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Pills 'n Thrills and a Good Soaking.

A Happy Saturday

Written By Richard Stack

As he was there first time around, we thought we'd send Richard Stack along to Hastings Pier to see Happy Mondays and The Orb to see what he thought second time around.

After the hottest weather ever recorded in September it just had to change for this much awaited event…….and it did, big time!  I know I should have got a kagoule and a beanie but just relied on my old trusted denim jacket – wrong decision!

The pier was looking great on the approach along the prom and a few Happy Monday T shirts were being worn by the new promenaders looking for a decent pub and late lunch. Me, I was fed and watered before going in and looking forward to a great line up of music. 

So, it was Vile Electrodes who were first up to start proceedings. They took to the stage bang on 4pm to just a handful of people, ok maybe more than a handful, around 30ish. 

They are a local two piece with an impressive portfolio of support gigs over the years and opened up with a wall of synth electronica music. The sound was superb with stunning vocals somewhat Bjork-esq. 

The duo featured tracks from the newly released album ‘In the Shadows of Monuments’ plus others from their back catalogue and slowly more people joined the small crowd. 

A great 45 minute show and enough to make me want to check out the new album. Those of us that watched them were certainly not disappointed. 

After a quick stage change over on came Formation. A five piece South London band who quickly started to energise the audience. The set was very synth based and as they played the numbers started to swell with a few dancers who were preparing for the rain clouds moving in. Formation’s set was also around 45 mins and featured tracks from their various EP’s being well delivered by a band who were in Hastings for the very first time. Hopefully it won’t be their one and only visit.  

A good tight set with lots of head nodders enjoying the music and the numbers increasing to take up their positions for The Orb.  

Again an impressively quick stage change with mixers and apple macs being moved into place for the creators of ambient house music, Alex Paterson and Jimmy Cauty.

This is the point at which the crowds appeared, as did the inevitable downpour. No words spoken by the two ‘performers’, just lots of good dance music.  

The Orb are celebrating 25 years since the release of  ‘Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld’ and they went straight into the album. No background words as per the album, but the crowd were now really warming up albeit getting drenched in the process. My trusted denim jacket was now getting rather waterlogged…….

After an hour and a quick wave, that was The Orb finished.  

Looking around, I could see lots of satisfied punters who were now getting excited for Manchester’s own – the Happy Mondays.

So, now to the headline act. I wasn’t sure what to expect from our Shaun. Will he remember the words? Will he be up for it?. 

Well at 8pm on the dot the lights faded and on came the Happy Mondays. The band came on first to a great reception, then Rowetta and finally Shaun and Bez stumbled on.  

Straight into ‘Kinky Afro’ with Bez hyping up the crowd. Shaun was a bit wobbly on this opener by forgetting the words, but recovered ok for ‘Gods Cop’. The band were really tight and again the sound and lighting were spot on.  

A few words from Shaun talking about 25 years since ‘Pills ‘n Thrills and Bellyaches’ came out and then asking the band what came next. Straight into ‘Donavan’ and the Hastings Pier crowd was now in full swing and loving this band.  

Bez sort of dipped in and out as in his words “I cant do a whole gig now if you know what I mean?”.  

They did a good job going through each song with ‘Step On’ probably being the best of the night with plenty of “twisting my melons man” and freaky dancing by Bez and Rowetta.  

Shaun made the point that the original ‘Pills.....” album was only 40 minutes long so the band would throw a few more songs in.  

By now the rain had stopped and a full moon shone over Hastings with the sea front lights twinkling along the prom. You could have almost have been on the Riviera – well not quite.  

24 Hour party people, that’s us” says Shaun – maybe once mate but not these days, as I suspect it’s a cup of cocoa at night for these boys now.

My jacket clinging to me I needed to get back and dry off. This was a great outdoor one dayer mini festival and as my taxi driver said “its great for Hastings”. I can’t argue with that and here’s hoping for more of the same in the future. 

On reflection, my favourite act of the day goes back to the opener at 4pm – Vile Electrodes – maybe because I was still dry then?  


Oh and as promised a special “Hi” to some big Mondays fans Rob, Katie, Alvin, Lizzie and Phil  – mad for it………..

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