You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped into a bizarre, flat-capped religious cult ceremony at the Grand on Friday.
The packed out venue, a good mix of all ages, whooped and cheered in a fevered frenzy as four men from Lancashire walked on stage while lead singer Bernard Thresher, dressed as a Pope, strutted through the crowd. It felt like being at a gospel service in Harlem.
The congregation clapped, sang along to every song and danced in their seats but instead of God, they were rejoicing in all things Northern. Hymns like ‘Chippy Tea’, ‘Bitter, Lager, Cider, Ale, Stout’ and ‘We Love the North’ were played with a joyous spirit by comedy folk band, The Lancashire Hotpots.
Dressed in flat caps and multi-coloured waistcoats, they steam through their hits but always stop to engage with the crowd, their between song jokes and patter sometimes surpassing the tunes.
I doubt the Grand will often experience a massive beach ball being passed around the crowd, or a huge conga line through the aisles and it’s this audience participation that really makes it a wonderful night. You cannot help but get swept along.The Church of Hotpot has a new member.