Prolapse @ Y Theatre, Leicester, UK, 26th October, 2022

Nov 09, 2022
By James Thornhill
Photography by Jason Redpix
Web Exclusive

Despite the minor inconvenience of a name mixup forcing us to miss the opening act, The People Assembly, little could dampen the excitement of arguably Leicester’s finest band, Prolapse, returning to play their birth city for the first time in 25 years.

In this case, nostalgia provided the opportunity to finally witness one of the great “lost” bands of the 1990s live following the recent reissue of their magnificent and overlooked debut album Pointless Walks To Dismal Places. The excitement from old fans, local scene legends and those finally getting the chance to see them was palpable.

Before Prolapse, another gaggle of local indie heroes, Yeah Yeah Noh, took us through their unpop jangle that turned heads briefly in the 80s when they made waves alongside the C86 scene and the “twee” indiepop of the DIY explosion. But while there was a whole heap of “jangle” the set brought a soulful edge through backing vocalist Sian Howarth offsetting the near-crooning and wry sardonic lyrics from frontman Derek Hammond. While very much of its time, the music of Yeah Yeah Noh with its flourishes of psychedelia and soul rhythms deserves to be rediscovered en masse.

But this was Prolapse’s night, and they leaned into the nostalgia of the night knowingly deconstructing the absurdity of dwelling on the past, while also celebrating it. “I can smell the 90s in here”, said vocalist Mick Derrick before the band launched into a set that proved, without question, that they remain one of the 90s most underrated bands. Throughout the band delivered a lush, visceral layered sound, stoic and still, touching on punk rock, the intricacies of krautrock and the swirls of shoegaze often in the same songs.

This alone doesn’t make Prolapse stand out, but their uniqueness, as always, came in the duel vocals of Derrick and Linda Steelyard, one a towering, gruff, self-deprecating Scot and the other a diminutive singer with a reserved snarl and occassional sweet tones. This mix was a confusing, confronting joy to behold.

There was intensity in this relationship of the vocals, between Derrick’s spoken-word rants and Steelyard’s great singing, it jars, but also in the physical performance, Derrick often overpowering his bandmate and being intrinsically annoying, or so it seems. It got uncomfortable but captivating.

This was no more apparent than on the set closer “Tina This is Matthew Stone”, the greatest sonic representation of domestic disputes ever set to record and the debut album’s closing track, where the pair spit insults at each other. “Why don’t you talk with your brain, instead of your arsehole for once,” spits Steelyard before, as in the song, the whole thing descends into violence (staged but unnerving) as Derrick, a massive man, physically overwhelms the situation. In a wall of feedback, this left everyone a little stunned but blown-away. The music found beauty in violence and the on-stage theatrics followed.

This was a strange end to a show of incredible songs, “T.C.R” is on of the best indie rock singles of all time and was uplifting, wonderful humour and a heartfelt tribute to Andy Wright of legendary venue The Charlotte that gave Prolapse their first show.

In a just world, Prolapse should have been huge had they not come into being during the Cockney knees-up and anthems in Adidas era of Britpop, and after 25 years away from Leicester they proved this point. It was worth the wait and Prolapse were perfect.

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