, and goes on to sound like the chest-beating, world-domineering pop song it always should have been.
They may not sit comfortably in today’s musical climate, but these Carpets are still magic in many eyes.