It’s the time of year when everything blossoms back to life – and what better way to celebrate Spring than with the resurrection of the Mock Turtles.
From inauspicious beginnings as Imaginary Records’ resident covers band, they progressed to writing their own material. Suddenly caught up in the tail-end of Madchester, they had their back catalogue plundered and reissued by a major – desperate for a piece of Manchester action – who promptly dumped them as soon as their expectations weren’t met. A decade has passed and using the opportunity of that mobile phone commercial to get back into the charts, the Mock Turtles are back touring to promote their ‘Best of’ album.
The band soon hit their stride with their third song, And Then She Smiles, which is swiftly followed by the epitome of laidback, Lay Me Down. This gets the relatively sparse but good natured (mainly 30-somethingish) crowd limbered up just in time for the song everyone is here for. With a refreshing lack of pretension, it’s dedicated to the guy wearing the Mock Turtles T-shirt, the band launch into Can You Dig It? and everyone bounces around, grinning like loons.
Fearing the band may have shot their collective bolt, the set progresses without much impact until second single Wicker Man finally invigorates the audience once more. Following this up with their ‘anti-war song’, containing the refrain, “I’m going to shoot you down”, the band at last let themselves go, much to everyones enjoyment. Too soon they leave the stage, but luckily come back straightaway and pick up where they left off with an absolutely blinding encore.
Leaving the stage again, the Turtles appear to be enjoying their second brush with fame immensely, especially the grinning drummer. They return once more and lead singer Martin Coogan (yes, he has got a famous brother) announces that they’ve played all the songs they rehearsed and would anyone like to hear anything again. There can be only one choice and with no signs of resentment to their ‘hit’, Can You Dig It? makes the entire venue erupt into a joyous frenzy.
On the strength of this performance they should have been bigger than The Beatles, if the Beatles had been as big as the Inspiral Carpets that is. By that token the Happy Mondays would have been bigger than all of the world’s religions combined and Bez would have a legion of devoted followers hanging off his every maraca shake. Alas, the Mock Turtles were merely destined to be forgotten, lost in the arse pocket of a set of over-sized dungarees until David Beckham‘s vacuous grin brought them back from the dead for a brain-melting Vodafone advert.