Lots to do, lots to see!
Yvette Livesey

So… In The City. To quote a well known Mancunian football manager, bloody hell.

When you roll up Friday afternoon and immediately meet two clowns selling a magazine in town, you know that the intoxicating atmosphere of being back in Manchester is going to take an exacting toll. Absolutely one of my favourite times of the year, a chance to catch up with friends and acquaintances that you only see at this time (usually), a free-form atmosphere where everything happens around you and an unmissable opportunity to discover and meet new, exciting bands.

In The City has it all, and it’s hardly even started yet.

The event has a habit of just happening. So many bands, already it becomes a little bewildering and it’s impossible to catch everything. Luckily there’s enough gig-goers on hand to fill one in on who’s been worth checking and will do fabulously well.

The saga thus far :

Sloped off at Six yesterday to interview 808 State for an upcoming acid house feature for Clash. Graham Massey and Darren were on scintillating form. Liased with my snapper Al De Perez who’s providing the sterling image support that you’ll see all weekend on this site and then to Dry Bar catching a rated local band The Naughty’s. With a wiry Hard-Fi like energy and good stage presence, they captivated the Dry crowd and established themselves as a rollicking, rocking band with plenty of style, suss and attitude.

Then, with the old Dry downstairs also operating as a gig venue, onto one of those new discoveries which ITC just provides you with. Frog Pilot, a massively energetic Japanese rock band whose efforts to ingratiate themselves with the local crowd include a hilarious Shaun Ryder impression. Hearing a Salford drawl delivered in a Japanese accent provides one of my personal high points thus far, the band were very tidy as well and proved lots of fun. Brilliant that they travelled half the globe to get here.

Then the Dead Wasps confirmed their fast growing reputation as one of Manchester’s bands to watch with their uplifting slant on the sort of tunes played in early nineties clubs like Renaissance. Nonchalant electro similar to Kish Mauve, their rousing, hands in the air “choons” provided a top closer to the opening event at Dry.

Then onto the Warehouse Project for their Detroit techno extravaganza with Jeff Mills, Francois K and Underground Resistance (who have been my number one top record label for years now). In a cavernous warehouse space, reminiscent of Cargo or Glasgow’s The Arches, a clue up congregation of clubbers paid homage to the finest techno originators around. It was superb and wonderfully unpretentious fun, putting one in mind of how clubs in Manchester used to be back in the day. Sterling, inspirational stuff.

Retiring to the Hotel (after all you can’t burn yourself out too early) and the opening address where Yvette Livesey (Tony Wilson’s recently widowed partner and co-founder of ITC) talked exquisitely about how this year is a new beginning for In The City. As the photos should highlight here, she looked fantastic as well.

So as I file this copy from the bar, I should also point out that The Ting Tings two gigs last night became one of the early talking points and apparently Shanty Town were brilliant as they opened the Catch In The City marathon at Dry.

Lots to do, lots to see! Even though typically one misses more than one sees.

I’m off to advise some young bands on media for a Break In The City panel and then onto a whole raft of new gigs and experiences!

Join us on VERO

Join the Clash mailing list for up to the minute music, fashion and film news.

Follow Clash: