It’s chaos. Before Bad News, Tommy Stinson carefully attaches a capo to the neck of his guitar, immediately discards it as the first chords ring out, then stops the song altogether before cackling gleefully and restarting. During First Steps he forgets the lyrics. And towards the end of a buoyant if somewhat disorganised set, the former Replacement leads the audience in a chorus of Happy Birthday dedicated to guitarist Steve Selvidge as a cake is brought on stage, before uttering “you fucking c**t” as the chorus fades.
It’s also glorious. When the band hit their stride, which they do as soon as they get past the first few bars of each song, they’re absolutely unstoppable. Former Mighty Mighty Bosstones drummer Joe Sirois is at the root of it all, spending the set beating the living daylights out of his kit with precision, a thrilled grin on his face. There’s an incandescent version of The Who’s The Kids Are Alright, and Anything Could Happen is genuinely uplifting. After The Only Ones’ duo of singer Peter Perrett and guitarist John Perry join the party for a carefree scamper through that band’s classic Another Girl, Another Planet, Stinson thanks them, saying: “That meant the world to me”, and it feels like a genuine moment of deep personal joy rather than just another road-warrior platitude.
For a gig so shamefully under-attended, this was pretty special.