For too long, Birkenhead indie band Half Man Half Biscuit have been perceived as leftover eighties doleboy purveyors of shambling comedy songs, full of daytime TV and sports references. But as anyone who has been paying attention will tell you, the band – and in particular Nigel Blackwell’s lyrics – are so much more than that. The comic elements tempering what is, in the words of Taylor Parke’s recent and much needed re-evaluation in The Quietus, ‘barely contained vitriol’.
Through 13 albums, Nigel and the band have documented the minutiae of broken Britain and the torrent of trivial shit that threatens to engulf us all, leavening it with the occasional gag about Peter Sarstedt or Welsh Goths. Personal issues mean that the band don’t tour much, and never for more than a date or two at a time, so props to Wylam Brewery for getting them to Newcastle for a rare visit on Friday 18th November.