I was merely looking for directions to this club for a forthcoming visit when I saw the flyer for this event, Devvo’s last Manchester date. You wot, dick’ead? Turns out he was hanging up his Burberry after 10 years in character and my weekend plans were made accordingly to not miss out. I first encountered space head over here via the marvellous DJ Shitmat down at Supersonic Festival in Brum, although he had just sampled the drawling chav on the track “Ellesse Warrior”. Hilarious YouTube discoveries followed of the Donny Soldier mooching about, wrecked, getting into scrapes and philosophising, it should be a laugh.
The first hometown support I’d heard good things about from Manc residents and they had just been raved about after playing Bloodstock too. All dressed up with nowhere to go we were then treated to a procession of comedy funky metal, maybe Mr Bungle-esque without being complicated, and nonstop silliness. There were endless costume changes, a baby on the keyboards, sexy times on stage, crowd interaction whether willing or not, free drinks handed round, and broad smiles. You honestly didn’t know what was coming next. Songs delivered in a dour Manc accent, vaguely drifting to the Doors at times, but genuinely funny, my favourite obviously being the one about me – “Sex Wizard”.
I’d also heard the name Petrol Bastard before, maybe circulated with a hushed fear, don’t think I could have been prepared for the show though. The two-piece from Leeds was just two vocalists/dancers fronting some digital hardcore rave backing and I was almost brought to tears. Of laughter, at the insanity. Banging tunes laced with retro cheese but relentlessly mad/sweary lyrics (“Ramp up the wheelchair, ramp up the volume”) , one bearded muscle man clad in clown pants and lifting belt, the other bare chested under suit jacket and day-glo accessories, but the moves … the moves were amazing. Strictly shit dancing. One of the most entertaining shows I’ve seen in an age, I felt I’d died (but not in real life), need to bring them to Conwy. 😉
So after that chaos Mc Devvo is a relatively quiet contrast. It’s basically adlib stand-up with some occasional music thrown in, as he wanders the stage, sparking of the surroundings or hecklers banter. The music is ropey as hell, him playing tracks off his ipod (click wheel), considerately telling us how long they are going to last to the second. By his own admission he’s had pretty much the same set for all the time he’s been doing this, and the same t shirt, so it is kind of greatest hits. Although he starts with “Yorkshire til I die”, says he’s never learnt the lyrics so raps along to himself on the backing, two Devvo’s for the price of one. Some of it’s gloriously offensive, but an act, harmless, aimless, stupid, but an act he’s even taken to Download festival. He strings loads of banter to spin out the lack of songs, sometimes stretching it but everyone is laughing, and he still has the sharpness to quip quickly. He sums it up by saying if he didn’t finish it himself people would still keep asking him back forever, just genuinely pleased that we’ve had a get together laugh about some nonsense that he recorded getting stoned at a mates house ages ago, that we’ve got shared good memories. It’s probably satisfying enough to see once only, so I was glad I came, as were all the girls that were lezzin’. Left smiling.