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Monday 31 July 2023

Monday's Long Song Is Going To Greece

We're going on holiday today, away for the next seven days. Our holiday was booked months ago and has been subject to a bit of uncertainty recently- we are due to go to the Greek island of Rhodes. Last week, like much of the Mediterranean, Rhodes had wildfires. While much of Rhodes was unaffected the specific place we are going to- Lindos- was in the path of the wildfires, the beach at Lindos was where holidaymakers were being evacuated from and some of the houses, buildings and hotels in the area had been affected by the fires. Last weekend our holiday company suspended all flights and the thought of going on holiday to an area of a natural disaster was a bit of a concern. They contacted us a few days ago to say the area was safe to travel to, flights were starting up again and the Lindos area was ready to welcome tourists again. The local economy relies on holidaymakers and their spending, and the assessment of the area was that facilities and services were back to normal. While we're still a bit apprehensive about it, we're off today. Hopefully you won't see me on the news sleeping in a local sports centre having been evacuated from a beach with nothing but our swimwear with the flames licking around us. 

Here's some Greek music. Anatolian Weapons is a Greek DJ/ producer, real name Aggelos Bartos, a resident of Athens. Anatolian Weapons is his version of splicing electronic music, krautrock and aspects of Greek folk music. Last year he put out an EP called Selected Acid Tracks, a record I played a lot. It is exactly what the title said it was- strong Greek acid. This one, Acid Research 63, is eleven minutes of dark squelch and thump.

Acid Research 63

This one is no less intense or percussive, taken from the Anatolian Weapons vaults and a release titled The Hyperglow Edits Vol. 2. The title seemed apt. All being well, normal service at Bagging Area will be resumed in a week with more music,  accompanied by photos of Greek towns and villages, the sea, ancient Greek sites and sunsets. Acropolis not apocalypse. 


Sunday 30 July 2023

Forty Minutes Of Nick Drake

I abandoned not one but two Sunday mixes this week- in frustration mainly, at not being able to get either one right. One was a Talking Heads/ David Byrne/ Tom Tom Club mix that kept defeating me and the other an Underworld one that I couldn't get into a state that I was happy with. Instead I've gone for a Nick Drake mix, one which came together quickly and which hits the spot in all sorts of ways. In some ways it's just an excuse to repost the recent Fontaines D.C. cover of 'Cello Song, which has come out physically recently as part of an album of twenty five songs, covers by a diverse range of artiss. 

I first encountered Nick Drake aged seventeen or eighteen after reading a review in Melody Maker of a 1987 compilation called Time Of No Reply, fourteen songs that were all outtakes and alternate versions. I don't know why I bought it. It wasn't remotely like what I was listening to in 1987/ 1988, but something about the review must have appealed to me or it was a strange impulse that paid off in the long term. I liked the songs but details were scant, there was no internet to look him up on and explore further and I didn't dig much deeper until the mid- 90s when his three studio albums were re- issued. Nick's music- the finger picked folk guitar, his clear, well spoken English voice, the songs that were adorned with Disney- like string arrangements, the way his songs veer between dark and light, depression and light-  confused me at times and I had to sift through them to find what I wanted. Some of these songs, 'Cello Song for one, have taken on huge meaning and significance for me (I wrote about 'Cello Song here when it became a lockdown song round my way, and again here in November last year, on the first anniversary of Isaac's death. I heard 'Cello Song in the aftermath of Isaac's death and the words took on new layers of meaning for me- it stops me in my tracks when I hear it now, partly why the Fontaines cover has gone near to the top of my most played songs of 2023 list). The backing on many of these songs add another dimension to them too, the use of hand drums, congas, cello and so on, lift them, adding subtleties and layers and put them in a different place from the more standard folky singer/ songwriter area. That's Joe Boyd's influence I think. There's something about these songs which often seems very autumnal but they fit into the long days of summer too. Even if the weather has been anything but summery these last few weeks. 

Forty Minutes of Nick Drake

  • 'Cello Song
  • Time Has Told Me
  • Rider On The Wheel
  • River Man
  • Northern Sky
  • Three Hours
  • Hazey Jane I
  • Black Eyed Dog
  • Clothes Of Sand
  • 'Cello Song
  • Introduction
'Cello Song and Time Has Told Me are both from Nick's debut Five Leaves Left, produced by Joe Boyd.  The original version of River Man comes from Five Leaves Left too but this solo version is from I Was Made To Love Magic, a compilation released in  2004 that was an updated version of the cassette I bought back in the 80s. 

Rider On The Wheel was on I Was Made To Love Magic along with the versions here of Three Hours, Clothes Of Sand and the haunting Black Eyed Dog. Rider On The Wheel and Black Eyed Dog both date from 1974 and were possibly intended for Nick's fourth album, a record which never happened due to his death that year. 

Northern Sky and Hazey Jane I are both from Bryter Later, Nick's second album, released in 1971. The album was very polished, with string arrangements added by Joe Boyd- I can leave some of it, its too sweet but some of it is lovely. John Cale was involved in the production of Bryter Later adding piano and Hammond organ to several songs including Northern Sky. Northern Sky was also the song which spearheaded Nick's rediscovery, being sued as the lead track from a CD compilation and in a handful of films in the 90s. Introduction is an instrumental, one minute thirty seconds opening to Bryter Later. 

The second version of 'Cello Song is the cover by Fontaines D.C., out now on album The Endless Coloured Ways. It kicks and spits and takes the song somewhere else entirely, a grinding rocking guitar song, with rockabilly drums and Grian Chattan's Dublin voice a new way to hear those words. Exactly what a cover version should do. 

Saturday 29 July 2023

Saturday Live

I found a copy of the 25th Anniversary edition of Reckoning by R.E.M. recently, cheap and second hand, a double CD re- issue of the album with a second disc of the band playing live in July 1984 at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. There aren't many live discs that stand up to repeat plays but this does and will, mid- 80s R.E.M. at the peak of their powers, the Reckoning songs fresh and honed on the road, the band tight and with the faster, energetic, distorted punky/ indie feel they had early on. On some songs Peter Buck's Rickenbacker jangles but on some the Wire/ Gang Of Four influences are obvious. Michael Stipe's vocals are wayward in places, nicely so, words and syllables extended and the three way harmonies with Bill Berry and Mike Mills have a rough quality that really works. The gig in Chicago is sixteen songs long,  opening with their cover of Femme Fatale and ending with a two song encore- Second Guessing and (Don't Go Back To) Rockville. This is a selection of songs from the live disc. 

