Half Man Half Biscuit in Bristol - O2 Academy

Posted on: 2014-01-19

Our rating:

Half Man Half Biscuit rocking the O2 Academy


Half Man Half Biscuit rocked the O2 Academy in Bristol last night with a brilliant, attitude-fuelled set. The post-punk ensemble, hailing from Birkenhead ‘up north’, performed a selection of their greatest hits, keeping a tight sound and an effortlessly enraptured audience.


Starting off the headbanging, the support act for the evening was three piece folk/punk band J D Meatyard, who deservingly won over a sceptical audience within minutes. Their focus on religious and political themes mixed with angry vocals and a humorous twist meant they were exactly what this crowd wanted to see.


When Half Man Half Biscuit appeared onstage, lead singer Nigel in the process of finishing off a packet of cheese and onion crisps, they seemed as refreshingly nonchalant as ever. There was no swagger, no insincerity, this band love what they do and they do it well. After a bit of banter with a rowdy post-pub crowd, they kicked off their set with ‘Bob Wilson- Anchorman’ from their 2001 album Editor's Recommendation. They continued to blast out hits and crowd-favourites from their 28 year career to a packed out venue that knew all the words just as well as the band. If ever one had doubts about the current state of crowd/band relations, this was an extremely restorative experience.


Nigel Blackwell’s sharp, witty and honest lyrics about anything from watching the football to the idea of celebrity are perfectly carried along by the band’s dynamic and memorable tunes. They dished out most anything the onlookers asked for, playing such favourites as The Light At The End Of The Tunnel (Is An Oncoming Train), Joy Division Oven Gloves, 99% Of Gargoyles Look Like Bob Todd, and my personal favourite All I Want for Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit. The night was engaging and positive to the highest degree, a couple of minor lyrical hiccups were entirely overlooked by anyone watching (rightly so), and a sense of crowd unity kept everybody in high-spirits the whole night through.


As always the crowd was mainly compromised of long-time fans, many of which sported their Joy Division Oven Gloves, Dukla Prague away kits and Hi-Vis jackets proudly. The atmosphere was light and good-natured, the band and crowd seemed on equal terms, laughing and chatting between songs. It’s also worth noting that there was an impressive mosh-pit considering the average age of the audience!


Half Man Half Biscuit have always had a reputation for being an enthusiastic and engaging live band and this gig only went further to prove that. I would definitely recommend the experience, even to a casual fan, as I believe everybody came away from the night positively glowing... and not just from the Hi-Vis jackets!


Pictures and review courtesy of Miri Teixeira

Article by:

James Anderson

Born and raised in the suburbs of Swansea, Jimmy moved to Bristol back in 2004 to attend university. Passionate about live music, sport, science and nature, he can usually be found walking his cocker spaniel Baxter at any number of green spots around the city. Call James on 078 9999 3534 or email Editor@365Bristol.com.