Saturday, 15 April, 2023 in Culture, Live Reviews, Music

Into Music Live Review: Inspiral Carpets

Concert: Inspiral Carpets
Venue: Glasgow SWG3
Date: 13 April 2023

There are times when the planets align, somehow slotting into place to create magic you can’t touch or bottle. Thursday night in Glasgow was one of those occasions. The bars were ten deep as punters queued for massive double pints of lager, the support act Dirty Laces (do check them out) played a short but thrilling set before the crowd were treated to a DJ mastermix of Manchester top tuneage from James to The Smiths, Stone Roses and Happy Mondays. 

Suitably satiated, it was time for the headline act the Inspiral Carpets to take to the stage and raise the bar a notch or two – they did that and then some. The band were touring for the first time in eight years in support of their recently released compilation The Complete Singles which covers twenty-four gems from 1988 to the present-day. Early single Joe kicked things off nicely. The song, all swirling organ, urgent vocals and hammered drums. A few of those two-pint tumblers went flying as the crowd got into it, not one f#ck given. 

Weakness was an early belter, Oscar Boon’s driving bass line really pushing the track before a stunning take on Butterfly, the dual vocal shared between Stephen Holt and Clint Boon whose Farfisa keys took the song to heady heights. How do you follow that? Well, how about a double whammy of She Comes In The Fall and This Is How It Feels, the latter introduced as a new song! You could almost touch the atmosphere at this stage and it was good to see both new/young and old fans alike getting into it, something Clint Boon acknowledged during the set. 

An enduring appeal of the band is their lyrical content, see the aforementioned This Is How It Feels and Two Worlds Collide, the latter exploring socio-economic topics yet it was delivered as a perfect, harmonious pop song, undoubtedly a highlight of the set. We are also treated to “virtual” appearances by John Cooper Clarke on Let You Down and Mark E.Smith on the chaotic I Want You, where the speed of Kev Clark’s drumming was a sight to behold, the lad needed a well-deserved break after that. Off the scale.

It’s clear to see why the band have an enduring appeal, their mix of garage, psychedelia and the uncanny knack of capturing the pop zeitgeist shines through in the quality of the songs. Pretty much all dates on the tour are sold out for a band at the top of their game. Move is also dedicated to Stephen Pastel. The song, slow, melodic, with hints of C86. Holt’s vocal moving from understated to soaring. 

A blistering set but there was more to come with a three-song encore comprising the hypnotic Commercial Reign. (The song dedicated to their late drummer Craig Gill who passed away in 2016). Boon’s swirls and swishes on the Farfisa were a joy. A cover of ? & The Mysterians’ 96 Tears and, of course, Saturn 5 where Graham Lambert’s cutting guitar shone through. 

A triumph of a gig, the Inspiral Carpets remain Cool as F#ck. Head over to the band website here for more.

 John Welsh




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