Gardening At Night (Live In Chicago, July 1984)

Sitting Still (Live In Chicago, July 1984)

Harborcoat  (Live In Chicago, July 1984)

Little America  (Live In Chicago, July 1984)

Second Guessing  (Live In Chicago, July 1984)

A month earlier, 9th June 1984, they played at the Capitol Theatre, Passiac, New Jersey. The gig was filmed, an hour and five minutes of R.E.M., a similar set but played in a different order but with first debut appearances for Hyena (later to show up on 1986's Lifes Rich Pageant) and Driver 8, freshly written and soon to be one of the centrepiece songs of 1985's Fables Of The Reconstruction. They look great, Peter with red shirt sleeves flapping, Stipe with long curly hair and Mills bopping about. They look like they're having fun too. Amusingly, when Reckoning was reviewed by Rolling Stone on release the  reviewer, Chris Connelly, wrote that  Stipe's evocatively gloomy baritone... and ... erratic meanderings will prevent R.E.M. from transcending cult status'. Not quite eh?

Friday 28 July 2023


Sinead O'Connor's death was announced by her family on Wednesday night. We'd been to the cinema and came out into the July rain, the news coming through almost immediately onto our phones. Not long after a neighbour sent a message, a family photo of Sinead and Andy Rourke (with a guitar) smiling in the sunshine in Palma in the 90s (my neighbour's mum is friends with Andy's- both Andy and Sinead gone in a matter of months). Sinead's traumatic childhood, bumpy ride through the music industry in the aftermath of her massive fame in 1990 and struggles with her family, mental health and physical health are well documented. Last year her son Shane killed himself, aged seventeen. To lose a child is an awful, heartbreaking, lifechanging and catastrophic event for any parent, as we know too well. To lose a child to suicide is unimaginable. 

I saw Sinead at Glastonbury in 1990, playing mid- afternoon, singing to 30, 000 people from the Pyramid stage, dressed in black biker jacket, circular shades and a Viz Fat Slags t- shirt. This song, The Emperor's New Clothes with former- Ant Marco Pirroni windmilling on guitar, was a highlight. It's a powerful song, Sinead dropping in lines about youth, fame and pregnancy and a partner who has misjudged her, got her wrong. In the end she decides, 'I will live by my own policies/ I will sleep with a clear conscience/ I will sleep in peace'. 

The Emperor's New Clothes

Those lines are how she lived her life- singular, fearless, battling, courageous, unafraid. In 1987 I watched her on Top Of The Pops performing her single Mandinka. In denim and black boots and with her shaven head she looked amazing, a punk spirit making announcing her entry the world. 


By this point she'd already sacked her producer and re- recorded her debut album, The Lion And The Cobra (an album that includes her debut single, the epic Troy, and the song I Want Your (Hands On Me) which was remixed with rapper MC Lyte and became big in the growing underground club culture).

Sinead took no prisoners in her songs, her brushes with her parents split as a child, trauma, abuse, eighteen months in the Irish care system and her mother's death in a car crash fuelling her fire. When her cover of Nothing Compares 2U went supernova she found herself at a level of fame that would have derailed even the most well adjusted person. She was badly treated by many people. The album Nothing Compares 2U came from, I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got, contains many great Sinead songs, not least this one which takes on new layers of meaning every time I play it, a 17th century poem sung over a Soul II Soul drum beat with a fiddle by a Waterboy arriving at the end as a final lament.

I Am Stretched On Your Grave

I posted the full version of this gig, a performance in Brussels in 1990, earlier this year as part of my Saturday Live series. In this excerpt from it, she sings I Am Stretched On Your Grave on her own on stage, one woman with a reel to reel tape recorder and an audience in the palm of her hands. 

Earlier in the year she appeared on The Late Show singing Black Boys On Mopeds, her evisceration of Margaret Thatcher's government, its hypocrisy, late 80s Britain's racist policing of young black men and how 'England's not a mythical land of Madame George and roses'.

Fridays here recently have been a celebration of Andrew Weatherall remixes. Here are two with Sinead. The first is one of three remixes Andrew did of Jah Wobble and The Invaders Of The Heart's Visions Of You, utterly essential 1992 dub/ pop (Sinead's love of reggae and dub is one of the recurring themes of her albums and her book Rememberings). This 12" was a bit of a dream team assembled, Weatherall's production, Wobble's bass and Sinead's voice- they really should have made an album together. 

Peace Together was a collective formed to promote the peace process in Northern Ireland, formed in 1993. The twelve minute Sabres Of Paradise remix of the song Be Still is very much an overlooked Sabres remix, extended Gaelic- dub. Listening to it yesterday, it felt like a celebration and a eulogy.

There are many more songs from Sinead's back catalogue that I could post here but I've probably done enough- You Have Made Me A Thief Of Your Heart, her cover of Song To The Siren, Fire On Babylon and Thank You For Hearing Me ( both from Universal Mother in 1994), 2020's 7" single, a cover of Mahalia Jackson's Trouble Of The World, recorded with David Holmes and Unloved, the first fruits of an album abandoned when Shane died and then restarted later on last year. 

Someone at Youtube left a comment years ago that said, 'So many people owe Sinead an apology'. That's the truth- she was frequently, insultingly, portrayed as 'crazy' in the press but was proved correct about so much. In fact, rather than crazy I think Sinead was someone who had figured out exactly what the world is like. Eventually it took an enormous toll on her. I hope she has found some kind of peace, the peace she referred to in The Emperor's New Clothes. 

'I will live by my own policies
I will sleep with a clear conscience
I will sleep in peace'

RIP Sinead.

Thursday 27 July 2023


The Blue Aeroplanes have never featured at these pages previously. I saw them in 1989 at Liverpool Royal Court supporting R.E.M. on the Green tour, a gig that lives long in the memory for the headliners but the support act were impressive too, a band with multiple guitarists, a dancer and a poet for a frontman- they finished their set with Gerard Langley at the front of the stage, arms outstretched while as the guitarists thrashed away behind him. I bought a double album compilation, FriendLoverPlane, not long after but don't seem to have it any more, one of those records that has mysteriously vanished at some point. Going backwards from there, their 1986 album Tolerance, out on Fire Records, is a good introduction to their work, the spoken word vocals of Langley and guitar heavy sound. The version here is from The Tolerance EP, also from '86. 

