Mighty Mighty Bosstones

Manchester Uni

April 15 1998

Ok, let me start this by stating where I'm coming from, in order to get some perspective on things. I own a couple of Bosstones albums, not including the latest, (cos it's still too expensive on import). I like them, but wouldn't be what you would call, a major fan. This was my first chance to see them, and I went out of curiousity. So don't expect me to name all the songs they played, and whinge at the ones they didn't. Also, if you ain't guessed it, I'm from a rock background, whatever that may be, metal, punk, hardcore. Ok, so you get some kind of idea. Didn't walk into this gig thinking they were the best thing on 16 legs. But, man, was this an amazing gig. Absolutely amazing.

It wasn't so much the music, which was good, but the interaction between Dicky Barret and the crowd. Some still believe in the isolation of band and crowd. Some purists don't like the concept of stage diving, as it spoils the music, which is what I came to see. Ok, I can understand that, but it sometimes depends on the context. For this, it was essential.

Things started off relatively calmly. Barret's voice, especially when talking, sounded shot. Which he admitted. Sounded like he had been advised to cancel the gig. But they didn't. Anyway, a few songs in and the fun, and I do mean FUN, really started. They stop a song half way through. You 3, turn around and look at me. If they come over, catch them. Don't let them get hurt he informs the security. Which at least tells them what to expect. So things are sorted.

Except the next song gets stopped. Now there's no one there. Fuck, fill that space with people, and catch them when they come over. Don't let them get hurt. Fucking stupid people. If they want to get up onstage, let them, and I'll deal with them. So NOW we should be sorted. That's two songs we've fucked up now if you were counting.

Of course, the invitation was always asking for trouble. The next song ended, and you couldn't see the band. There was a line of people flanking the entire stage. Over to you Mr B. What, your shoes. I've got a fucking near riot on my hands, and you want me to help you look for your fucking shoes. Get off. he informs one individual, whose, um, lost their shoes. No I won't help you look for your shoes. I'm this close to getting arrested and he wants me to help him look for his fucking shoes. Fuck. Get off. The guy persists. Fucking third time, GET OFF. You GET OFF. You GET OFF. All with a smile and a grin. Eventually the line clears, bit like a line of lemmings really.

The gig continues. More people invade the stage, but it's all fun. The mike is given over to whoever wants to sing and knows the words. Which it seems, pretty much everyone down the front does. Some massive tattooed bloke gets up to sing and dance. Barret sees him, and does a oh fuck, look at the size of him impression, and passes on the mike. The guy sings, and disappears. He returns a lot, to lift Barret onto his shoulders, slings him over his back, and generally be a star. And when Barret dives into the crowd. Who is there to help him back out, tattooed bloke.

Throughout all this, there's a prevailing sense of FUN. No-one in the band looks like they're getting inconvenianced by it all, and remember, there's a horn section to this band playing as well. So it would seem that you can have stage invasions without it really effecting the band.

Barrett talks to us throughout. Telling us the story that they're going to appear on Top of the Pops, and TFI Friday. But that's not the story. The story is, that they said, "well, as you don't sound too good, maybe you should cancel the Manchester gig". I said fuck that. You are making me so happy. The gig continues, more dancers appear and disappear into the crowd. This is just like an old school Bosstones gig, from the early days when I was your age. Energy, anarchaic, but looking out for each other and making sure no one gets hurt.. There's a bit of buttering people up, and of course, a huge cheer for The Impression that I Get.

A couple of encores and it's over. Just over an hour. Words can't really describe this gig, you had to be there. Maybe it's like that everytime, and maybe the same things get said everytime, but somehow I doubt it. This was not just because of the music. If it was solely down to that, maybe it wouldn't have been so great. This was about the people, the interaction, and a gig being about NOW. Gig of the year is going to be a tough tough choice. This, the mighty fucking Pitchshifter shows, Gorilla, and still others to come. Some people talk about legendary gigs. Well, in our own minds some gigs are legendary. I think this one will become so in my mind.