Down Amongst The Dead Men
Here we go again... it's the Membranes back in Manchester. This time as support for Therapy? on their latest UK tour.
The last time I saw John Robb and his gang of merry men, they played one of the last sets at the Blackpool 'Rebellion' punk festival, the Sunday night graveyard shift, but they smashed it and, in front of their home crowd, delivered the best performance of the entire weekend.
Tonight, the crowd were sparse for the early start, but one thing guaranteed is that these guys deliver the same level of performance wherever they are and whoever is, or isn't watching.
An instant rapport with the audience, a full-on set including the magnificent 'In the graveyard' the manic 'Hum of the universe' and my own favourite 'Space junk' simply because it was the best version I have seen of this one. The usual off- stage antics, refined when in his Goldblade period, he keeps the crowd on edge and involved in the performance. Robb simply can't decide whether to front the band with his high energy approach or join the audience to watch the gig.
At the end, Robb teased the challenging audience into action by promising that Therapy? said they wouldn't perform unless the crowd were hot and sweaty "you'd better dance to this one or else Therapy? won't perform and then you'll have paid twenty quid to see us lot". Well, who wouldn't if they perform this well at every gig?
At last, the gig moves into overdrive and a mosh pit threatens to break out. It doesn't matter though, the damage has already been done and the Membranes reign supreme, but it wasn't finished there... during Therapy’s set they returned to the stage to deliver a powerful joint rendition of the Joy Division classic 'Transmission'. What a bonus, what an iconic tune, what an honour.
Buy the album, get the t-shirt and for goodness sake, go to a Membranes gig. You really don't know what you are missing...