Tolerance (Remix)

In 1990, fresh from their tour supporting R.E.M. and signed to a major label, they released Swagger, an album promoted with singles Jacket Hangs and ...And Stones, all produced by Gil Norton who at that point was very much in demand as the man who produced Doolittle by Pixies. They got a lot of press, the record company clearly hoping for that early 90s dream, the indie band that crossed over, but despite it all it never quite happened. Probably for the best- they survived the experience and still record and gig today. Your Ages is from Swagger. 

Your Ages

Wednesday 26 July 2023

Bands Performing In Places They Shouldn't Be

Three weeks ago I posted a clip of Echo And The Bunnymen promoting their then new single Bring On The Dancing Horses on early evening entertainment and chat show The Wogan Show. Ian, Will, Les and Pete got away with it with their customary cool and casual indifference to their surroundings. I said it might make a good idea for an irregular series, Bands Performing In Places They Shouldn't Be (or rather Bands Being Booked Onto Inappropriate TV Programmes By Their Record Companies To Sell Their Wares). There were quite a few suggestions on the comments and I've got a few of my own so we'll work our way through them over the summer. 

Firstly, and I've posted this before but it definitely stands up to repeat posting, before we leave Terry Wogan and his shiny studio environment we should recall that in 1986 Pete Wylie appeared on The Wogan Show to lip sync Sinful

It's magnificent stuff, Wylie in black leather, Josie Jones (also in black leather) on Paul Weller's pop art guitar and three dancers dressed as nuns/ three hot nuns dancing. Sinful is a superb record and one of this blog's theme tunes and signature songs. Miming on Wogan does not diminish it at all. 

In July 1987 Spear Of Destiny's press officer had the brilliant idea of booking them on a kids show called Get Fresh, live from Fistral Beach, Newquay, Cornwall. The single they were promoting was Never Take Me Alive, epic guitar rock from their Outlands album. The appearance on the beach at Newquay is bizarre and hilarious, something the band have cottoned on to. Kirk Brandon smirks and laughs his way through the brief interview and the performance. At one point they are surrounded and then joined by a group of Medieval knights, some of whom mime guitar with their swords. 

Trying to mime the words 'Mother I killed someone/ It wasn't that I hated him/ You see he was trying to stop me/ But he found out/ I've gone the whole way... They'll never take me alive' with any kind of post- punk menace under these circumstances is all but impossible. 

Pebble Mill At One was a long running BBC TV programme, early afternoon light entertainment broadcast from the foyer of the BBC's studios in Birmingham. In 1983 Aztec Camera had the privilege of performing Oblivious to the studio audience. Oblivious is wonderful obviously. Roddy is resplendent in fringed buckskin, Western shirt and 60s mop. They make the best of it.

Three weeks ago The Swede left a comment saying that Ian Dury made several appearances on Pebble Mill. Really Glad You Came was a 1983 single, sans Blockheads. Ian manages to style it out, making lunch time TV in the early 80s look like a good place to be. 

Tuesday 25 July 2023

Changing Places

There was an interview with Vini Reilly in The Guardian last week, a sombre and melancholic appreciation of the man and his talent. Vini talks about his traumatic past and how future Durutti Column drummer, manger and Manchester legend Bruce Mitchell saved him. Factory records, its home on 86 Palatine Road not far from where Vini lived then and now, had several people in its orbit that could be described as geniuses- Ian Curtis, Martin Hannett and Peter Saville all have a claim to the word. Vini is in that group too, his guitar playing and approach to music different from everyone else operating in the same spheres. Vini's view is if you go to Spain you can find flamenco guitarists playing in small bars 'in Cordoba and those guys will make me look stupid'. He casually dismisses his own song Otis as 'just messing about'. 

We are free to disagree with Vini of course, and to praise him and his music. 

In 1983 Anne Clark recruited Vini to play on her record, an album called Changing Places. The first side was recorded with David Harrow, Anne's poetry and voice on top of David's New Wave electronica. Vini played on the five songs on side B. Apparently he got the train from Piccadilly to Euston with his guitar, went straight to Denmark Street studios, played guitar for the five songs- beautiful, fragile, haunting, lighter- than- air guitar- and then got the train back to Manchester. A day's work for Vini but as this song has it, the echoes remain forever. 

Echoes Remain Forever

In 1991 Factory held a festival in Heaton Park to commemorate Martin Hannett. The Sunday line up was very Factory oriented. It was a warm and sunny day, everyone in a good mood. There were people coming over and through the fence, security unable or unwilling to stop them. Duruttti Column played mid- afternoon. They played Fado, a song that wouldn't be released in studio form until 1994's Sex And Death album. The music Vini, Bruce and keyboard player Kier Stewart conjured up that afternoon was a genuine form of magic.

Monday 24 July 2023

Monday's Long Song

Today is the first day proper of my summer holiday, six weeks off work. To celebrate, some rocking dub from Justin Robertson. He's recently made several EPs of music available at his Bandcamp page including a new EP titled Sticky Web. The lead track is this one, Sticky Web Of Happy Spiders, seven minutes and forty seconds of bouncing bass, skanking rhythms, splinters of guitar and organ bouncing in and out of the mix and voices talking about spiders, webs and forests. Chugging and deeply dubby stuff from Mr Robertson and his Deadstock 33s. The three track Sticky Web EP is here

Sunday 23 July 2023

Forty Minutes Of Slowdive

For a band who took a lot of music press flak back in the 90s Slowdive and their music have proved remarkably resilient. They are also a re- union that has been about more than just playing heritage gigs with a very good album in 2017, twenty two years after they split and another one out this September. A new song, Skin In The Game, came out recently, woozy melancholia through the familiar Slowdive shoegaze FX. 

A Slowdive Sunday mix seemed in order. Their music is suited to the long form, it has an endless, repetitive quality, acres of drift and motion, with blissed out guitars, hazy FX and walls of ambient noise. 

Forty Minutes of Slowdive
  • Star Roving
  • Catch The Breeze
  • Souvlaki Space Station
  • Avalyn II
  • Morningrise
  • When The Sun Hits
  • Slowdive
  • Sugar For The Pill
Star Roving and Sugar For The Pill are both from 2017's self titled re- union album, swathes of guitar based atmospherics but with songs too and Rachel Goswell's voice floating on top. In some ways, this is their best album. 

Catch The Breeze was the lead song on the Holding Our Breath EP, out on Creation in 1991 and then part of the debut album, Just For A Day, also 1991. 

