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Happy Mondays to Step On back to Ironworks

By SPP Reporter

The Happy Mondays return to the Ironworks after their 2017 gig. Picture: Callum Mackay
The Happy Mondays return to the Ironworks after their 2017 gig. Picture: Callum Mackay

Madchester icons the Happy Mondays are set to bring the Hacienda vibes when they return to the Ironworks this year.

The legendary rock band will play the city venue on Wednesday, October 23.

It’ll the first time the band have visited Inverness since 2017, where they were touring to celebrate 30 years since the release of debut album Squirrel and G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out) in 1987.

After that came second album Bummed a year later followed by Paul Oakenfold-produced Pills n Thrills and Bellyache – and influential single Step On.

But as well as coming to symbolise the “baggy” era that saw Manchester become the Madchester of rave and indie cool, the Happy Mondays – with Shaun Ryder’s talent for discovered patched-in spontaneous lyrics and frontman charisma – became huge.

With six top 10 singles and five albums from 1990 to 2007, Happy Mondays eventually parted company with Factory Records in 1992.

By then the lairy, drugged-up Mondays almost bankrupted the label when they went to Eddy Grant’s studio in Barbados to record Yes Please! their fourth album. They came back home with no lyrics or vocals from Shaun.

And though the manager’s bid to keep Shaun and brother Paul away from heroin was successful, Shaun’s drug of choice there became crack cocaine – having broken his methadone supply before the flight out.

Money troubles, trying to get off drugs and keeping a career going – plus a series of reunions for the Mondays (alongside the formation and success of Black Grape with Kermit) – kept Shaun busy through to the mid-2000s.

But in the years since – now married to his second wife Joanne with two young daughters to add to the four children from earlier relationships – Shaun Ryder has branched out to do everything from I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here – coming runner-up in the 10th series in 2010 to fronting a documentary about aliens. In his autobiography Twisting My Melon, he describes seeing a UFO as a teenager while waiting at a bus stop for his early morning shift at the post office.

Ironworks venue director Caroline Campbell said: “We’re delighted that Happy Mondays will take to the Ironworks’ stage again this October.

“Their gig here in 2017 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their debut album Squirrel and G-Man had a huge buzz and sold out so make sure you don’t delay in getting your tickets – it promises to be another great night from the band.”

Tickets cost £32.50 and are on sale from Friday at 10am – go to www.ironworksvenue.com

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