Half Man Half Biscuit
Half Man Half Biscuit
We are chuffed to bits to welcome the legendary Half Man Half Biscuit to The Grand for the first time on Friday, June 9th.
Half Man Half Biscuit were formed in 1984 by two friends from Birkenhead, Neil Crossley and singer, guitarist and songwriter Nigel Blackwell.
Crossley moved to bass and the two were joined by Nigel's brother Simon Blackwell (lead guitar) and his friend Paul Wright (drums).
The quartet started to rehearse in the Liverpool based Vulcan Studios, where they soon turned a five-piece, with David Lloyd now on keyboards.
Their debut album, 1985's Back in the DHSS, topped the UK Indie Chart and reached number 60 in the UK Album Chart. Its title was a play on The Beatles' 'Back in the U.S.S.R' and referenced Blackwell's frequent visits to sign on, having been on unemployment benefits since 1979.
The band's first single, 'The Trumpton Riots", topped the British independent chart in 1986, and they went on to perform at Glastonbury. They were post-punk, similar to Josef K or The Fall. The second single, 'Dickie Davies Eyes', also topped the indie chart. In late 1986, the band split up, giving as reason "musical similarities". The album ACD, containing previously issued, unreleased and live tracks, followed.
The band reformed in 1990, with a performance at the Reading Festival following, and a new single, 'Let's Not' issued before the year was out, followed in 1991 by a collaboration with Margi Clarke on a version of Edith Piaf's 'No Regrets'. The third album was 'McIntyre, Treadmore and Davitt', released in October 1991. By the time 'This Leaden Pall' was released in 1993, Wright and Lloyd had left the band, with Carl Alty joining on drums. Simon Blackwell left the following year, with Ian S Jackson joining. Jackson and Alty departed in 1996, to be replaced by Ken Hancock (guitar) and Carl Henry (drums), this line-up remaining to this day. Since reforming, the band have produced an album every two or three years.
Half Man Half Biscuit were championed by DJ John Peel for whom they recorded 12 sessions, and it was on his programme in 1990 that the band announced their return.
The band played live more infrequently. Half Man Half Biscuit turned down the chance to appear on The Tube, as Tranmere Rovers were playing that night, even though Channel Four offered to fly them by helicopter to the game. Blackwell has been a fan of the team since 'sometime after the Coventry City cup win in 1968'.
The band's styles parody popular genres, while their lyrics allude to UK popular culture and geography. Blackwell often refers to popular culture and geography.
As the 1990s progressed, Blackwell's love of blues and folk became more apparent. In 2002, Andy Kershaw dubbed them "the most authentic English folk group since The Clash'. Bassist Crossley's tastes include late 1970s and early 1980s new wave or post-punk bands, and during live sets HMHB have performed covers of acts as diverse as Joy Division, Magazine, Tim Buckley, The Beach Boys, Tommy James and the Shondells and Ike and Tina Turner.
In April 2010, the band's song 'Joy Division Oven Gloves' from their 2005 album 'Achtung Bono' was the subject of a Facebook campaign to get it to No. 6 on the chart for April 12th, 2010, in response to the rumoured closure of the indie-supporting radio station BBC 6 Music. The song reached No. 56!
Half Man Half Biscuit only play live fleetingly and The Grand is privileged to be chosen as a venue for one of their few outings in 2017.
Half Man Half Biscuit will be supported by JD Meatyard.
Tickets: £22 ADV
Layout: General Admission
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