Archive for October, 2005

Open mics in Manchester

Monday, October 31st, 2005

My quest for finding the best open mics in Manchester began this week. Tuesday was the Iguanna Bar in Chorlton, Wednesday the Arch Bar in Hulme.

Then last night – Sunday – I headed to Dukenfield, near Ashton Under Lime. Their songwriters’ night / open mic happens every last Sunday of the month. There’s an interesting and varied selection of music – fairly folk-orientated – and a great atmosphere.

The best thing about it? You get free food – including sandwiches and chips. But make sure you get in there because it disappears quickly….

All three of the open mics have gone very well. It’s been good to meet new musicians and music-lovers. I’ve also picked up quite a few emails for the mailing list and some really worthwhile performances.

I’m looking forward to doing more performances / gigs in Manchester. I’ll keep you posted… or if you live in Manchester and would like to hear some live music, sign up to the mailing list and select Manchester / North-West as your area.

Keith Burton..

Tuesday, October 25th, 2005

Hey! Just come back from a very amusing night at the Manchester Phoenix – a varied night of music including an hillarious headline set from Keith Burton… whose CD I’ve now got!

The Phoenix is a great little venue, and they put on some really good bands there. In particular, head here for a list from the promoter of the latest stuff that’s coming up…

I’ve just got wind of a Manchester-based band called Anna Kashfi. Though I’ve been listening to them for only 15 minutes, I heartily recommend them:

Adam and Eve, Digbeth, Birmingham Mon 7th Nov

Friday, October 21st, 2005

New gig to announce:
The *Adam and Eve*, Digbeth, Birmingham.
**Monday 7th November**
Tom’s playing a 40-minute set at the *appleaccoustic* night. Full line-up and more details to be confirmed shortly…
Adam and Eve website

Sunflower Lounge

Wednesday, October 19th, 2005

Just come back from a very flying visit to Birmingham….. arrived at 9pm and left at 6am. No gigs this time though… just visiting mates. Am looking forward to organising some more gigs down there though. In particular I have my eye on the Sunflower Lounge, which is a really cool indie bar very near Birmingham New St. Well worth a look-in if you’re down that way…

Weekend of music

Monday, October 17th, 2005

Hello! It’s been a good weekend. Friday I went out in the Northern Quarter of Manchester with my house mate Pete. On Saturday I just played some quiet music in the living rooms of friends and then headed off to a few parties in Withington.

On Sunday I went to Night and Day, to see the Breaks. A great gig – and very good support from *The Seal Cub Clubbing Club* (what a name!) and *Chris T-T* — whose blend of protest songs is truely great. A bit like Billy Brag but more up-to-date and in tune…. 😉

The Breaks themselves were full of infectious 10-second songs. In fact, the longest tune of the set was probably not more than 3 minutes. First time I’d seen them live and it was good 🙂

I’m beginning to recognise the regulars in Night and Day, actually – it’s quite a small group who go to these gigs. Night and Day is a fantastic venue for new music as well as big bands. And there’s a lot of good music coming up in the next few weeks.

After the gig we headed further into the Northern Quarter and had a few drinks until closing time, before heading back to Withington on the bus…

Another Cellar Door

Friday, October 14th, 2005

Last night’s Birmingham gig at the Cellar Door / Actress and Bishop went really well. Thanks so much to everyone for coming. Really good to see headliners the Magnetic Four again… and they lent me their cappo 🙂

A great night – looking forward to doing more Birmingham gigs…

Recovered from Birmingham tonight by heading to the Arch Bar in Hulme, for much manic reggae dancing!

In The City reviews

Tuesday, October 11th, 2005

At the beginning of each October, thousands of A&R types descend on the city of Manchester to talk about all things music-related. In the evening, it becomes a great place to see music – as pretty much every possible venue becomes host to local and international bands.

Choosing which to go and see is always a tricky business. Things kicked off on Friday the 30th. My top choice was to see up-coming band Fleeing New York, followed by Eighties Matchbox… but as is often the case in Manchester, it had started bucketting with rain.

A queue formed outside Dry Bar in the Northern Quarter, and it soon became clear that the event would sell out, with us not making it inside. So we went to nearby Night and Day – which is a well-respected venue for new music.

In there we caught sets from Tricky Nixon, Children, and 3rd Dan. There were some good, tight performances. But something about a room full of record company types, and a pressurised atmosphere, took a bit of getting used to. And though the bands were good, there were no really memorable tunes to speak of. It’s hard to put your finger on what makes a good atmosphere, but in Night and Day there was certainly something a bit tense or hectic which didn’t add to the night.

The next afternoon we returned to Night and Day to gatecrash an industry party to celebrate the launch of a new Manchester XFM. It had a free bar. Much fun indeed!

But in the evening I decided to try somewhere a bit different. The Font Bar – which was free to get into – played host to the best acts from local Indie label Fat Northerner. There was some really good stuff, and the atmosphere was superb. Also met quite a few people I’d talked to the night before… turns out it’s a surprisingly small community of people who enjoy discovering good music.

There was also the chance to natter briefly to some of the guys behind Fat Northerner – and it restored my faith in the music scene here to know that there are people actively pushing new or innovative music.

There was a huge amount of other good music happening – and my own experience was probably a bit atypical. On Sunday I headed to Jabez Clegg for an indie-style festival. It was pretty empty to start with – no A&R types out here – but the atmosphere soon built up. It’s a surprisingly large venue – and I reckon it would be pretty good if filled with some large headline acts. A lot of fun watching some of the acts on here.

