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REVIEW; Half Man Half Biscuit, Solus, Cardiff University.

Half Man Half Biscui* Half Man Half Biscuit hold a special place in the heart of every man of a certain age who never grew out of their indie stage.

The Birkenhead band, formed back in 1984, remain poster boys for a kind of outsider pop.

They are, let us not forget, the group who famously turned down an appearance on The Tube because it clashed with a Tranmere Rovers game, and whose wonderfully arch song titles include the famous All I Want For Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit.

And thatEUROs what the crowd was like for this triumphant performance EUR" their first in Cardiff for five years EUR" predominantly forty-something T-shirt clad men who know all the words to Trumpton Riots.

Half Man Half Biscuit release a new album next month, but you wouldnEUROt know it from a set which, new song TommyWalshEUROs Eco House apart, was a rollicking two-hour journey through what you might call their greatest hits, if theyEUROd ever had any hits that is.

The set list could not have been any better received had they have asked the fans to draw it up EUR" this was just classic after another, from the opener The Light At The End of the Tunnel (Is The Light Of An Oncoming Train) through to the best of their recent albums, which have been among their most inventive, and cult favourites such as Vatican Broadside and Bob Wilson: Anchorman.

Playing to the crowd, laconic scouse frontman Nigel Blackwell chatted in Welsh as well as playing a cover of Calon LEon and, ironically, Help Me Rhonda, and indulged in football chat (EUR[pounds sterling]Does Jason Koumas still play for you? Good player but no work ethicEUR).

The only criticism is not of the band but of the sound mixing EUR" for a group whose greatest joy is their lyrics, the vocals got lost among the treble.

But then, most of this crowd knew all of the lyrics anyway.

No fan leaving the gig would have been disappointed. DonEUROt leave it another five years, gents.

Matt Withers
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 27, 2011
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