Thursday, September 24, 2009

Postcards From The Edge (of Whitworth Park)

Sometimes the Manchester music scene can depress me. At its worst, it is too in love with the mythology of its recent past or it can indulge in pointless in-fighting and back-biting. And frankly, sometimes, it is just not as good as it thinks it is. This is at its WORST remember and when I'm in a glass-half-empty flunk.

Most of the time I love it. However there are a couple of extra reasons to celebrate music in Manchester this week and beyond. Later this week I’ll write about the re-opening of Band on the Wall but first let’s look at Postcards from Manchester.

This event is jointly promoted and delivered by four local and DIY promoters working together (itself something to praise): Underachievers Please Try Harder, Mushaboom, Asparagus Next Left and Pull Yourself Together. It takes place at Café Saki on Wilmslow Road right at the junction between the Whitworth Art Gallery and Park and the curry mile of Rusholme.

"Long-gone are the days of rivalry and sniping between Manchester's indie community. These days we are collaborating all over the shop and with this event, aim to highlight what we can achieve if we work towards a collective goal for the city's music scene. The past year has witnessed a vast growth in the number of interesting and exciting DIY music nights. Formed at similar times, all the people involved in this event seem to have a collective conscience and although their nights vary, each are united by a common manifesto:
* The music comes first.
* A drive to be original and different.
* To include everybody.
* A shared passion for keeping DIY culture alive.
* Being ambitious, without being self-important".

Our promoters have assembled a line-up of 13 bands playing over two floors with club nights following. All this for only £8 advance (plus a 15% discount on curries at Sangam or 10% on takeaways!). But the price or the collaboration, although noteworthy, is not what marks this out.

What does is the quality and variety of bands on offer. If you missed End of the Road, Green Man or Indietracks festivals, Postcards from Manchester is a quick primer of all the upcoming bands you would have seen on the smaller stages or opening bills, taking in noise-pop, indie-pop, folk-pop and more. Any combination of two of these bands would probably be worth the admission price but thirteen? In such a compact venue? With a discount on curry too?!

Appearing are Napoleon IIIrd, The Kabeedies, 6 Day Riot, Run Toto Run, Meursault, Monsters Build Mean Robots, Mechanical Owl, Sparky Deathcap, North Atlantic Oscillation, Young British Artists, Deaf To Van Gogh's Ear, Molly Macleod Band and Christopher Eatough.

This is a line-up put together with love and imagination. And its not trying to trade off any Mancunian mythology or jump on any zeitgeist-y bandwagon. It's about great new bands, great new music. And Tony Wilson, himself an arch Mancunian myth-maker but also fervent champion of the new, would have loved this event, as best summed up by one of the promoters:

"When I started putting on gigs, I felt that the city that celebrated the life of Tony Wilson so much, had stopped listening to the independent ethos by which he lived".
Phil Daker, 'Mushaboom' gig promoter.

Hallelujah to that. Advance tickets here. This is planned to be an annual event. And rightly so.

Pissing on Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues [BUY]

Young British Artists
Small Wave EP [BUY]

6 Day Riot
Have A Plan [BUY]

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