Oh crumb all ye faithful . . .

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MORE than a quarter of a century ago a bunch of lads from Birkenhead formed a band simply to relieve the boredom of life on the dole.

With no plans for fame or fortune or even originally to release a record it seemed it wasn’t built to last - but it has.

Half Man Half Biscuit can now be described as a national treasure and still command a strong following for their very occasional live dates - one of which happens in Sheffield tonight.

Although mainstream success has always eluded them - or perhaps they have eluded it; they famously twice turned down appearances on ‘80s TV cult show The Tube because it would have clashed with a Tranmere Rovers match - they sold 200,000 copies of their 1985 debut Back In The DHSS, not bad considering it cost £40 to record.

Since then they’ve released a further 11 albums chock full of bouncy tunes and their lyrical speciality, cutting social comment cunningly disguised as comedy, with numerous references to obscure TV and sports stars and long-forgotten adverts. As founder and singer Nigel Blackwell (pictured) has said: “I just write about the things I know. It’s all I can do.”

Their last album was 2008’s CSI: Ambleside but as usual tonight they’ll be delving deep into the extensive back catalogue to give Plug a night of singalong classics, which has led to their shows being described by some as like a religious experience.