Souvlaki Space Station was on 1993's Souvlaki album, an album recorded after Rachel Goswell and guitarist/ songwriter Neil Halstead had split up. Halstead was in a bad way and getting heavily into ambient- techno, Aphex Twin and dub. Souvlaki got a bad press, undeservedly so- today, thirty years later, it sounds like a lost gem. In 1993 Britpop was about to erupt and the music press was fickle, the shoegaze bands suffering in comparison to the bright colours and instant hit of Oasis et al. When The Sun Hits is from Souvlaki too. 

Avalyn II was on Slowdive's debut record, the self titled 12" Creation released in 1990- soundscapes, mood, texture all to the fore. The song Slowdive is from the same record. 

Morningrise was a single from early 1991. 

A month ago this song, Kisses, came out ahead of this autumn's album, Everything Is Alive. The band's music sounds just at home in 2023 as it ever did, more so possibly. 

Saturday 22 July 2023

Saturday Live

Moon Duo- Ripley Johnson, Sanae Yamada and drummer John Jeffrey- toured in 2019 to promote their album Stars Are The Light. They played from inside the lightship, a gauze screen around the four sides of the stage, with lights and projections beamed onto it and from within it. The effect was pretty sensational, adding to the hypnotic, motorik groove the three piece locked into as soon as they started playing. There was little audience interaction, the odd 'thank you', but mainly it was constant, fluid, propulsive pysche, the drums straight ahead, four four, Sanae's keys and synths adding texture and drones, twin enervated vocals and Ripley's guitar drizzled and dappled on top. We saw them when they played The Dancehouse in Manchester at the end of October and had our minds expanded. A month later they played The Wonder Ballroom in Portland, Oregon, a gig which was filmed in full. It finishes with the two chord cover of Alan Vega's Jukebox Baby.

Two years previously they played at KEXP, the Seattle based radio station that invites bands in to play in their studio and films them doing it. This half hour set is less blissed out and less spaced out than the 2019 shows, a four song set that concludes with the mighty ten minute White Rose (also played at Portland in the gig above, about twenty minutes in).

Friday 21 July 2023

Weatherall Remix Friday Nine

We've had a run of dub posts this week so I thought Weatherall Remix Friday should follow suit with the Sabres Of Paradise remixes of Bomb The Bass from 1994, Mr Weatherall's long standing dub interest and pursuits finding fully realised expression in a pair of remixes. 

The Sabres Main Mix is a seven minute deep dive into some heavy dub/ downtempo action, wobbly synths and reggae vocal (supplied by Spikey Tee) followed by all manner of echo and delay, rimshots, crawling rhythms, hisses, deep bass, swirling FX, melodica and the smell of smoke thick in the air. 

Darkheart (Sabres Of Paradise Main Mix)

The Second Mix, a minute longer, does that classic Weatherall trick of dubbing the dub, stripping things down and back further. The Second Mix, vocal free and more abstract, has much in common with the sounds Sabres Of Paradise were conjuring up for their own material at this point- it could easily fit onto Haunted Dancehall. 

Darkheart (Sabres Of Paradise Second Mix)

Darkheart was from Bomb The Bass' third album, the trip hop/ downtempo/ hip hop sounds of Clear. It was an album led by the single Bug Powder Dust which caused a bit of a stir- it was single of the year at Select magazine. The Darkheart 12" came out on a major label (4th And Broadway, owned by Island) and as a result is fairly easy to find today and very cheap, unlike much of the Weatherall back catalogue. In 1988 Bomb The Bass mainman Tim Simenon did much to shape what acid house would sound and look like, not least the smiley face (borrowed from Alan Moore's Watchmen comic) which adorned the cover of his Beat Dis single, a genuine late 80s classic and game changing record. But that's something for another day. 

Thursday 20 July 2023

Social Awareness

Last year New Zealand dub purveyor Stinky Jim (Jim Pinkney) released Spacial Awareness, a twelve track remix and dub excursion that left few stones unturned- I reviewed it here. Jim has been busy enlisting remixers to his cause and to celebrate his birthday two days ago, Tuesday, he released the remix album available digitally and hopefully on vinyl too soon. Social Awareness has sixteen remixes and dub versions, new takes on the tracks from Spatial Awareness. 

This one is by regular visitors to these pages Rude Audio. Sand Gestures (Rude Audio Remix) continues in the same vein as Mark's recent outstanding dub album with Dan Wainwright, Psychedelic Science, an album which blurred the lines between dub, The Grateful Dead, Ram Dass, The Merry Pranksters and David Bowie. Never one for brevity Mark's Rude Audio remix is ten minutes thirty seconds of bass, bubbling synths, rimshots, echo and tripped out forwards progression. There's an insistent synth squiggle that weaves its way to the front and pushes along with the rhythm. Click play and then let it run on and on. 

Another highlight is The Long Champs remix of Quiet Spillage, six minutes of electrifying dub sounds, woozy organ, descending bass and a twisted horn part- I love the breakdown at the end, everything dropping out to leave the kick drum rattling/ thumping away. The original version of Quiet Spillage is a delight, a funky exotica/ dub crossover, music for cocktails and grooving. 

Quiet Spillage

The sixteen track Social Awareness including remixes and dubs by Solar Tropics, Amamelia, Tim Prebble, Seekers International, Jefferson Belt and Strange Flesh among others is at Bandcamp. Happy belated birthday Stinky Jim. 

Wednesday 19 July 2023


Panda Bear and Sonic Boom's album Reset came out last year, a brightly coloured, psyche- pop record that took samples/ ideas from songs from the past and recast them. Sonic Boom asked Adrian Sherwood to do a dub and in typical Sherwood fashion he didn't do a dub, he did many dubs, eventually the entire album remixed dubwise style out by Sherwood and a selection of the On U Sound cast of players. Reset In Dub comes out in August digitally and then December on vinyl. To whet your whistle they launched Whirlpool Dub into the wilds last Friday. This dub/ psyche version of Panda Bear and Sonic Boom is very nice, with a tripped out edge, lots of warmth and sounds bouncing around the parameters of the mix- there's a cello in there too which works perfectly, as Panda Bear's voice gets sent reverberating into space. Buy it here

Tuesday 18 July 2023

Still River Flow

There's a lot of new music in my space at the moment. I slept on this one for a while but have been hitting play and replay a lot since the first time I spun it a couple of weeks ago- thanks to Dan for tipping me off. 

