The sold-out crowd of 200 people knew it was a tribute act, but the collective roar they made when the band confidently strolled onto the stage suggested Ian Brown and co had surprised the seaside town with a guest visit.
The attention to detail has to be applauded as they even used Stoned Love by The Supremes as their entrance song, like the Roses started doing after their Warrington Parr Hall gig in 2012.
Ian Brown nodded his head and Mani began playing the infamous I Wanna be Adored bassline, to which the Roses faithful started singing along to – something that didn’t stop all night. The Roses are one of few bands whose instrumental parts can be sung along to and the crowd took full advantage of that.
Just seconds after Adored finished, Squire began his complex Elephant Stone riff, and it outshone everything in that song. I closed my eyes and felt the real Squire’s presence just a metre away from me.
Mersey – or rather Grimsby – Paradise, as Brown called it, came next. A clever move from the frontman as it got the fans going again, and it’s a surprise they never went through the ceiling during some of the moshing.
The fans were excited now as they repeatedly chanted “Mariners” in admiration for their local football team, Grimsby Town. And Brown gave some banter back as he teased “We’re all Lincoln,” knowing that was Grimsby’s rival club, and the crowd jokingly booed.
The band then exposed the Grimbarians to a section of Second Coming in the form of Love Spreads and Ten Storey Love Song. Two juxtaposing songs, the first being saturated with rich riffs and dark lyrics such as “She didn’t scream, she didn’t make a sound”, and the second being so slow and delicate with Reni caressing his sneers and Brown softly speaking to his lover “I built this thing for you,” which appealed to everyone in the audience as they felt the love.
Brown disappeared offstage for a couple of minutes and came on dressed as the singer during his solo career, complete with his aviator shades and vibrant red Adidas jacket zipped to his chin. They then proceeded to play FEAR, Dolphins were Monkeys, and Stellify which were all welcome surprises for the crowd.
And then they fast-forwarded 10 years to play All for One with the worshippers belting every word of the, relatively new, track back to them. But it got slightly cringeworthy as Brown got to the “If we all join hands we’ll make a wall,” and everyone put their limbs over each other to link up.
They then went back to the debut album with She Bangs the Drums, This is the One, and Made of Stone and the crowd seemingly sung every word. The energetic atmosphere really had reignited.
What happened next was a masterclass in guitar-playing from Squire as he played Waterfall and its backmasking track Don’t Stop back-to-back and didn’t stop picking for 10 minutes straight.
This was followed up by the 2012 version of Fools Gold, which went on forever and nobody wanted it to stop. It sounded so polished and glorious.
And the gig was rounded off with the signature finish of I am the Resurrection. A magnificent tune to finish off a great gig and the fans bundled out the doors yelling the chorus.
They may not be the real band but it certainly fooled this Grimsby crowd.
By Ryan Petterson