Black Grape bring their UK tour celebrating their iconic debut album to a close at the Roadmender in Northampton next week.
Shaun Ryder is out on the road with bandmate Paul ‘Kermit’ Leveridge after Ryder, having previously resurrected his other band the Happy Mondays, decided to do the same with Black Grape.
When the Mondays fell apart in 1992, most assumed it was the end for Ryder, as he struggled to recover from his numerous addictions.
No one predicted three years later, a relatively fit and healthy Shaun would return to the top of the charts, with a new band.
Black Grape’s debut, It’s Great When You’re Straight…Yeah, is a surreal, funky, profane and perversely joyous album, overflowing with casual eclecticism and giddy humour.
The band were looser and grittier than the Mondays. Ryder’s sound was reinvigorated, creating bizarre rhymes that tie together junk culture, drug lingo, literary references, and utter nonsense.
Teaming up with Kermit (ex Ruthless Rap Assassins) he now had a rapper on board with equal skills to bounce off.
The music had deep grooves and catchy pop hooks that come straight out of left field, from the blaring harmonica of the triumphant Reverend Black Grape and the trippy sitars of In the Name of the Father to the seedy, rolling Shake Your Money and the stinging guitars of Tramazi Parti.
While the memory of the Happy Mondays, has been kept alive by its various members, Black Grape had always been the simmering stalking horse, waiting in the wings, for a time to come back to life and remind people of the commercial and musical celebration that it was. The band’s debut was followed two years later by Stupid Stupid Stupid.
Last year saw the 20th anniversary of the release of the debut with Ryder reuniting in the rehearsal studios with Kermit to hit the road to celebrate the record.
Black Grape play the Northampton venue on Saturday, December 10
Tickets cost £10 before fees. Doors open at 7.30pm.