The Lovely Eggs


The circus is in town tonight. Lancaster’s two best bands, miles apart in style but united in ethos, have come to the end of a ten date sold-out nationwide tour, climaxing at Band on the Wall for what will turn out to be a memorable blow-off. The Lovely Eggs are a successful DIY band, a rare thing in 2018 and something that should give us all hope. They have put together a formidable touring troupe too: alongside themselves, they have recruited fellow Lancastrians Mr. Ben & The Bens, and, remarkably, the comedian Phill Jupitus.

Mr. Ben & The Bens are the opening act, a four piece with a knack of hiding little philosophical truths behind seemingly trivial tales of everyday life. Mr. Ben himself introduces each track with a handy summary of what we’re about to hear – one is about his dog Alan (R.I.P.), another about his favourite pen. But make no mistake, they know that these songs are about more than that. The best is ‘The Same Rain Falls on Every Soul’, a delicately beautiful track that calls to mind The Leisure Society. Ben plays a simple trumpet intro and outro that he is later self-deprecatory about, but his hesitant playing actually lends it an extra layer of vulnerability. They get an ovation at the end of their set that is rarely heard for a support, and they deserve it.

Porky the Poet

Jupitus is up next, under his Porky the Poet persona. He made his name in the 1980s as an opening act for some of the best acts of the era, notably Billy Bragg and Madness, so this return to his roots is fun to watch. Quite how The Lovely Eggs managed to recruit him remains unclear, although he does modestly say at one stage that since his “pop quiz” has been cancelled, he’s not hard to afford. In truth, he’s donating his fee to Arts Emergency, a charity co-founded by Josie Long that helps to provide young people access to studying the arts. Jupitus is clearly enjoying the tour, and he treats us to John Cooper Clarke-style poems that recount his troubled experience supporting Madness, his awkward experience of meeting Paul McCartney and his encounter with a particular London bookstore assistant that left an impression on him. One poem about his 4-year-old daughter is ruined by an over-zealous heckler, but even this he is able to turn into a positive. Just a few months ago, Adam Buxton was a surprise opening act for Spoon in Manchester too – this is a trend that it would be great to see resurrected into a regular thing again.

And so that leaves the main event. Husband and wife duo Holly Ross and David Blackwell have been ploughing a lone furrow as The Lovely Eggs for over a decade now, with remarkably little help from any major commercial support. Their last few albums have been released on their own label, Egg Records, as is the new one This Is Eggland, which is to be released six days after tonight’s gig. “This is our favourite city in the world!” exclaims Holly early on, and even though it’d be hard to tell if they weren’t ready to let their hair down, tonight clearly they are.

The new tracks get their outings, with ‘I Shouldn’t Have Said That’ and particularly ‘Wiggy Giggy’ proving that they are still as passionate and ready to put the world to rights as they ever were. Holly’s searing guitar attacks and David’s furious, punching drums are all they need to make their point. The crowd sucks up their energy, shakes it up and volleys it right back at the band, and so it carries on in a vicious circle until Band on the Wall is rumbling in its foundations.

Any chance the crowd get to scream along to one of Holly’s one-line zingers is not missed, which would include the entirety of ‘People Are Twats’, a song she tells us didn’t go down half as well when they played it in Oxford. These people certainly get The Lovely Eggs and what they’re about, and when it’s time for ‘Fuck It’, the scarves are out and flying high and proud. They invite a punter on stage to be their official photographer for the track – his name was Gary, for the record – and he somehow manages to stay composed enough to make the video. The same can’t be said for the rest of us. The other on-stage guest is a spiritual coach who attempts to guide the crowd through some meditative moves, but it mostly consists of the front few rows kneeling down for a bit, whilst the band play an extended psychedelic freakout. The second it finished, it was hard to believe it had even happened.

Holly and David tell us the tale of how their day began at 5am this morning in London – a hilarious story that is too long and winding to tell here, but one that shows the bond between stage and audience. The Lovely Eggs are your friends, not your entertainers. Holly also takes a time out to quite rightly celebrate the success of the tour, saying that it proves that the spirit of the band is working. And she’s right, this really is working. The fact that she is waving a cider can in the air as she says it is just a bonus.

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Max Pilley

I'm a refugee in Manchester, having successfully escaped Birmingham in 2007. I'm a soon-to-be journalism student, used to edit the music section of the Manchester Uni paper, and have done a little radio production to boot. I've been adding bits and pieces to Silent Radio since 2012, mostly gig reviews, but a few albums too. Also hoping now to get involved with the brilliant radio show. When doing none of that, you can usually find me at some gig venue somewhere around town.