Halfway through their hit song With or Without EU, Dave Bono gestured towards George the Edge instructing him to turn the volume down. Moments later, when a reverent silence filled the room, Dave Bono started a meaningful slow hand clap. One by one, the hand-picked audience of employees who fancied an hour off work joined in this rhythmic communion.
“Hello Southampton,” Dave Bono drawled. “Every time I clap my hand another person in the UK loses their job. Think about it.” George the Edge peeled off a power chord and the band went straight back into the chorus. “With or without EU …” The audience all yelled: “With.”
The atrium of the B&Q headquarters on England’s south coast was not the most likely venue for the latest gig in EU2’s Rolling Thunder Bankruptcy Referendum tour, but it served a purpose. If only as the punchy bass line for the gag “Leaving the EU will bring on a DIY recession”, which was repeated far more times than was strictly necessary. Subtlety has never been EU2’s strong point. EU2 did not get where they are today by overestimating the intelligence of their fans – though it’s quite possible they did get where they are today by overestimating quite a few other things.