Saturday, 25 February 2017

Adventures Of Salvador - Night n Day - Manchester - 24th February

Adventures Of Salvador are a new band that hail from Bury.  Most people see bands as young kids trying to do their bit on the music scene. These guys have been around for a while and know their stuff with a wide music knowledge. They are the epitomy of punk DIY ethics, and released their own album (Chocolates & Drugs) on their own label. Tonight I see them live for the first time at Night n Day in The Northern Quarter and get a pleasant surprise! A lot of people have turned up tonight to see a fun punk band with a twist. They enter the stage to their theme signature instrumental Salvadors Theme which has Dick Dale's surf rock written all over it. I've never seen a live band using a theremin before and it gives them a clever twist to add to their punk sound. The Death Of Me (Shot Down) is next with menacing bass and snarling lyrics from the lead singer Loop Aznavour. Tales Of Male Bravado goes down well with the crowd and What About Us is a funk punk gem. Eds Place gets a great round of applause due to the funny as fuck lyrics and punk attitude. New track Bring Me The Head Of Uncle Walt is all about the corruption of the Disney corporation and has some great lyrics! They then finish off with the early singles Ping Pong Head, We Wrote A Popsong and the brilliant Doghouse. Think of The Cramps crossed with The Fall and a topping of punk surf rock and you'll get the gist. A promising band who are in the process of a second album. Check them out!

Friday, 17 February 2017

The Dance Period

During the early 90's I started working part time for Loot the ads paper. The staff there were made up of young students, musicians and future artists. I met some great people there and ended up out and about a lot of the time. I started to get an interest in dance music at the time due to going to an Orbital gig at The Academy which blew me away. I was just starting to write at the time and was doing live reviews, interviews and basically loving the scene. During this time there was no internet so you had to get some kind of portfolio together to get into venues and prove you were not a blagger. I was writing the music review column for The Middleton Guardian, a dance magazine called Sweat and a Manchester arts magazine called Metropolis. I was quite lucky from the Fruit Tumor days to have quite a few connections in the music biz. My best one was Johnny Fairbanks (aka DJ Semtex). I went to school with his brother and at the time I was in my Hip Hop phase. Me and Andy used to be scratching on the decks and Johnny would always mither us to have a go (it paid off big time!) He was working as PR for Sony records and secured me an interview with De La Soul before their gig at The Nia Centre in Hulme. My first interview ever was held at Sankeys where I interviewed Justin Robertson from Lionrock (a great lost Manc band with MC Buzz B).

 This lead on to interviews with Death In Vegas,

 A Guy Called Gerald who released probably the best drum n bass album of all time,

 The Verve to name a few. I've found a few old articles which I'm shocked as I didn't realise my writing was actually good. I promoted a few new DJ's I liked with articles in my Class Of 1997 piece such as Perfect Combination (Jimbo). He wrote some excellent drum-n-bass tunes in his studio which was in an office block behind a pub called The Beer House on the outskirts of Shudehill. I used to sit on his couch under a cloud of ganja smoke on many occasions! Would love to track him down now. He's probably still on the scene DJing somewhere. I did pieces at Sankeys like Carl Cox, Carl Craig, Ninja Tunes vs Fat City Records, Daft Punk before people had really heard about them. I interviewed Bukem & Grooverider on my birthday at The Hacienda which coincided with The Hac's birthday! I was getting quite well known in dance circles and had a permanent guest list at The Hac and Sankeys for my troubles! I can't remember the reason for stopping other than I needed a full time job and just drifted out of it. It did me a favour really because I never got paid for doing it. I just got shit loads of free records and din't have to pay to see any band I wanted. I was and never will be in it to become a wannabe friend of the stars and if you have been reading regularly you will know this is all about the music and how I got to the point of writing this blog. I could tell you loads more but I won't bore you! 

