Manchester how are ya?

hdqgig

The excitable youngster inside me is full of enthusiasm as i face the day. An early flight to Manchester for a day of fanzine shopping, record shop Hunting and plenty of vegan food. And that’s just the daylight hours. After sunset it will be of to Bolton for HDQ, Southport, stay clean jolene and holiday

I first saw HDQ in mcgonagles, Dublin, playing with Joyce mckinney experience in 1988. It was an exciting time as here were bands that had a sound rooted in u.s. hardcore music playing to us dublin folk. Back in the 80s our exposure to culture outside ireland was pretty limited. Yep there were some record shops and we could get the uk music press but it needed to be sought out. Nothing could be accessed from the comfort of your own home. We were thrilled that Joyce McKinney experience were playing because one of their members used to help bands organise tours. We sat there sponge like as gigs spoke of music. HDQ ‘s sound was familiar to some of us who had heard it from Cassettes that were posted to us. They had the energy and as their singer bounded around the large stage of mcgonagles it helped open our eyes. Educational in many ways.

Soon after they played a band appeared from England with all that energy in their sound but a tightness that was new to us all. There were tunes everywhere but full on attack and gusto that band were called snuff and it was an honour to see them play. Their “not listening anymore” 7″ was the first I rooted out when I replaced my record player last year and got my 3 kids to listen to. They looked on slightly bemused as their manic parents went crazy with the sugar coated riff. And snuff came and went but not after releasing some classic records. They have (not so) recently returned but Simon wells the guitarist has moved on to other bands through the 21st century. One such band is southport. The guitar sound is less beefy but that soul punk influence is strongly evident. Last years Southern Soul was one of the records of the year.

Another record of the year was stay clean jolenes 7″ . Taking a sound that was mastered by husked du its layers of guitar over some great tunes.

Stay clean jolenes single was a split release between 4 labels which is the way holiday released their record too it makes sense, unity is strength. Holidays songs are about the world we live in and what we can do to make it better. I’m on their side.

And so I arrived in Manchester with dreams of days gone by. My first trip to a gig in the uk was the three johns in Leeds. I enjoyed myself so much I stayed an extra night and got to see big black, ut and the dust devils. I travelled over on my own but never felt alone once music was on the agenda. It’s the same today as I sit on the train, ironically it is the Blackpool train that I get on. The train would bring me to my favourite football team should I choose to stay on. I could travel to the land of my childhood holidays. It is tempting, very very tempting but I hold off. Better planning would have ensured I saw the seasiders but maybe next time eh?

Instead I get off at deansgate and take the short walk to hulme park and to the teatime vegan collective Tea time collective
Nestled snugly in hulme park is this vegan collective. Full selection of veg burgers and sandwiches. If you’re searching out a macrobiotic diet then you’ve taken a wrong turn. However if homemade vegan ice cream, chocolate cake and fries with your food excited you then make the trip here. 10 minute walk from the train station so at least you can walk off some of that food after you eat.
A converted container with heat and seats provides most of the instore seating. Great, really great and well worth your support I had mint chic chip milkshake , choc cake preceded by huge sandwich and fries.

I am full to the brim but its important to support the shops that are important so I venture to eight day on Oxford road. I couldn’t eat any if their great vegan fare and had to ignore their good selection of cakes to accompany my vegan milk shake. I did sneak a takeaway but that was in my forward planning stakes for tonight.

And then it was of to northern Quarter for some record shopping. Vinyl exchange is just like record and tape exchange in London used to be. Always something to pick up. Johnny takeaway works in rockers so it had to be a quick hello to them. Thought they’d have more zines and records. In fact places for zines are thin on the ground. Eastern bloc used to be a Mecca for them but then it closed moved and reopened in a slimmed down fashion. If its coffee and dance music you want then pop down to stevensons square. Picadilly records ihas a small selection, maybe people aren’t putting them in shops anymore?

V revolution is up there with tea time collective. Vegan burgers and hot dogs along with milkshakes to rock along to the hardcore music on offer its not dissimilar to ssov in London but it sells records so that gives it kudos. Not many records though, it’d be great to have a wider selection. Heartening to see it was really busy.

And then to the main course, tonight’s gig

My early concerns that this gig would go on until mid Sunday morning were allured when i was told that although dog and partridge had a 4am curfew the last were were due on at 10.45. My sort if gig

Obviously I had travelled over to this gig so I was expecting something good but really it was special. Holidays 7″ fell into the shadow of stay clean jolene, circumstances dictated that as I got them both on the same day. They will forever be linked. They do have some tunes, some quality. First thing i will do when I get home is root out the 7″. It is ridiculous how many good songs were on how tonight. 100 people packed into the dog and partridge and we were all honoured to be there. Don’t know if everyone felt that way but if they didn’t they’re missing out.

It’s soaring guitars, heartfelt tunes and an integrity that can’t be made up. We are lucky to have bands like stay clean jolene. Lucky they want to continue to play music to 100 people and lucky they feel lucky to do so. Southport the same. They are incredible. 3 people having fun playing to their friends, regardless if they know them or not. Such talent, criminally ignored but whilst it is that way we can still cling on to them.

As for HDQ, it was hard to follow those three bands and I couldn’t get stranded in Bolton. I got three songs and the energy is still there after all this time.

After a train and a bus u finally got my head down for some rest. 20 hours after my journey started and will recommence with the final leg home after 4 hours sleep. I out my head on the pillow thankful that these people are playing music and lucky to know about them

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