JIM is songwriter, musician and DJ Jim Baron- his background includes being one half of Crazy P- and this album stems from lockdown, when life became more introspective and solitary. JIM's solo album, the unashamedly hippy- ish record titled Love Makes Magic, is a joy from start to finish. Balearic finger picked and strummed acoustic guitars. Harmonised, multi- tracked vocals that invariably bring to mind the sound of Crosby, Stills and Nash. Piano parts from late 80s house music. The subtle but funky push of drums from dance music. Ten perfectly paced and pitched songs. 

Still River Flow is a beauty at the heart of the album, piano carrying the good times feel from the start of the song over percussion and drums. It's intended to sound like summer, carefree and exuberant, with the wind in its hair and the sun on its face. 

Still River Flow also exists in reworked in an extended dub version courtesy of Damian Harris (aka Midfield General), the Generalisation Dub, stretched out and stripped down, available only as a download at the moment here. When the strings come in, over the bubbling bass, sweet backing vox, guitar and synths, it's almost too much. Then there's a piano breakdown and, frankly, I'm in pieces at how blissed out and impossibly good it all sounds.  

Monday 17 July 2023

Monday's Long Song

Jane Birkin died yesterday aged 76. She was a genuine counter culture superstar, an actress and singer and the voice of Je t'aime... Moi Non Plus, a 1969 show stopper of a single recorded with Serge Gainsbourg. In 1971 Serge recorded Historie De Melody Nelson, a thirty minute concept album about an affair between a middle aged man and a teenage girl (something that would be received very differently if released in 2023). The album is a tour de force musically. Jane takes centre stage on the cover and is present on vocals. The lush, orchestral sounds are coupled with grimy funk bass and superb sounding early '70s guitars, spoken word vocals and choral backing vox. There are few other albums from that time or since that sound much like it. This is Cargo Culte, the seven and a half minute finale, a sublime piece of groove and feel, the guitar as good as any electric guitar anyone else put down on tape.

Cargo Culte

Jane appears on this song, the much shorter Ballade De Melody Nelson, a duet with acoustic guitar and strings. 

Ballade De Melody Nelson

In 1997 David Holmes sampled the tile track Melody for Don't Die Just Yet. When it was released as single it came with some tasty remixes- this one by Mogwai for instance.

Don't Die Just Yet (Mogwai Mix)

In 1985 Jane covered Kate Bush's Mother Stands For Comfort, a song originally from Kate's Hounds Of Love

Mother Stands For Comfort

As well as continuing to make music and films, Jane was a French national and resident of Paris long after her relationship with Gainsbourg ended. She was an activist and campaigner for Amnesty International, migrant support groups and Aids charities. There isn't a bad photograph of her. RIP Jane Birkin. 

Sunday 16 July 2023

Forty Minutes Of Covers Of The Clash

To follow last week's post of The Clash sampled, edited and remixed, this week has a a forty minute set of covers of Clash songs by other artists. When I started to put a shortlist together I realised there's enough material for two or three editions. I thought of theming it- a dub mix, rock mix and so on but then in the spirit of Sandinista! decided to sling different styles together, so we go from dub to rockabilly and back again with several other points visited in between. The Clash's songs stand up well to being covered- the sheer variety is testament to their songs and the distance they travelled between White Riot in 1977 and Death Is A Star in 1983. 

Forty Minutes Of Covers Of The Clash

  • Terry Edwards And The Scapegoats: Version City
  • Megative: Ghetto Defendant
  • Infantry Rockers: Rebel Waltz
  • The Afghan Whigs: Lost In The Supermarket
  • Citizen Sound ft. Prince Blanco and Ammoye: One More Time
  • Hinds: Spanish Bombs
  • Jimmy Cliff: Guns Of Brixton
  • Lily Allen and Mick Jones: Straight To Hell
  • The Pistoleers: Bank Robber
  • Dub Spencer and Trance Hill: Train In Vain
Punk trumpeter Terry Edwards recorded covers of the Mary Chain, Bowie and The Fall with his Scapegoats as well as being a member of Gallon Drunk. It is typically punk of him to decide to cover Version City, a Sandinista! side 6 song and hence unlikely to have been heard by many but the most committed. 

Megative are from New York City. Their cover of Ghetto Defendant (a Combat Rock highlight, rocking dub with Allen Ginsburg on board) came as a bonus song on their 2018 album No Fear. 

The Afghan Whigs use Topper's Train In Vain drumbeat for their cover of one of Mick's greatest London Calling era songs, a single that never was. Greg Dulli et al recorded it for a tribute album that came out in 1999. 

Shatter The Hotel came out in 2009, a reggae/ dub album of Clash covers with Don Letts doing London Calling and Creation Rockers, Dub Antenna and Chomsky Allstars all feature. It's a really good album, good versions from start to finish. For this mix I included Infantry Rockers doing Rebel Waltz (a real lesser known Clash gem) and Citizen Sound's One More Time. Infantry Rockers are from Wisconsin with members from Venezuela, Sierra Leone, Costa Rica and Jamaica, which couldn't be more Clash if it tried. I can't find much info about Citizen Sound. Prince Blanco featured in last week's mix with 22 Davis Road

Hinds are four young women from Spain. In 2020 they kicked the living daylights out of one of London Calling's best songs, Joe conflating 70s mass tourism, the Spanish Civil War of 1936- 1939 and the terror campaign by ETA. If you're going to cover The Clash, do it properly. As Hinds do. 

Jimmy Cliff's cover of Guns Of Brixton came out on his Sacred Fire EP in 2011. Paul Simonon's lyrics refer to Ivan, the lead character in the Harder They Come. Ivan was of course played by Jimmy Cliff. 

Lily Allen and Mick recorded Straight To Hell for a War Child album in 2009. Lily's Dad Keith was a friend of Joe's and he was a regular visitor to their home. 

The Pistoleers covered Bank Robber in rockabilly style for a 2003 tribute album, This Is Rockabilly Clash- I'm fairly sure the first time I heard this was when it was played by Andrew Weatherall. 

Dub Spencer and Trance Hill are a Swiss dub outfit who released an entire album of dub versions of Clash songs back in 2011. It's quality stuff from top to tail not least when they tackle the less- dub oriented songs, like Train In Vain. 

Saturday 15 July 2023


No Saturday live today, in place the brand new release from Jezebell, out yesterday and available at Bandcamp. Last summer's Jezebell soundtrack was the ten minute Ibizan odyssey of Jezebellaeric. This summer Jesse and Darren have gone a step further, twelve minutes of blissed out Balearica that keeps on giving the more you play it. Jezeblue surfs the waves as they gently break on the shore. Building slowly, it floats in with padding drums, synths, ripples of sound and then a voice in the distance singing, 'oh baby, come take me'. Gradually the groove finds its way to the front of the mix and then piano takes the lead, two chords playing off as the sun goes down. 