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

1991 - 1995 - Blue Sky Falling and Fruit Tumor

In 1991 me and my cousin Mike (top left) decided to get a band together after tinkering around on a keyboard at home and coming up with some ideas. He was always going to be the singer / shouter, while I was happy just giving input and managing our affairs. We auditioned at Red House Studios next to The Marble Arch pub on the outskirts of Shudehill and ended up with a drummer, bass guitarist and guitarist. We had some right laughs doing this. You will be amazed at some of the people you come across that don't have a clue! We continued rehearsing at Red House and got some kind of set together, did a demo in a small studio in Whitworth in Rochdale and I got us a few gigs! Our first gig was a The Swinging Sporran just off Sackville St in the City Centre. We supported a popular Middleton band called The Wax Tablets. It was an eventful night due to Northside turning up and certain people robbing all the booze from behind the bar due to no staff being there!! We did a good set and I felt proud that we were actually making small steps on the music scene. We got gigs in Oldham, The Boardwalk, The Venue. I could describe the music at the time as jingly jangly indie with a bit of menace! This band fell apart after a while. The bass player decided not to turn up to rehearsals and the guitarist was looking in other directions from what me and Mike were looking for. We were listening to Pixies and Nirvana at the time and wanted to go into a more punk direction. This was when Danny, Scott and Nigel came on the scene. We decided the name Blue Sky Falling didn't cut it and came up with Fruit Tumor. We did a couple of demo tapes in a studio in the City Centre (I forget the name but it was near The Roadhouse. I got a press pack together and started booking us gigs. We played PJ Bells on Oldham St, The Boardwalk a few times (we supported Cornershop), had a monthly residency in Oldham and a nice little following going on. We also had a new drummer Darryl who gave us a punkier sound and carried on rehearsing in our little hovel in Bolton (see pic above). With a growing fan base we decided to get T-shirts together and release a single on our own label Tumor Records. I had secured us a double page spread in The Manchester Evening News and I convinced John Robb (Membranes / Gold Blade / uber journalist) who had heard our demo to produce us. I got us a gig at the old Piccadilly Records and The In The City music conference which Anthony Wilson organised.
We were doing really well with more gigs like The Roadhouse, The Boardwalk again, Hebden Bridge Trades Club, The Limelight Crewe, Winnington Rec in Northwich it was a hard slog. Then Mike dropped the bombshell that he was moving to Scotland where he eventually got married and the band broke up. It was a sad time but Mike had his priorities and we all went our merry / unmerry ways. We have a bit of a reunion next week in Night N Day where Nigel's new band Adventures Of Salvador will grace the stage with their Surf rock / punk psychedelia stuff. Check out their album Chocolates & Drugs. He is having fun again!! See you next time people!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Cabbage - Live At Gorilla - 11th February

Last time I saw Cabbage live at The Ruby Lounge they blew me away! The last band that did that to me were the Inspiral Carpets who you may by now know I love. The thing with Cabbage is they can't be catergorised. The Carpets were roped in with the Madchester scene for a daft reason but they did have a sound. Cabbage haven't got a sound. They own the music scene by being different from anyone I've heard in my 40 years of listening to music. They come on stage to the sound of Rawhide which made me piss laughing then launched into Dissonance and Indispensable, arguably the best punk rock opening from a bunch of lads who weren't even born before the Pistols! The crowd went ballistic and made me want my youth back. Terrorist Synthesiser came next with the mob singing along. Tight as fuck is the best way to describe this band. Dinner Lady was as excellent as ever and Uber Capitalist Death Trade was a gem. They then did It's Grim Up North Korea which remains one of my favourite tracks and they pull it off live brilliantly. The thing about Cabbage is they can drum up a punk gem then get all dark in the right places. Top tune! Necroflat In The Palace is a fuckin anthem and I can see the future Cabbage fans going mental to this. If anyone has heard Gibraltor Ape they will think it is a different band. That's where The Fall comparisons come in. Reinventing themselves within months with a new sound. And with a mad ending of Fickle, Because You're Worth It and Kevin, what can go wrong? This was a coming of age gig when the band have realised they are going to be massive and don't need any gimmicks to get along. Don't get me wrong, I love the gimps (who my mate met in the bog) and the men dressed as babies but this band are scaring me! They've not even released an album yet and are growing by the minute. God bless Cabbage! The new saviours of the Manchester scene. No one can touch them.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

A Period Of Music Absence

This was a bit of a mad period in music for me. The Manc scene was exploding and loads of bands were about which were causing me interest. However there were big upheavals in my life at the time and I couldn't focus as much as I could. I never saw The Roses live or went to Spike Island. I made up for this by going to see bands like above. Cud were not a Manc band, they were from Leeds but were signed to a Middleton record label Imaginary Records who were based in a small office above a shop at the bottom of Rochdale Rd. This was run by Alan Duffy who also had connections with The Chameleons, The Reegs, The Mock Turtles and also released tribute cover albums with some quite famous names. Cud were a breath of fresh air. I saw them live a few times and they were definitely the predecessors to Pulp by a mile! Funky tunes, cheeky sexual innuendo and outrageous clothing made them hilarious. Check out the album Elvis Belt or the funny as fuck single Purple Love Balloon!
Another great Manc band from Middleton were The Mock Turtles. A great indie band who were clouded over by The Roses at the time. Martin Coogan (brother of Steve) was the head man and wrote some corking anthems, Can You Dig It being the famous one that everyone will have heard. Turtle Soup should be owned by any Manc music fan today so dig it out!
Best band for me in this period though has to be The Wedding Present. David Gedge with his distinctive vocals and lyrics about failing relationships to the sound of Peter Solowka's hundred mile an hour guitar riffs. George Best, the debut album was a fucking corker but Bizzaro just blew me away!
Anyone who graced an indie disco in the town centre lost their shit to Kennedy! Brassneck, Granadaland and Take Me! were also stunners! I am still a fan and always will be. Steve Albini produced the great Seamonsters (which will remain my fave WP album). Dave Gedge actually went to school at Hollins High in Middleton and was friends with Dave Fielding from The Chameleons. I met Gedge at A Reegs gig in a room above The Assheton Arms in Midd and he bought me a pint!!
These are not a Manc band but had a profound effect on me before I decided to get a band together. I was 21 when this album was released and although it got mixed reviews I thought it was fuckin awesome. I bought it on the day it was released on vinyl and played it to death! My flatmate hated it (but then again she was listening to Key 103 a lot!) Pixies are up there in my major influences and I am buzzing they are still on the scene. Check out their latest album Head Carrier.

