Naming themselves after Brecht and Weill's play, The Happy End was also a socialist band that began in 1983 as a six-piece thing and ended up as twenty-one piece in the tradition of big bands.
Mat Fox was one of the founder members of the band which has, now, split up. Matt went on to form and play in The Barely Works - a folky sort of affair, but still brilliant. The Happy End's first singer was Sarah Jane Morris who went on to sing with The Communards (fronted by the superb Jimmy Somerville).
They played a wide range of music, but with a left-wing slant, much of their early repertoire was Weill's. One of their aims was 'to be an economically-inefficient unit as a protest to the synthesising duos of the Eighties' - although they were, by all accounts, very successful. They produced at least three albums: There's Nothing Quite Like Money, Resolution and Turn Things Upside Down - all on the Cooking Vinyl label. They're all fairly hard to get hold of now - the first two especially so. If you do find them, grab them (and let me know, please!).
The band were absolutely fabulous live: strident, forthright, entertaining, and quite quite brilliant. The best moment, I remember, was their rendition of 'The Red Flag' (The Count Baisie arrangement). Instead of playing by their microphones, they left the stage and stood dotted around the audience - okay so you got one instrument over all the others, and blasted in your ear at that - but the sense of being part of the event was exhilarating.