As much as it is about melody, groove and feel, Jezeblue seems to be in some way about memory, fragments of former lives, glimpses of the past, past events that reverberate in our minds in the small hours, and how they pull at us- not nostalgia necessarily but those memories that make us who we are now. Somehow it seems to contain all of that in the voice, the piano and the rhythms. Well into the second half there are synth stabs that push those buttons too, remnants of classic house reused for summer 2023. 

As well as the full twelve minute version there are two other versions of the song. Jezeblue (Slight Return) is a six and a half minute version with the synth stabs leading from the start, the pianos and drums layered, everything a bit more together.  The Blue Bell Edit is even more blissed out, bass, synths and piano and the vocal all rippling gently towards the sunset.

Friday 14 July 2023

Weatherall Remix Friday Eight

A reader got in touch after last week's Weatherall Remix Friday with a couple of suggestions for future posts both of which are a) fairly obscure and b) ones I think I'll get to. This one fits in well with last week's Two Lone Swordsmen remix of Alter Ego's Mescal and with the pair Keith suggested. Le Patron Est Devenu Fou! (translation- The Boss Has Gone Mad!) was a track by French producer Super Discount (Etienne de Crecy) and appeared on his album, also titled Super Discount. A 7" single was released in July 1997 with a remix on the B-side by Two Lone Swordsmen. 

Le Patron Est Devenu Fou! (Two Lone Swordsmen Dub  Mix)

For this remix Andrew and Keith Tenniswood head further into a murky basement/ underwater world of their own making- dingy, poorly lit and full of smoke and the aroma of substances. Six minutes of bubbles, echo, delay, rattles, the throb of sub bass, a quicker tempo than it maybe at first seemed like it would have, little synth/ keyboards runs, space, bleeps, more echo, more delay- wonderfully textured and nuanced deep house dub. 

Thursday 13 July 2023


My dreams have become more intense  in the eighteen months since Isaac died (and I remember more of them when waking). I've written before about how disconcerting and unsettling it has been on those occasions when I've woken up and have bene dreaming about him. I haven't dreamt about him for a while now, now I think about it. But my dreams remain vivid and intense, often quite stressful, a sign maybe that my subconscious is working overtime, that my brain is processing a lot. The last few weeks have been hard in some ways, the never- ending slog through grief and loss taking a toll. I've got constant low level illnesses, one after another, my immune system clearly not functioning fully. The feeling of dread and emptiness that strikes out of nowhere some days, a sense of being aimless and adrift, not quite sure where the centre is any more. 

The times I've felt best in the year and a half since he died have mainly been connected to music and in the company of crowds/ others. Evenings watching bands, where I'm a member of the audience, one person in a crowd. Those weekends DJing at The Golden Lion and Blossom Street. The occasions lost on the dancefloor at the Lion, dancing to the music being played by David Holmes, Justin Robertson and Sean Johnston. These have been the times when I've been lifted out of myself, a few hours of respite and uplift. 

This song, Dreams (On The Strip), came from one of those situations. Martin played it when we warmed up for ALFOS three weeks ago and listening to it recently has been a bit of a joy- rippling, gliding, euphoric psychedelia, drums and synths, summer sounding vocals and, in the video, a Lebanese- American belly dancer Alia Mohamed.

Dreams (On The Strip) is by London band Flamingods. It came out at the end of May this year, their first new music since 2019. Well worth the wait. At Bandcamp you can buy it for one pound (dollar/ euro/ unit) and it's worth every penny/ cent. A song that sounds like the sort of thing that should be the soundtrack to our dreams. 

Wednesday 12 July 2023

Viper Patrol And The Machine Soul

These two tracks are both recent releases, one from Duncan Gray's Tici Taci label, the other from John Paynter's Paisley Dark. They inhabit a similar space and when burning a CD of recent music to listen to in the car on my commute they ended up next to each other- and they work together very well. The fact that the artist's names rhyme just adds to them being connected for me. 

Viper Patrol are on Tici Taci, a label celebrating it's first decade this year. Not Of This World is slinky, chuggy techno/ sci fi/ disco, a spaceship of a track. The bassline bumps away beautifully, an acidic squiggle burbles around the mid- range and the synth melody dances around on top.  There's an alternate version too, the Rule Six Glitterball Mix, which makes it all sleeker. 

The Machine Soul's Engineered State is at out now on Paisley Dark, the original mix plus four remixes. This one, the UFO Club Remix, gets down to brass tacks immediately, with thumping kick drum, bubbling bass, twinkling melody lines and a serious acid/ techno edge. 

The original mix is a winner too, hitting in from the off and building, insistent and hypnotic synth sounds, repetitive, entrancing dark cosmic disco- it and the other remixes (courtesy of Hogt I Tak, Ian Vale and Jay-Son) can be found at Bandcamp

Tuesday 11 July 2023

Setting Sun

Whitelands are a four piece signed to Sonic Cathedral whose releases are always worth looking out for. This came out at the end of June, a 10" single on orange vinyl with three remixes, two by AR Kane and one by howdogirlssleep (Michael Adelaja). The AR Kane remixes are dubby affairs, dub bass and FX, voices echoing into infinity and isolated guitar parts. The shorter of the pair is Setting Sun (Initiation Dub), a track that plays havoc with the speakers in my car- at two minutes fifteen a wobbly, tremelo guitar riff kicks in, AR Kane's dreampop/ shoegaze sound perfected. Experimental music that comes at the listener through a haze, beautifully produced and with a serious bottom end.  

The EP can be bought at Bandcamp- all three remixes are worth checking out, the AR Kane pair especially so. Michael Adelaja's remix marries shoegaze with drum 'n' bass, successfully. AR Kane are about to have their trio of late 80s/ early 90s albums re- issued, 69, ''i'' and New Clear Drop, all three scheduled for an early September release, and I'll come back to them and those three albums nearer the time. 

Monday 10 July 2023

Monday's Long Song

Red Guitars, an independent guitar band from Hull from 1982 through to 1987, released an indie chart topper in 1983, the slow burning thump and ringing guitars of Good Technology. Led by singer Jerry Kidd's distinctive voice, the single nailed life in the modern world- Thatcher's Britain, their anti- corporate stance and the promise that new technology would improve everyone's lives, with the double edged emptiness of that promise. 

