Bad Manners

Bad Manners


“You Fat Bastard!” Bad Manners’ war-cry will be constantly chorused all the gig long, both by the crowd and the larger-than-life, charismatic frontman Buster Bloodvessel.

After struggling a little bit so as to get in the venue, by the time I’m in, support band Max Splodge is filling the thick air with punk-fuelled tunes that the audience sing along to. Let’s get the party started, then.

I must say that I was expecting a rather bigger crowd for Bad Manners, given the fact that the show belongs to their 40th Anniversary Tour. I enjoy the waiting though, looking at the fans’ funny parade. All kind of (weird) hats, perhaps on behalf of every urban tribe gathered tonight: mods, punks – [let’s accept ridiculously sharp mohicans as hats, shall we?] goths (!) and some other unclassified tribes. Friends, misfits, families and kids. Everybody is welcome! Love it.

With a reasonable 15 minute delay, the tune that foresees the band’s upcoming appearance makes people go berserk. For a moment, it seems that there’s no need to have the band on the stage, judging by the enthusiast crowd. Bloodvessel’s band finally shows up with a galloping intro. The frontman appears as an everlasting rock star, wearing an outrageous yet fabulous animal print jacket. This oversized outfit clearly shows his considerable slimming –it is said that he has got rid of almost 20 stones after a laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery he underwent back in 2004.

According to the almighty Wikipedia, he owned a hotel in Margate in the nineties, called Fatty Towers, “which specifically catered for larger customers, with features such as extra large beds and baths as well as fatty meals”. Visionary entrepreneur?

Holding a victory-beer, he cheers on the masses with the you-fat-bastard! motto. ‘This Is SKA’ seems the sign for start a jumping dance craze. This party blessing is followed by Millie’s ‘My Girl Lollipop’ cover. Sweet, playful and sharp, Bloodvessel compulsively shows us his tongue, in perfect sync with the stomping drum beats. You cheeky bastard! It’s almost impossible not to feel sympathy for this peculiar devil. The crowd rejoices in its energetic enthusiasm with the all-time-classics ‘Lorraine’, ‘Walking In The Sunshine’ and ‘Fatty Fatty’. Awesome wind musicians, by the way. Jazzy, classy touch.

A brief ceasefire in this non-stop party, in the form of smooth reaggae. Bloodvessel, the only original member in the current outfit, thanks the audience and shows his “pride” after 40 years of bad manners and good reputation. To celebrate it, he encourages us to count to 4 and jump. The crowd laughs and goes mental again.

He must be melting by now, but he refuses to take his beautiful jacket off, nor do the stylish mods all over the place.

There’s a mind-blowing keyboard to introduce ‘King Ska Fa’. It’s all about ska, really. Instrumental bonfire, Bloodvessel’s missing right now. Yet, the party goes on and on and on. The singer reappears just to remind us that we are “the sexiest people tonight!”. Nice. He then performs the epic love song by Frankie Valli, ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’.

A loyal fan provides me with a glorious headline: “Gig of the year!”. I guess that’s not ‘Just A Feeling’, my favourite song by this band. The superb harmonica once performed by Winston Bazoomies is now replaced by not less harmonic keyboard. Of course, it’s not as powerful and strident as Bazoomies’, who apparently now lives “a quiet life in North London”, as stated on the band’s official website. Anyways, it works as well.

‘Ne Ne Na Na Na Na Nu Nu’ brings magic on stage and madness on the floor. Bloodvessel might not be as fiercely convincing as he was at his peak in the 80’s. Hell, look at that smile! Another Mojo-rising cover: ‘Woolly Bully’ by Sam The Sham & Pharaohs, followed by a ‘Special Brew’ to recover ourselves.

Hot stuff for the encore: legendary ‘Lip up Fatty’ and ‘Can-Can’. Bloodvessel dances mad, beating his shiny bald head and his belly. These songs will continue beating our heads for a while, and we’ll go back home happily exhausted. Such a feel-good show! This week’s “gig of year”, no question!

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Amaia Santana

Good karma brought me here to Manchester, my second home, where you can stay healthy (despite the weather) and young forever, as you can breathe live music in every corner of the city. I do believe in the healing power of music (rock is my life vest) and I'd be so glad to share my passion with you rockers of the world!