Gig:University of Central Lancashire, Preston, 8th March 1998

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Mansun were supported by Cecil

Review by Vicky Farrant, as published in 'Take It Easy' fanzine, 1998:

In such intimate surroundings, this has the feel of a secret warm-up gig, but maybe that's just me feeling lucky. I certainly felt like the only Cecil fan there - no-one else seems to be up for them. Anyhow, they do their thing regardless and I certainly appreciate it. Once they've gone, it's changeover time and the anticipation mounts. Will Mansun still live up to everyone's expectations? Launching straight into the strange trip that is 'Everyone Must Win', we are suddenly speeding through the night in the 21st century with a sense of urgency that carries us straight into 'Stripper Vicar' without pause for breath. Too short as ever, the vicar dies, the song ends and so does the jumping around. But here's a suprise - Paul speaks! I guess he has to, to introduce 'Negative', the first new song of the evening. It's interesting, but new territory, so everyone takes time out to stand still and listen up. Based more around a central guitar line, it also sees Paul showing his worth vocally, as he suggests that he's maybe a bit, well, negative. Paul? never... 'Six' is another of the new ones, introduces as "the title track off our new album". Second album called 'Six'? Obviously. Got a problem with that? The most outstanding of the new songs on it's first listen is 'Shotgun'. This is because it rocks like other people will tell you Mansun don't. It also goes all over the place sonically, starting and stopping with a tempo change every ten seconds or so. It's challenging and unpredictable and I love it already by half way through. Although he has lyrics sheets for some songs, Paul does slip up once during 'Taxloss', but we won't hold that against him. Stove certainly doesn't; he just grins and laughs it off to his front row fan club. What's a half fudged line when the rest's this good? 'Drastic Sturgeon' makes a welcome return to the set, one wish that must have been on a number of Christmas lists last year. The old mainstays of 'Mansun's Only Love Song' and 'Naked Twister' put in an appearance, before the perfect progression of 'best of' hits that is the 'Wide Open-Nosebleed-Chicken' run. They now merge into a seamless, faultless whole. And as for the crunchy bits in 'Take It Easy Chicken', what can I say - I love that riff. Words cannot do it justice. "Best riff of all time, anytime, ever" could be a start. But hang on, we're missing something here, where's the epic 'Taxloss'? Turns out that this band famous for not doing encores in their live show have now added an intentional, pre-meditated encore to their set. They've also saved half of the destructive possibilities of a full showstopping guitar onslaught (as seen in 'Take It Easy Chicken') for this precise purpose. Wow. Yowzers. Cue brains exploding out of craniums as strings scrape against microphone stands in a way they weren't designed to, Stove and Andie thunder and the mighty arm of the Chad riff monstermachine windmills under the strobe lights. KERBLANG! Lights down, show over, thank you and good night.