'We've got photographs of men on the moon
We've got water that is good for us
We've got coffee that's instantaneous
We've got buildings that are very tall
We've got cigarettes that are low in tar
We've got policemen who can tell us who we are
We can reproduce a work of art
We've got missiles can tear the world apart
Good, good, good, good, good, good technology'

If these things were true in 1983 they're arguably even more true now in 2023. To celebrate the fortieth anniversary of this single Red Guitars are releasing a nine minute extended version on red vinyl. The new video for Good Technology merges the group then and now, updating them and the song for the 21st century. 

The video finishes with a fade to black and a quote from 17th century activist and reformer Gerrard Winstanley, again as true now as it was in 1647. 

'Was the earth made to preserve a few covetous, proud men to live at ease, and for them to bag and barn up the treasures of the Earth from others, that these may beg or starve in a fruitful land; or was it made  to preserve all her children?'

This is Gerrard Winstanley's second appearance at these pages, one more than Red Guitars who haven't appeared before which is odd- I was certain I'd posted Good Technology previously but apparently not. 

This song was a B-side to a re- release of Good Technology from 1984. 

Paris France

Sunday 9 July 2023

Half An Hour Of The Clash Edited, Sampled And Remixed

The Clash, remixed, edited and sampled for a thirty three minute blast of Strummer/ Jones energy and invention for your Sunday morning delectation. Best played loud. 

Half An Hour Of The Clash Edited, Sampled And Remixed 

  • Return To Brixton (SW2 Dub)
  • Dancing (Not Fighting)
  • Rock The Spectre (Peza Edit)
  • Magnificent Dub (Leo Zero Edit)
  • I'm Not Down (Hold Your Head Up)
  • Davis Road Blues (Don Letts Culture Clash Radio Version)
In 1990 The Clash had a number one single eight years after they split up (for the purposes of this we'll take Mick being sacked from the band as the actual moment they split up even though the five man Clash rumbled on for two years with a largely unloved album and a busking tour that those involved seemed to enjoy). Should I Stay Or Should I Go went to number one and saw a surge in Clash related activity, one of which was the record company CBS reissuing Paul's 1979 song Guns Of Brixton in remixed form as Return To Brixton. The remixes of Return To Brixton, three of them on the 12", were done by DJ Jeremy Healy.

Edit: it occurs to me now that the re- issue/ remixes of Guns Of Brixton were in response to the bassline being sampled for Norman Cook's chart topping single Dub Be Good To Me as Beats International, number one in January 1990. 

Dancing Not Fighting came out last year, a thumping, beat driven, high octane Jezebell release that  samples Mick Jones screaming at bouncers in the film Rude Boy, trying to get them to stop beating up Clash fans. The band disowned the film by the time it came out but the live footage of the band is among the finest committed to tape by anyone, anywhere. Here they are in July 1978 doing (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais at the Glasgow Apollo. 

This seven minute clip has them powering through Complete Control, Safe European Home and What's My Name at the Music Machine in Camden a few weeks later. 

Rock The Spectre is a Peza edit, what happens when the Strummer and Jones vocals from Rock The Casbah are played over Mystic Thug's Brocken Spectre (Mystic Thug is Tici Taci's Duncan Gray). What happens is you get the song completely recast in a new light, reborn, Mick and Joe's voices over a throbbing piece of slinky 2023 chug. Joe's vocal particularly shows he gave absolutely everything in the studio. 

Magnificent Dub is a Leo Zero edit, the Magnificent Dance (a B-side to the Magnificent 7 single, released in 1981, inspired by the band's time in New York and Mick especially being taken with the brand new hip hop culture). Some of the vocals Leo throws into this edit are from the band playing live at Bonds, Times Square and various people having a go at the bassline ((played originally by Norman Watt- Roy when Simonon was out of town filming The Fabulous Stains). Leo also inserts some sections from the unreleased, unofficial Larry Levan version of Mag 7. 

In 2005 when mash up culture was the big new thing a whole host of artists/ bedroom bootleggers threw everything they had at a completely remixed, re- edited and mashed up version of the album London Calling. The Clash found themselves (unofficially) rubbing shoulders with The Streets, Peaches, Vanilla Ice, Chuck D, Outkast and host of others sampled artists. It was massive fun. E-jitz took Mick's 1979 album track I'm Not Down and spliced it with the vocal from Boris Dlugosch's speed house track from 1997, Hold Your Head Up (vocal courtesy of Inaya Davis).

Davis Road Blues is a dub track by Prince Blanco with Mick's guitar from B.A.D.'s The Bottom Line and Joe's voice from a radio interview describing his first meeting with Mick and Paul that led to the formation of The Clash, a meeting that took place at 22 Davis Road, Shepherd's Bush (in a squat Paul shared with Sid Vicious and Viv Albertine).

Edit: the squat at 22 Davis Road has appreciated in value since the 1970s, as you'd expect. According to Rightmove 23 Davis Road was sold in 2018 for £480, 000 (that was just half the property, a ground floor two bedroom flat). Full houses on Davis Road, number 43 for example, go for around £840, 000 (2022 price). The 2020s version of Paul, Viv and Sidney must be living elsewhere.  

Saturday 8 July 2023

Saturday Live

Spacemen 3 had a relatively brief existence and unless you were there from the start by the time you'd read about them in the NME or Melody Maker, seen them on Snub TV, picked up 1989's Playing With Fire and then begun to find other pieces of vinyl by them, they were gone. By the time of 1991's Recurring album it was over for the group, Jason and Sonic Boom/ Pete recording separately, one side of the album each. 

This footage on the internet is one of the few recordings of their gigs that exist, an hour of Spacemen 3 live at The Forum in Enger, Germany in 1989, transferred from VHS. 

The setlist is prime '89 S3, opening with their cover of The 13th Floor Elevators and then their cover of Red Krayola's Transparent Radiation, Sonic Boom on Vox Teardrop and fuzz, drummer Jon Mattock banging away, Jason brining his Velvet gospel Underground and bassist Will Carruthers locked in with both notes (his book Playing The Bass With Three Left Hands is a must read). This footage is grainy, close up and full of what made them great. 

Rollercoaster Transparent Radiation Things'll Never Be The Same Repeater (Break) Take Me To The Other Side Starship (intro) Starship Revolution Suicide Bo Diddley Jam

A Spacemen 3 Live In Europe came out in 1995, live recordings taken from four nights in Germany. Live, loose, ragged late 80s garage psychedelia.

Rollercoaster (Live In Europe 1989)

Revolution (Live In Europe 1989)

Take Me To The Other Side (Live in Europe 1989)

Friday 7 July 2023

Weatherall Remix Seven

This Friday series of Andrew Weatherall remixes has focussed so far on lesser known ones from either the 2010s or early 90s. Today I'm heading into 1996, a world where Andrew had moved on sonic miles from his much loved early remixes and after the Sabres Of Paradise years had moved into dustier and murkier waters. At this point, Andrew's sound was about finesse and purism, drilling further and deeper. The Two Lone Swordsmen sound had begun to coalesce, a marriage of techno, electro and downtempo. Before the full on six sides of electro/ bass vinyl of 2000's Tiny Reminders, the years 1996- '98 saw him and Keith Tenniswood brew up a stoned, underwater sound, some hip hop influences in the drums, the space of dub and their own approach to loops, samples and static. Their remixes from this period are low key, sombre and full of detail and very rewarding 

Alter Ego were Roman Flugel and Jorn Elling Wuttke, from Darmstadt, Germany. Andrew and Keith provided two remixes of Mescal, a seven minute remix and a shorter dub. The dub has springs, bubbles, sonar, tapping hi hats and then the deep thump of timpani. A mournful synth line starts to weave a path on top and then a female vocal part, a hum more than singing, drifts by. The breakbeat kicks in eventually. 

Mescal (TLS Dub)

There are a couple of Two Lone Swordsmen remixes from this period that fit very well with this one- Starsailor's Good Souls and Calexico's Virus Style both have a similar feel and the submerged, underwater, ambient/ techno TLS sound would be taken to a beautiful peak (or depth maybe) on 1998's Stay Down album. 

Thursday 6 July 2023

All In Good Time

Belfast's Black Bones are riding a wave at the moment, the DJ/ production duo firing out releases on various labels, their dark psychedelic/ dub/ techno/ house sound perfect for this time of year. Their latest release is a two track EP led by All In Good Time, a five minute percussive monster, all bass and tough drums, unexpectedly joined by a wailing, James Chance- esque sax. There's lots of dub space in the track's production but with the energy of early 80s New York. I like this a lot- it never quite does what you expect it to and that's always a good thing.

The flipside is Pressure Point, a dubbier cut with a very low slung rhythm and more of that saxophone, some helicopter noises, muffled voices and odd bursts of shaker. It's out now on Optimo, people who know a good tune when they hear one, and available at Bandcamp

Previously Black Bones have released singes on Hoga Nord, Touch Sensitive and their own self- titled label. Earlier this year they put out a four track EP on Dust Down which came with this cowbell heavy Chicago jack house edit, Coming On Strong, a track that sounds like a strobe light looks. The entire four track EP is a winner. Get it here

Nairobi Night Train, out a year ago on Gothenburg's always excellent Hoga Nord, kicks and thumps and twists, again never following the formula- and all the better for it. Black Bones are over this side of the Irish sea next week with gigs in Liverpool, Todmorden and London. 

Wednesday 5 July 2023

Simon Says

Dickie Continental's album Un.. came out on Acid Jazz in April this year and has become one of my favourites from this year so far, Rich Thair's excursion into dub, trip hop and atmospherics sounding good in all kinds of settings. Rich has released the track Simon Says in a new form, the Congagong Rework, with congas and hand drums leading the way- it takes the song somewhere else, to festivals and the outdoors sounding like it could go head to head on a stage with ACR and African Head Charge. Get it digitally here- well worth every penny. 

Tuesday 4 July 2023


Manchester International Festival opened on Friday night with a free performance by A Certain Ratio in a brand new outdoor space, Festival Square. The new arts centre, Factory International, has been under construction for several years (on the site of the old Granada TV studios) and has run wildly over budget. As a result they've had to go for naming rights sponsorship so what should have been Factory International is now The Aviva Factory International (and we could discuss whether Manchester needs to get over its constant referencing of the past, Factory Records, the black and yellow Hacienda stripes and all of that). As Tony Wilson probably never actually said, 'This is Manchester. We do things differently here'. Well, maybe... 

The outdoor space, Festival Square, sensibly has a roof, is open at both sides and overlooks the River Irwell to the left and into the new arts centre to the right (a vast building with a warehouse size space and auditorium and is currently hosting what looks like a fantastic installation by Yayoi Kusama). Festival Square looks and feels like a good space, the sound was good, it's small enough to feel fairly intimate and opened in the pouring rain on Friday night, the decision to build an outdoor gig venue with a roof paying off already. The free gigs at festival Square include The Orielles next Sunday which I also intend to go to. Dave Haslam is heavily involved in the festival and he asked ACR to play. 

ACR play a blinder, a band about to celebrate forty five years of making music, who have been re- energised in recent years with the signing of a deal with Mute, new albums and EPs and the recruitment of a new young singer Ellen Beth Abdi and new young bassist Viv Griffin. They take the stage at 9pm with Martin on drums, drummer Don on bass and Jez centre stage on vox and whistle. Don published the setlist on Twitter (below), the group playing a mix of old and new songs, the new ones firmly established along side the older songs. By the time they get to Flight, their 1980 single and post- punk classic, they're red hot and their back catalogue sounds like one continuous piece, a group with several signature sounds, ever moving forwards and better than ever. 

The final four songs are ACR at their best, the wayward jazz funk of Mickey Way, the Mancunian ecstasy pop of Won't Stop Loving You (dedicated to Denise), the punk- funk noir of Shack Up and their latin percussion and drumfest of Si Firmir O Grido, everyone banging something, whistles being blown and Don and Martin swapping places at the drum stool and then back again. The gig was being filmed, a cameraman bobbing about on stage- hopefully the footage will surface sooner or later. 

The Big E

Afterwards Dave Haslam took over on stage, a DJ set of dance music old and new, joined periodically by a pair of very glamourous dancers and an MC. Dave's set included Strings Of Life, a Manc classic going back to the Hacienda days. Dave built the tension, a breakdown and everyone waiting for the piano riff to come in like a dam bursting. Later on he played something much more modern, something I know I've got but can't remember exactly what it was now, stretching it out and extending the electronic pleasure. Somehow, a largish crowd of middle aged and younger people, dancing as the rain fell only a few feet away, with dancers in drag on the stage, seemed a typically, brilliantly Mancunian way to start a hometown festival. 

Strings Of Life (Piano Mix)