Scarborough goes mad for the Happy Mondays

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It was a 90s revival in Scarborough on last night as hundreds of fans headed to the Open Air Theatre to see ‘Madchester’ legends The Happy Mondays.

This time there were no screaming teenagers to be seen, but at this gig it was all about the crazy dancing as the crowds braved the rain and showed off their best moves as the original line-up took to the stage.

Bez shakes his maracas with the Happy Mondays at Scarborough's Open Air Theatre. Picture Richard Ponter 132539a

Bez shakes his maracas with the Happy Mondays at Scarborough's Open Air Theatre. Picture Richard Ponter 132539a

The turn-out was undoubtedly smaller than last week’s The Wanted gig, however it still made for a buzzing atmosphere as cheers filled the auditorium when lead singer Shaun Ryder and random dancer and percussionist Bez appeared - complete with his famous maracas.

Mark Warburton. of Newlands, Scarborough, came with his wife and two friends.

He said: We are looking forward to it. We have come to reminisce. There are people here we saw on the Scarborough clubbing scene in the 90s. We were fans in the day but we haven’t seen them play before.”

It was Sunderland couple Deborah and Michael Robson’s first visit to the Open Air Theatre.

They said: “We haven’t seen the Happy Mondays before. We are really looking forward to it, it’s an ace band - and Scarborough’s so beautiful!”

Patch and Bev Blackwell, of Scalby Road, Scarborough, were also excited about the performance.

“We are fans of the Mondays and we are going back to our youth. We are looking forward to seeing them perform ‘you’re twistin’ my melons man’,” they said.

Speaking to The Scarborough News backstage, Happy Mondays guitarist, Mark Day, said the band was looking forward to the gig.

He said: “We’re looking forward to playing in Scarborough. The crowd seem up for it. You think it’s one of those towns where everyone is retired but it’s not at all. I’ve just been to the pub up the road and everyone is buzzing.

“It’s a great venue. It’s huge. I love the way there’s water at the front of the stage and the way the steam train goes past every 20 minutes.

“I was going to have a go on the crazy golf but I couldn’t find it so I had to sack it off.”

After a 17-year break from the band, Mark said it was strange getting back in the saddle.

“I have been doing other things like teaching and business but I got a phone call and it was too good to resist.

“We have still got the same vibe together. We have left our problems in the past. We’ve all got kids now and grown up.”

The Happy Mondays were supported by 808 State following a warm-up set by Scarborough DJ Mark Starkey, who was a fixture for many years at the town’s Tunnel Club,

Also supporting the band was local act HarleyLikesMusic, who uses two Nintendo DS games consoles to produce electronic music and perform his creations live.

Speaking after his performance, Scarborough-born Harley Raine, 22, said: “It’s one of the bigger gigs that I’ve done. It’s always nice to put music through such a big sound system, especially from such a small console.

“I was pretty shocked when I was asked to open for the Happy Mondays. I didn’t have to think about it, I said of course. It’s a big honour.

“It’s a quirky venue - especially the moat around the front of it. It’s a bit different compared to what I usually do.”

Janet Deacon, area director for Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “The people who are here are having an absolutely fantastic time. The atmosphere is great.

“It would have been good to have sold a few more tickets bit it’s quite a niche market.

“The Happy Mondays are an example of the diverse range of music at the Open Air Theatre so we can attract a mix of all ages and markets.”