This is the point where music became a part of my life forever, the start of 1994 which was probably the best year in music for me. Read on!!

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Tapping Into Manc Talent

As you may have guessed, it was The Inspiral Carpets and The Stone Roses that got me in to the Manc scene. I was always into music but never knew how much talent actually existed in the place I was born and bred. I started to delve into the archives of Manc bands and couldn't believe the tunes and excellence I had overlooked! As a teenager I was wrapped up in hip hop and house music which is why I didn't get what was going on in the bass, vocal, guitar, drum world. I worked on New Smithfield Market at the time and a lady I worked with kept banging on about The Smiths. Because I was a naive fool who read my dads copy of The Sun I was always under the impression they were depressing! How wrong I was. I bought The Queen Is Dead on a gamble and I fuckin won big time!
It was the best record I'd heard for a long time. Morrissey and Marr are probably up there with Lennon and McCartney for songwriting. Johnny Marr will always be in my top five best ever guitarists in the world. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out will remain my favourite ever song and is on my funeral playlist. This album as you know is always in the top ten albums ever made list a deserves it! My favourite Smiths album though was Meat Is Murder.
Songs like Rusholne Ruffians and The Headmaster Ritual were classic. And the actual track Meat Is Murder was a stark grim song which freaked me out a bit. Marr's guitars and Morriisey's lyrics were menacing but with sheer brilliance. All in all The Smiths never made a bad record.
 What can I say about this band??? Everyone had heard Love Will Tear Us Apart and most people will only associate Joy Division with this song. I had listened to a lot of New Order stuff in my teens due to Blue Monday being in rotational play everywhere. When I discovered Joy Division I stumbled on a Manc gem. They were way ahead of their time and no band sounded like them. Dark shit with lyrics that were personal and biographic. I bought the box set years ago and ending up selling it to my mate Colin who owned Breakdown Records in Afflecks Palace when I was on my arse. My partner rebought it me for my 40th birthday and it remains a prize possession! Their music was dark, brilliant, immense and thrilling. A few bands have done quite well imitating them like Interpol and Editors (who I like by the way) but cannot cone close.
Another band I have to mention is James. A friend gave me a copy of Hymn From A Village on vinyl and I loved it. First time I saw them live they were supporting David Bowie at Maine Road and I will never forget them performing Promised Land live. It was fucking brilliant and sent shivers up my spine. Who can claim going to see Bowie and mentioning this a the gig highlight??!! I've seen them since at Castlefield Bowl and they are still a relevant Manc band to be treasured.
The Happy Mondays just made me piss laughing! They sounded like a car crash with funky shit going on with a North Manc scally twist. This album was a starter to what was going to be a massive boost to the Madchester cause. Bummed, the second album was awesome but Thrills Pills & Bellyaches totally upped the game. It was a classic and cemented Shaun Ryder and Bez into Manc history! Funky as fuck, funny, druggy and a mass statement to the Manc cause.

The band that have always been in my heart most though are The Fall. They have made almost 30 albums and were John Peels favourite. I own every album and can never decide which is my favourite. You cannot categorise their sound. They own it! Mark E Smith is a living legend who should be knighted for his services to music. He would probably tell the queen to go fuck herself though!! These are a band you have to see live once in your lifetime! Tightest band I have ever seen. Smith is like a teacher studying his pupils, wandering the stage like a tyrant! My favourite Manc band by miles!
This band are the band that should have been massive in my eyes. Hailing from Middleton and having a classic 80's sound which was in the mould of Echo & The Bunnymen and Teardrop Explodes. Mark Burgess is a great lyricist and is still touring as Chameleons Vox. Script From A Bridge was a fucking great album and should be up there in the best of polls. Who can;t say Up The Down Escalator was a moment of triumph? Dave Fielding went on to form The Reegs which were another great Manc band who should have made it but didn't. I will never forget losing my match ticket for a City game and Mark (who worked at City at the time) sorted me another one! City Till We Die!!!

Anyway, enough for now. Hope you all check out these bands. They are all legends!