Finally, Bedlam that evening played host to some fantastic acoustic acts – including Emmy the Great, Man from Cov and lastly “Son of Dave”. This last was an incredible performance. The guy beatboxes, plays harmonica, rattles a shaker, and sings – all at the same time. With the help of a couple of delay pedals he’d set the place on fire. Sounded like a full deck and a drum machine to me – but no, all those beats had really come from his mouth. Has to be seen to be believed really.

A good end to the festival for me. Monday’s technically the last day… but instead I chose to wonder around Manchester, discovering random venues. Ended up going to Temple Bar and finally “Big Hands” with some mates. Both venues have supplies of interesting beers and – interestingly – are half-owned by the guys from Elbow.

Roll on next year!

Cellar Door, Birmingham, this Wednesday (12th)

Monday, October 10th, 2005

Just got a last minute gig at the Cellar Door night – at the Actress and Bishop. Wednesday 12th October, £3 entry.

Would be great to see you there!


Monday, October 10th, 2005

Okay, bit of an oldie now, but this album is highly recommended: Bristol-based dance outfit Kosheen, with their 2003 album Kokopelli. Incredibly infectious tunes, with big fat production. Guaranteed to make you happy 🙂

Kosheen are a Bristol-based three-piece who began and evolved in the rave scene around Bristol. They had huge hits with Catch and Hide U, but listening to their albums reveals a whole new side. The first is heavily drum-n-bassey, but the songs are real songs too, with haunting vocals from Sian Evans. The second relies more on dirty guitars and meaty production. The lyrics are often feel-good, and it’s an uplifiting album. Highly recommended.

Tom Kerswill

Quiet Night Out

Monday, October 10th, 2005

(update, June 2009: Quiet Night Out was a really great regular night at Fuel Cafe, Withington. It then moved to the Bay Horse for quite a while. Sadly, it’s not really happening any more, though I think Paul, the organiser, is still around and doing various music things in Manchester.)

Here’s my original post from 2005….

Just stumbled on a great little night at Fuel in Withington. Called “Quiet Night Out”, it features several accousticcy acts, most playing without any amplification at all. We got there a little bit late, but managed to see Liam Frost – playing an enthralling mix of good original tunes and loud, clear vocals – followed by “Ben” who plays electric guitar and does very interesting things with loops… It was a good night.

… And also really the stuff of legends. The guests are given milk and cookies – and crayons with which to sketch thoughts and images. It was busy in there – some people couldn’t even get in for Liam’s set – but a great atmosphere and well worth it.


Thursday, October 6th, 2005

I’ve been down in Somerset for a few days… having a lovely relaxing time. And tomorrow I’m heading up to Birmingham, before finally ending back up in Manchester. It’s been good down here. I’ve also listened to the new Juicy Cuts CD (see story to the right) – which features loads of great music from the South West. Recommended!


Wednesday, October 5th, 2005

I have just listened for the first time to the new Elbow album, Leaders of the Free World. It’s a lovely piece of work. Highly recommended! I really want to go and see a gig now…

Juicy Cuts

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005

The Juicy Cuts compilation is out and it’s just fantastic. 17 tracks, and the whole thing costs £2 … buy buy buy, you won’t regret it. It features Trimorphous, Obedient Bone, Klay, The Nine… and many many others (including me as it happens 😉 )

If you’re in the Exeter area, there’s a big launch party for the compilation happening at the Globe Inn this Saturday. A nice venue that – and it’s sure to be quite a party. You’ll be able to see Trimorphous and Klay – two of the acts featured on the CD – performing live there too.

End of the festival..

Tuesday, October 4th, 2005

And so Manchester’s in the city ends for another year. It’s been a good one – I’ve seen some really great music.

Tonight I just had a relaxed time meeting up with some new mates. Headed to the Temple bar — which is an old converted public conveniences 😉 — to drink some interesting continental beers…. then at chucking out time went along to Elbow‘s bar, which is called “Big Hands”. A great atmosphere there. Met some people who I’d seen earlier at In the City, including a guy , Jamie, who performs as “One man and his beard” who I really must check out…

So it’s been a good festival, and I’ve seen some really great music. I now feel a little bit more at ease with everything that’s going on here – and I’m looking forward to checking out some more music at Night and Day, Font Bar, Roadhouse and the like – and hopefully doing some gigs there before long 🙂

Tomorrow I’m off to Somerset for a few days, to catch up with some old friends from home.

Manchester In the City

Sunday, October 2nd, 2005

Manchester’s In the City festival is turning out to be very good. After a bit of a mediocre start (Night and Day, Friday – full of A&R people, but devoid of atmosphere and interesting bands), things started getting better on Saturday.

We went to the XFM launch party at Night and Day – which had a free bar. All it involved was a little bit of blagging and we were in 🙂 Then in the evening I headed to the Font Bar, for a fantastic night organised by Fat Northerner Records. Featured bands included Ironweed and Earl. The place was packed with interesting people. I also got to talk to one of the better bands from night and day the night before – Tricky Nixon. They’re based in Manchester and are definitely worth checking out.

Today’s been relaxed. Went to an indie-orientated festival at Jabez Cleg, then a bit later in the evening I headed to Bedlam to check out some of the acoustic acts that are emerging from the city and elsewhere. Starting with Emmy the Great, who’s mates with Jeremy Warmsley, and followed by a few other good bands. Headlining was “Son of Dave” – who concocts incredible music using just his voice, beatboxing and a harmonica. Oh, and a few loop pedals. Quite amazing to watch, really.

Made contact with some interesting people. In the City has been good so far. I’m looking forward to the last day tomorrow. Then I’m heading off to Somerset for a few days to relax 🙂