An 808 State show is the Hippyman And Her for new age footy fans. The stage is strewn with child dancers, video men, photographers, Bez wannabes and even some bloke who may or may not be switching the computers on and off. The shared laser show mimics the effects of massive drug consumption accurately enough but despite guest ravings from local celebs (New Order's Barney Sumner and MC Buzz B), the extended pleasure doesn't extend as far as me. Under the weight of this inconsequential muso-twiddling attentions wander.
At half-time the bar closes early and thump thump thump, they're on! Hundreds are crushed in their flares during the rush to the front. Sweat, throb, and frenzy greet 'Mad Cyril', 'Lazyitis' (featuring the little man with the big voice Mr Karl Denver in his 'Top Gun' baseball cap), 'He's Gonna Step On You' (featuring a female Monday who gets snogged by Shaun and ogled by Bez and doesn't seem to mind!) and various new numbers featuring Shaun squinting at his lyric sheets through smoke-stung eyes. Despite some bad sync between the drums and machines, long gaps between songs, annoying videomen clambering everywhere and Bez looking totally clapped out, this was a definite, if expected, home win. Of course they end up with a marathon version of 'Wrote For Luck', bashing it out like the scuzzy little punk band they are and as the drums loop off into the night there's Shaun's dad dancing round like a loony on stage.
When the Madchester bandwagon sinks in the ship canal these clever little sods won't be going down with it.
Report from Select, Live And Direct, December 1990:
Happy Mondays/808 State
House music, they say, never makes sense on a stage. But nobody told Manchester techno programmers 808 State, who started their live career as support for Happy Mondays at this gala G-Mex bash, and went on to tour the UK with self-styled Mancunian House jammer MC Tunes and fellow northern House people K-Klass. 808 State's spiritual home is still the 12-inch single, but they turned out storming live renditions of 'Pacific' and the club hits 'Cubik' and 'Cobra Bora'. The Mondays date preceded Tunes' first hit with 808, 'The Only Rhyme That Bites', a fiery slice of hip hop techno studded with samples from The Big Country, while 808 later worked with DJ Frankie Bones in pursuit of their unofficial motto: vorsprung durch techno.