Live Review: The Lovely Eggs at Ritz, Manchester

Once upon a time (1997) there were a bunch of lasses from Lancaster called Angelica, imbued with the spirit of indie and DIY ethics, armed with guitars and attitude, and, like Kenickie before them, they attempted to launch themselves on to the general public with the sheer force of their ebullient personalities. They did alright too, releasing a string of singles which tickled the indie charts and even an album produced by Kat Bjelland of Babes In Toyland fame. Unfortunately though they split in 2002 leaving behind some happy memories. I spent some time with them at a festival around 1999 and they were full of fun. They even gave me a badge which I have kept to this day.

Belief is a funny thing though and lead singer Holly Ross obviously has it in spades. She dusted herself off and formed The Lovely Eggs with her husband David Blackwell, erstwhile guitarist with various Lancaster bands, now on drums, and set about attempting to carry the flag of all things DIY. Over the years they have gradually built up a firm following with their quirky glam-punk music, and cottage industry vibe, releasing limited edition vinyl and merchandise lovingly produced and delivered to fans with a personal touch. Many artists could learn a thing or two from them. Every step of the way they have kept a tight control on their product, even roping in their Mums to help them package up and send their records through the post, even writing individual letters and responding to e-mails. There is no compromise and no sell out here. Everything they have done they have done themselves, from the ground up.

Tonight sees them headlining The Ritz in Manchester, and that is as special a moment as you can get, for the band themselves and for all those who have followed and supported them through this struggle from bedroom to ballroom, and tonight they are here to have a ball and no mistake. With three support bands, the wonderfully named art-punk duo Arch Femmesis, Monmouth’s Bug Club, and also including very funny Northern poet Thick Richard, who pulls no punches, believe me. But tonight ¬†belongs to The Lovely Eggs. The couple take to the stage resplendent in crowns and capes, with Holly wearing the glitteriest outfit I’ve seen in a long time. She straps on her guitar and they launch into a set that absolutely fucking rocks, every short sharp stab of classic tunes from their back catalogue of 6 albums and more than twice as many singles, from their first release in 2008 “I Like Birds But I Like Other Animals Too”¬†through to 2018’s “Wiggy Giggy”.

During the tour leading up to this night the band have been holding competitions to find the best middle aged crowd surfer, and the winners from the tour were here tonight, showing the kids how this almost forgotten art is done, despite initial hackles raised from the concerned local security, which were quickly put down by Holly herself, who had already got advanced permission from the venue for this to happen. Right to the back of the room the crowd were loving it and dancing along to every song. Right in front of me a little girl was leaping up and down and proudly waving her “Fuck It” scarf, and this alone demonstrates Holly’s rock star status, and how necessary she is to future generations.

The Lovely Eggs matter. They are keeping the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll alive and doing it their own way, and that is something to celebrate. They are home-grown talent. They are rock stars and they are ours.

Find out more on The Lovely Eggs’ official website

Words by Andrew Wood

Pics by Ali Blair and Liz Towler

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