Secret gigs are great fun, even in the days of Facebook and Twitter.
There’s the uncertainty – is it genuine? Or will I stand in line for an hour for no discernible reason until I am forced to skulk off before anyone notices? Will it really be the band I think it will be? The idea of a discrete and exclusive show is very seductive… So when I read a tweet on Thursday night telling me that Inspiral Carpets would be playing a secret gig in Covent Garden the following day I was there like a rat up the proverbial drainpipe.
Covent Garden…. A part of London associated with show-off street performers and clowns. A perfect place, some might say, (but not me of course) for Liam Gallagher – who has a branch of his Pretty Green fashion chain on the Piazza.
Nevertheless it was still slightly disconcerting to see some hard-looking Mancs invade this gentrified part of town on Friday lunchtime. A large crowd gathered. There was tension in the air. But before I reached for my phone to call the police and have them moved on, I saw that it really was the excellent Inspiral Carpets playing a free lunchtime gig at Liam Gallagher’s flagship store. Twitter clearly never lies…
It must be good being Liam Gallagher: to be able to pull in musical legends to play a set in your shop whenever you wish. It probably didn’t hurt that his brother was the band’s roadie for a time. “My big brother used to work for you – now you work for me”, I can imagine Liam saying, although I’m sure he’s far more friendly than that. Indeed, Inspiral Carpets were nothing if not amiable and generous with their time, waving to children and tourists who were peering through the shop window wondering what all the kerfuffle was all about during the performance, and mixing with fans after the set to pose for photos and have a chat. Good vibes.
Warming up for the evening’s gig at Koko, the Carpets blazed through seven songs, starting with “Commercial Reign” and playing favourites such as “Joe” and “Saturn 5” before ending on the classic “This Is How It Feels“.
“We’ve played three shows (across the country) at Pretty Green, and you’ve been the best crowd” said de facto band leader and keys maestro Clint Boon, not entirely seriously, in between laying down what is Inspiral Carpets’ trademark keyboard sound.
“He says that at all the shows” countered singer (and original Inspirals vocalist) Stephen Holt, who rejoined the band in 2011 after previous lead singer Tom Hingley fell out with the rest of the band in the typical way that rock ‘n rollers do.
Bass player Martyn Walsh played with the crowd whilst laying down some very danceable grooves, and we partied like it was 1989….
Inspiral Carpets are currently touring the UK
Record #166: Inspiral Carpets – Saturn 5