Belgrave and Manera's Music Club

Over the last few years at the Latitude festival Robin Ince's Book Club has been a runaway success. Featuring a rotating line-up of highly literate comics and musicians, it takes a light-hearted look at the weirder side of the literary world. Mike Belgrave and Mike Manera have a similar relationship to pop music, embracing and mocking its dafter moments at one and the same time.Many of the acts they reference are wilfully obscure; not in terms of what Mark E. Smith has called the indie fan's 'trainspotter mentality', but obscure in the sense that their music only exists on vinyl records unearthed in charity shops. The most successful section of the show is devoted entirely to ridiculous record sleeves with accompaniment from a tinny cassette Walkman, though sadly this comes in the form of a cameo appearance from Paul Henry Allen. While intermittently making a witty in-joke, our hosts' banter is less funny than they think it is; clearly having fun, they crack themselves up too often in delivery, and some of it is borrowed, uncredited – though spotting its sources is part of the appeal.Some surreal musical interludes are quite entertaining, especially a Casio interpretation of a pretentious 1970s NME review, and 60s music obsessives might get a few more of the jokes than I do. A quiz used to whip up the audience at the start could stand to return a couple of times to make the show more interactive, especially given most of the crowd probably know their music too and are the type that love to show it. Full marks for the Dukla Prague away kit, either way.

Reviews by Richard O'Brien

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The Blurb

Mikes Belgrave and Manera present a free comedy show about music, featuring their favourite records, some long dead musicians and a lot of laughs. 'Less 'Flanders & Swann' more 'High Fidelity', highly recommended' (Guardian 2010). www.musicclubcomedy.co.uk

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