‘They’ll be jumping from the ceiling next!’
Human Don’t Be Angry / Martin John Henry – Electric Circus, Edinburgh – Friday 15th June 2012
After seeing the first Human Don’t Be Angry full band show back in February, last night’s Electric Circus show offered MPT a chance to catch up with HDBA with the benefit of knowing the LP.
Not surprisingly the impression from February that HDBA is a different proposition live was quickly confirmed. Whilst the laptop provided all the electronic gubbins so crucial to the record, the presence of 2 guitars guaranteed the whole thing a rockier feel and made sense of the various Mogwai comparisons which have been bandied about.
Perhaps surprisingly though the show didn’t alter any perceptions on the relative merits of the different songs. ‘1985’ is my favourite on record and it was also my favourite on stage last night, whilst definitely gathering momentum from being played live by human beings. It’s probably the one that got the best reaction from the audience too.
‘Asklipiio’ remained my favourite ‘one with words’ complete, in this setting, with a section of near metallic white noise at one point.
Sometimes lesser songs on a record can be brought to life live and this was definitely the case with the closing number (think it was ‘Whatsleft’) . But there remain a couple which were just a little too noodly for me on the album – ‘Getting Better …’ was one of the few times when my attention wanders.
Human Don’t Be Angry are very much at a tangent to Malcolm Middleton’s solo work – but a very welcome one at that.
1. Intro 2. The Missing Plutonium 3. After The Pleasuredome 4. 1985 5. First Person Singular, Present Tense 6. Jaded 7. HDBA Theme 8. Monologue: River 9. Getting Better (At Feeling Like Shit) 10. Dreamer 11. Asklipiio 12. Whatsleft
Before taking up bass playing Angry Band duties, De Rosa front man Martin John Henry delivered a short solo set.
I’ve seen Martin play on his own a good few times over the years but this was one of the best. Helped with a crystal clear sound, Martin sang as well as I’ve ever heard him and he seemed really relaxed on stage, despite the fact that the audience almost obsessively avoided the dance floor in front of the stage.
One of the highlights was a first ever acoustic outing for ‘Flight Recorder’, which I couldn’t imagine would work. But it did.
Ah, yes – the lemmings. Halfway through the HDBA set I’d looked down at the monitors and thought that the laptop’s monitor (told you it was important!) looked very precariously balanced on the edge of the stage. At which point with a squeal of ‘Oh No!’ it promptly dived off the stage.
Bizarrely, 30 seconds later, Malcolm’s monitor did exactly the same thing. Which proves that when HDBA get danceable, they’re so hard to resist even the monitors join in!
Martin John Henry setlist:
1. Hopes and Little Jokes 2. New Lanark 3. Cody 4. Flight Recorder 5. Ribbon on a Bough 6. Under The Stairs 7. Tinto
Of course, both records are also available in all good independent record stores.
More photos from the show here.