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Running Order Squabble Fest

By The Bootleg Mark Chapman


In these times of recession, one must tread carefully when tempted by a seeming bargain or getting something for nothing. As they always say on that bizarre programme 'The Real Hustle'; "Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is".

So, I was a tad sceptical when I saw a flyer (FREE ENTRY!) for the re-opening of 'The Masque', in Liverpool, advertising a semi-stellar line-up of Barry Sutton (ex Marshmallow Overcoat and The La's); The Aeroplanes; John Head; and The Maybes?. Although I don't drink, I also heard rumours of a free bar, which turned out to be true to a point (you had to be on the 'guest list' - even though entrance was free to all and sundry - in one of the bands; mates with the bands; or hard). I ticked none of these boxes in any event.

Predictably, it was rammed.  It looked like it was going to be a late one, and, if I only knew the half, I wouldn't be writing this review, as I would have stayed home like any self-respecting nearly-50 year-old. The problem, it seemed to me, was Barry Sutton. Due to go on at 9.15, I saw him at various times, around the place, showing no inclination to pick up his guitar and head stage-wards. Tactically, he was clearly playing for time, and a bigger crowd, and eventually deigned us with his presence at 10.15.  Despite moaning constantly at 'Mr Sound-Man', he delivered a pretty good set. Doubtless the hapless engineer battered him outside later anyway.

The delay was good news for The Aeroplanes, who came on at the optimum time of 11.15, with the main room packed out.  Not my cup-of-tea, la, but they cemented their position as Liverpool's best Brit-Pop tribute act, and pleased the majority of increasingly drink-fuelled audience.

This worked to the detriment of John Head and his new band 'The Streams', who finally took to the stage at just after midnight, to a half-cut crew of Maybes? fans (although, in fairness, John's sobriety was also questionable), many of whom had their backs to the stage, and gabbed-away during The Streams' beautiful set. "Right venue, wrong crowd", said a Shack / Head Brothers fan, near me, sadly. He was right.

Eventually - and I can't believe I lasted this long - The Maybes? (minus the holidaying Lee), came on and did what they do so well.  'Promise' is fast turning into the scouse anthem, in all it's 9-minute glory, and we love these young scamps to bits.

Some 6 hours after I arrived, therefore, I finally made my way out into the 'Beaut City Arizona' that is the Seel Street / Concert Square area. Fighting my way through crowds of muscled young tee-shirted dudes, and scantily clad women, I was happy to find my car in one-piece and not blocked in. It had been a long night, but a worthwhile one. Rock 'n Roll, eh?



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