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Artefact

The last flyer for Band on Wall. Looking through these I can see that the venue had a big impact on M/c music, as I’m sure it still does today, even throughout it’s many changes. First time I ever went was probably the first time I’d ever been to see a band in an inner city venue. I tagged along with my elder brother and his mates who were going to see Mick Abrahams who’d played in Fleetwood Mac (presumably the Mick Green version ;”Oh Well” as sampled by M.C. Tunes etc.).Anyway I felt quite growed up.
First off it was down to Yates’s Wine Lodge which, back then was close to the Piccadilly end of Oldham St .Proper spit and sawdust place. Well it was probably round Winter time ‘cos we hit the “blobs”, which were Australian wine, some herbs I think ,and heated up, a bit of a signature drink of that establishment ,and quite lethal .Of course the beers flowed freely too, and as a young, impressionable lad I probably didn’t fair too well. I think it might have been a “rite of passage” night for me. I think the muso in question played a lot of blues slide guitar and the Band on Wall ,which I went to quite often after that, was quite a sparse and bare venue at that time. Afterwards it was more than likely down to the notorious Plaza near Longsight for a killer curry; you had to be careful not to slip on the pools of puke that paved the way to the doorway of this temple of culinary delights; it was that sort of place , with that sort of clientele .It was the ‘70s....
There were times you couldn’t get in T.B.O.T.W.(lack of funds for one thing), but if you stood on the windowsills you could just see the bands ;I recall seeing The Fall and The Mekons that way .The cover of The Manchester Music Collective album pretty much tells the whole story. A particular highlight of bands I saw there was Prince Fari with Suns of Arqa backing him .He was bloody brill! He had this bright orange teddy boy jacket on and just mixed in with the crowd ,toasting away like a good ‘un .Suns of Arqa were a mish mash of various members.I know Anthony Bearant was on keyboards that night and for the most part he was just making odd beeps and squelches noises as far as I could tell i.e. messing about; and I think a guy called Scully, who used to play the fiddle down The Clarence/Gardener’s arms in Rusholme doing the Irish “come allya..”thing. I do recall Stan and Hilda’s favourite lodger, Eddie Yates ,turning up the odd time at these Sunday gatherings at the Gardener’s ” with his trusty bodhran in hand ; joining in with some of these fiddledee-idle-doo sessions.The only place you could buy the Suns of Arqa album “Return of the Mozabites” was at The Roxy shop in the Underground .Still got that somewhere....
Southern Death Cult is another gig that stands out. I think I went out of the curiosity factor .Anyway they got the crowd going with their chicken wardance antics and even if I’d felt so inclined I wouldn’t have ventured into the “Pit of Moshness” for fear of getting an elbow in me eye, being of the smaller persuasion.
On a more sedate evening , a few years later, we happened along to see that smooth old bluesman Jimmy Witherspoon. Turns out he’d been living in Manchester having treatment for cancer I think, and had recovered successfully. I recall ,sat right at the front was this rather natty and smartly turned out older gentleman and presumably his good lady wife, who had a bit of a rapport going with the singer .At the end of the show the old Bluesman introduced him to the audience as the doctor who had successfully treated him through his ordeal; and you kind of got the feeling that this doctor had found it an honour and a privilege to treat the legendary artist. I did actually get Mr. Witherspoon’s autograph after ;only a handful of times I ever did that.
The last time I was in the club was about ’98 to see Community Charge .Hadn’t seen them for years but they were still good .The core clientele of this venue would have many tales to tell......
Artefact added : 4th October 2010
by dubwise-er
Abigail Says –
Fantastic memories, as always, Dub. Very evocative. Thanks for the company...
COMMENT ADDED 4th October 2010
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