The Lancashire Hotpots (with Stu Penders and Spladoosh)
Brudenell Social Club, Leeds (18th November 2017)
It's been a couple of years since I last donned by flat cap, neckerchief and rainbow waistcoat to see the Northern comedy-folk band The Lancashire Hotpots so considered their tour to celebrate ten years since their debut the perfect re-introduction back to seeing the now six-strong band, and that decision was rewarded with one of their biggest, brightest and best performances yet.
Jumping in the popular bandwagon of playing their debut album in full, something done recently by Maximo Park, Scouting for Girls, Reverend and the Makers and many others, they also delivered a best-of of the rest of the albums around it.
The night opened with support from Stu Penders and Spladoosh, an act I'd come across last year with some brilliant drunken Christmas covers (this is hilarious and I only wish you could buy them). It would be disingenuous of me to reveal the people behind the wigs but all I'll say is that, even with a strong history of the Hotpots picking quality support acts, this was the best and arguably one of the most intentionally hilarious support acts I've ever seen. Over twenty-or-so minutes I probably laughed more at the mangled lyrics, over the top performance and skits by Stu Penders than I have in many comedy movies. Including an on-stage serenade to a member of the audience, this was a well rehearsed and planned comedy set that was laugh out loud funny and brilliantly timed.
Onto the main act and we got an impressive almost two-hours of music, and the Lancashire Hotpots once more showed that they could give far bigger bands a run for their money in the entertainment stakes, with a set-list that was pretty much the ideal one considering the confines of playing their first album in full. Opening with arguably their best introduction song 'Mek Us A Brew' the crowd, many dressed in flat caps, were on top form singing along to their songs.
After this we got the debut album 'Never Mind the Hotpots' in full which, even though the order of songs, as the band confessed on stage, wasn't quite how they'd do it live, the energy was palpable. 'Chippy Tea', naturally, lit up the room whilst the singable bits of 'I Met A Girl on Myspace' lived on even if the social network doesn't. A calypso version of 'He Turned Emo' - either a funny error by keyboardist Billy McCartney or a set-up stage riff - was brilliant, and 'Ebay 'Eck', a personal favourite, was very welcome. Other highlights included an extended outro for 'The Firewall Song', the ever loveable 'A Lancashire DJ' complete with their infamous chorus, and after many years away a brilliant version of 'Me PSP', one of their best on the album. Throwing in live regular 'Bitter Lager Cider Ale and Stout' and the revitalised 'Sat Nav', complete with quick tribute to former member Willie Eckerslike, and it was clear that their first album was full of big hits. They even wrapped up with the ending Christmas song which is now relatively seasonally appropriate.
After a quick pause the band delivered a greatest hits ending to the show that included many of their biggest party hits. We got the singable highlights of 'The Perfect Pint' and 'Thirsty Thursday', the anthemic 'The Girl from Bargain Booze', 'You Could Get Hit By A Bus Tomorrow', 'Do The Dad Dance' and 'Egg, Sausage, Chips and Beans', proving that there are many big numbers beyond that first release, and they were all performed with big energy from the band and the crowd were in the zone with them. It's a shame that several favourites were missed out due to the restrictions of the format, but when you have as many albums as the band does now there's always going to be omissions.
With one of the best support acts I've seen in a long time and a lengthy, hit-packed and well-delivered set, you'd be hard pressed to have found a better more energetic band to see on a Saturday night. (8/10)