Inspiral Carpets – The Singles Tour – Coventry HMV Empire 21st April 2023
The Inspiral Carpets are part of the Holy Trinity of Madchester, along with Happy Mondays and Stone Roses, one of their roadies went on to form another massive band from the same city and their run of singles spans decades. This tour is a celebration of those songs and Fighting Boredom caught up with them on a Friday night in Coventry, read what we thought below.
We have met at a pub round the corner from the venue, as I sip my beer a bloke walks past, a bit younger than me, with a white tee shirt with a print of five pound notes around the collar, he’s going to see the Carpets I say, the Photographer looks at me, I describe the shirt and he nods in agreement. Because people, I mean you might be too young to remember, but I doubt it, when the Stone Roses led everything Madchester across the nation one of the Monkey King’s favourite shirts was a white tee shirt with, you guessed it, notes around the collar. Because these people’s youths are back here tonight and there’s a lot of them here to remember.
We chat to the people in the queue in front of us, all ‘alright lads’ and fist bumps and a question about whether they search people on the way in, and behind us, talking about music and gigs. I take the mickey out of my friends further down the queue and get the same back. The casual wear of jeans smart tops and short hair defines most of the audience, well those whose hair we can see that isn’t hidden by bucket hats. The merch stand is mobbed, buying the aforementioned hats, Moo and Cool As Fuck teeshirts and for the flush and truly lunatic fans, a bundle of the record, hat and shirt with a signed setlist for a hundred quid. Incidentally, I wonder if the geezer who got arrested for wearing his cool as fuck shirt in Coventry way back when is here tonight?
Inspirals hit the stage and get straight to it with an excellent Joe, it’s as good a song as they’ve got and it’s done brilliantly. Immediately getting everyone up and at ‘em. The driving organ is the force behind these songs, transporting them from another bunch of chancers from up North to a force of sixties influenced pop. They play well and are appreciated for it, as i said, this crowd are here for them alone and it shows with the dancing, the roars of applause and the chants of Mooooo! The place is jammed to the rafters, I’m stood near the back and it’s full here. God knows how the photographers doing down the front.
The organ spirals away and the guitars and drums follow, the singles flow past us as the crowd lap it up, it’s vindication for the band that these songs have stood the test of time, that’s why the people are here. An unchallenging night out to just let go of all the boring life stuff and remember when you were young.
The drums pop and groove, the guitars fizz along and the vocals are as deadpan as ever, they really are cool. As the whole crowd sings the chorus to ever song. Their best song, for me, is greeted by a mass singalong and the organ leads the way again, This Is How It Feels is a huge song and if I recall rightly to be singing about feelings way before people talked about such stuff. A groundbreaking song.
There’s John Cooper Clarke on the screens, visuals and patterns all over, people sweating buckets into their hats and adidas jacketed arms waving. It’s a celebration and the Inspiral Carpets are leading it.
All pictures by Martin Ward, all words by Adrian Bloxham.