Malcolm Middleton / Human Don’t Be Angry – Electric Circus, Edinburgh – 14th December 2011
One man – two sets. Even if he doesn’t bother to even change (or lose) his hat in between.
The headliner first. There’s a realisation at some point, just how fucking brilliant it is to have Malcolm Middleton back. Actually strike that – those moments come thick and fast. Second tune in – ‘Devastation’, the immortal opening line to ‘Autumn’, the intro to ‘A Brighter Beat’, the classic ‘Blue Plastic Bags’, the new ‘Gone Gone Gone’ (a “cover” of a Human Don’t Be Angry song (!) which he definitely played at Tigerfest last year), a solo ‘Shadows’, the closing epic ‘Love Comes In Waves’, the list goes on and on.
Inevitably the show takes in the usual deadpan humour and, hilariously, Malcolm even manages to get himself out-heckled on how good new song ‘The Whole World’s Gone To Fuck’ might or might not be.
Classic Middleton in every way and a packed Electric Circus laps it up.
The opening Human Don’t Be Angry, set is a slightly curious mix. In some respects it’s a fairly radical departure, reminiscent of Mogwai at their most languid, largely instrumental built up from Malcolm’s basic electric guitar and added to with loops and samples.
Mostly, it’s utterly captivating, such as the brilliant ‘Asklipiio’, but occasionally, particularly on instrumental ‘Getting Better (Feeling Shite)’, it meanders to no great purpose.
And yet. The only traditional song (which closes the set,) as well as ‘Gone, Gone, Gone’ in the main set, aren’t that far removed from the solo incarnation.
Whatever. The ‘solo stuff’ is likely to be on the back burner for most of 2012 in favour of Human Don’t Be Angry with the intriguing prospect that forthcoming LP ‘Midnight Noodles’ may be promoted with the help of other musicians.
But when the darkest month draws round again in 12 months time, don’t be surprised to see Malcolm on the road again under his own name – these tours seem to be becoming a permanent fixture in the run-up to Christmas.
Malcolm Middleton setlist
1. Four Cigarettes 2. Devastation 3. Monday Night Nothing 4. Autumn 5. Week Off 6. A Brighter Beat 7. We’re All Going To Die 8. Blue Plastic Bags 9. Gone, Gone, Gone 10. Pants Down (?) 11. Choir 12. Shadows 13. Moments 14. Love Comes In Waves
15. Burst Noel 16. The Whole World’s Going To Fuck 17. The Loneliest Night of My Life Came Calling 18. Fuck It, I Love You 19. Devil and the Angel
Spot the difference! – Human Don’t Be Angry