MUSIC IN MANCHESTER
(Manchester Bands Section)
NORTHERN QUARTER 6/8/00
Why the big secret? The quality and diversity of the line up was there. The appearance of Twisted Nerve stable mates Misty Dixon and Dakota Oak Trio on the main stage kept the crowd intrigued with their unusual but enticing mix of keyboards, guitars and voices before giving way to the reggae beats of the U-Sound
Whilst T-shirts were being hand painted- exclusive originals only here mate, no dodgy copies- other punters milled around the various stalls erected in the refreshingly vehicle free streets.
The most incongruous display was the sight of the Sporting Club shop providing a demonstration of cycling in order to entice new members to become part of the body beautiful society. Leery eyed onlookers watched from behind the safety of their beer cans and beer guts as they chewed on fried chicken, smoking (herbal) cigarettes.
For me, the most unlikely success was the that of the buskers stage outside Vox Pop Cafe, in particular Senior Deluxe, a group resembling a cross between Limp Bizkit & Slip Knot without the masks.
They played a type of music described by Julian Gaskell as “...Rage Against the Machine being let loose on the streets....” and it rocked. Matching that with an onlooking audience, passively seated on a row of church pews provided the surreal moment of the day
Next up were Loafer, this time having to compete against the Eardrum sound system set up less than 10 yards away. Fueled on vodka (NOT Bacardi!!), discarding the out of tune piano, scrounging a second guitar then breaking the strings, crowd favourite `Billy Slag’ received the usual enthusiastic reception before they finished with that staple for buskers (?) Suspicious Minds.
A short stagger away, the street tables from the Dry Bar were full, both with people and empties and the Ambicus sound system provided the arena for those who wanted to dance, to dance.
Yet but for the encyclopedic musical knowledge of Alex, where would we have found the second set of the day from Superstring? Sure it was in the `Little Issue’, a small pamphlet accompanying the `Big Issue’, but what if all copies had gone when one got there? Why was there no listing at the entrance to the site? Why was there no information point? There was a bit in the M.E.N on Friday but not nearly detailed enough. Sharkfin followed Superstring, played a completely different style of music and were as equally good, but where was that advertised? even the poster in the shops gave out incorrect web site details (QUARTER not QUATER).
Some places such as Night and Day managed to provided a running order (Haven, Highway, Drift, I am Kloot etc.) but all the exhortations made in putting together an entertaining and diverse package were in danger of being undermined by the lack of basic information
Finally, the Roadhouse provided an ideal finish to a good day. The effort put in providing the tables, candles, curtains, food, & late bar provided an ideal setting for chilling out the proceedings.
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