Author Topic: 50th Anniversary Tour - Band On The Wall, Manchester, 14th September  (Read 8679 times)

Jules

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Take two (take one, after an hour and 30 of typing, got deleted irretrievably following a careless keypress. Author currently spitting feathers :o).

If you see this post, I haven't finished re-typing yet.
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Allan Heron

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Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - Band On The Wall, Manchester, 14th September
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2018, 04:14:50 PM »
Take two (take one, after an hour and 30 of typing, got deleted irretrievably following a careless keypress. Author currently spitting feathers :o).

If you see this post, I haven't finished re-typing yet.

Quoted for posterity 😉
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Jules

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Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - Band On The Wall, Manchester, 14th September
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2018, 04:26:17 PM »
I haven't quite got to grips with the technology yet. I blame "admin".  ;D
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Jules

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Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - Band On The Wall, Manchester, 14th September
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2018, 06:13:47 PM »
Short version  ;)

Not somewhere I've visited before, Band On The Wall, on the outskirts of Manchester city centre, is a popular and well-organised venue which I'd certainly be happy to enjoy again. A good sized music room; a low, wide albeit slightly shallow stage; strong lighting; all plus points. From my chosen vantage point front-left of stage, the sound balance was poor though, with vocals far too low in the mix, Shane's drums dominating, while Malcolm was often inaudible. I'd be interested to hear what others in different parts of the room thought.

Bar prices at city levels as you'd expect, what with Manchester being a city and all. We do have them up here, north of the M1/M6 interchange. Venue staff were pleasant and helpful. Security very evident, largely as a result of the city's bad experiences over recent years, and not predominantly because Man crowds have such a notorious history of violent behaviour if Bananas isn't played, or if Belgian policemen interject themselves in an unwelcome manner.

The audience was somewhere in the region of 80-120 people, I didnt run a precise survey. We were busy without being cramped. I was pleased to see a few familiar faces, but perhaps it was even more comforting to see so many I didnt recognise. Later reactions to the show confirmed that we were here specifically to see Man, this wasnt just a Friday night in Manchester crowd. 

How would the current line-up be settling in after the first few dates on this 50th Anniversary tour? Alright?

Certainly.

Time was tight, a maximum 90 minute slot from 8:30 to 10:00, as most Manchester venues transform from live shows to DJ oriented club scenes for the late show crowd. Still, security were present, so thats ok. It meant we saw a set rather truncated from the Half Moon, Putney experience.

No And In The Beginning tonight, so straight into Sudden Life. Josh taking lead vocals on this one. From their first album Revelation, this is one of the songs that established the template for the best Man music over the next five years. Its a sum of many parts: strong lead riffs; simple dismissive lyrics (youre playing with fire but I dont really care) over equally simple but effective chord structures; unexpected key and tempo changes; huge mood swings between the verses and the guitar solos; atmospheric keyboards swirling and bending reality in the background. A big cheer from the crowd signalled that this was indeed what we wanted to hear.
 
Mad On Her An inimitable Martin song, wrapping up a high-calorie slice of commercial pop inside the greasy wrapper of a familiar Manband stomp. Great vocal harmonies from all (except the audience, we were crap  ;) ). James casually throws in one of Mickys great off-the-wall solos, all bends, whammy bar and complete and utter disregard for the changes.

Romain Retelling the tale of Martins unwanted engagement with a Belgian policeman of that name. A not quite 12-bar blues arrangement designed to catch out the unwary. Josh takes the first verse and first solo. Martin sings the rest as it is, after all is said and done, his story. James plays the second solo, starting on slide and finishing without. The closing section showcases the dual-guitar attack, with James and Josh using different but equally effective intervals than those which Micky and Deke employed in times gone by.
   
C'mon taken at a blistering pace, perhaps even faster than the Pugwash years, so think Friday 14th rather than Friday 13th. Cmon has been through so many evolutions since 1972, its proven to be a timeless classic. Worth more than even 6 or 7 shorter, but less multi-dimensional, songs (Joan, I hear you, but disagree  :) ), it takes you away to places in the imagination others cannot lead you to. This is about the music, not the song. From the opening making noises section (comment copyright R. Leonard, circa 1975), James leads in with a delay-light version of the spacy arpeggio that sets the scene. Everybody helps build the stage, until James slips into the diminished Cm riff which forms the backbone to the vocal section. The audience, either in recognition or respect of the intro, raise a huge cheer. We all know the double thump which signals the end of the intro and the start of the song. This is a Man crowd. Josh and James predominate on the verses, a headlong rush until we hit the big switch into the more reflective middle section. Malcolm steps up with his first synth solo of the night, with bends and modulations aplenty, James takes up the baton during the (unsung) Aahs section and continues in a similar vein before closing the section with a few Call Down The Moon phrases. The transition back into the vocal section is a tricky one, executed with grace and confidence tonight (Yes, I know: I met Grace, but Confidence wouldnt speak to me). Another headlong rush through the closing verses, and then a glorious leap over the cliff-edge of the finish. A tour de force.
 
Manor Farm Written largely by Josh, Manor Farm is Spunk Rock pt2 using a similar arrangement but with different riffs, chord structures and lyrics of course. Youll get what I mean when you hear it, either live, or from the limited tour edition Mojo Train EP or from next Springs new album release. After the show Martin described Joshs approach when offering the song for the first time as being Here, this one sounds a bit like Man, why dont we try it? A bit like Man counts as the understatement of the year so far. If you like early-seventies Man, then this is probably what you like.
 
The Holy Flames Of Freedom A second new song which has the unmistakeable early Man stamp on it. I had been out of the room last week when this was played so, other than the EP, this was the first time I heard it. In many respects it bridges the substantial gap between Revelation and Reanimated Memories, echoes of both Neolithic and Recent Man being present. For me tonights performance was hampered by the poor vocal mix, being buried too deeply under the instruments. It does feature another of Martins more preacher-man lyrics though, Where were you when they lit the holy flames of freedom? Actually, I may well have been at home listening to be Good To Yourself At Least Once A Day. Much depends on when they were lit.  ;D.

Blown Away At last Ive heard it played live all the way through! I know I only had to wait a week, while others had to wait for a few decades. Malcolm steps out of the shadows and into the spotlight centre stage. His delicate touch on acoustic guitar, a Lowden I believe, and his quiet passion in the vocals are wonderful. Blown Away perfectly illustrates the influence Man had on Help Yourself, and the influence the Helps had on Man during the All Good Clean Fun period. Blown Away changes gear several times during the few minutes its with us. A joy.

Spunk Rock Ok, I was going crazy last week, but not quite the way I thought I was going crazy. At the Half Moon I convinced myself I had heard Would The Christians Wait Five Minutes, The Lions Are Having A Draw, but I hadnt. What I had heard, and mistook for something else, was a few quotes from Alchemist which soon morphed into the outstanding performance of the night, in the shape of Spunk Rock. James is all over this one, taking the lead vocals and all the lead guitar work. The current arrangement is closest to the original release on 2ozs, so maybe should be regarded as Spunk Box rather than the Spunk Rock it soon evolved into live. Mickys panic-stricken original vocal has been softened by James, whose voice is in a similar register, but the lyrics follow the same melody and structure. The changes are all very familiar. After 49 years of road testing they should be. The lead riffs are engrained in Man DNA, but again here James and Josh play the unison parts with a different interval, which bring them out really clearly and distinctly. The boys have been practising. When I say James is all over this song, what I mean is he owns it. Ive never heard better guitar playing on this song from any guitarist in Man, and Ive heard them all (except Pugwash, which probably doesnt count :) ).

Bananas a staple. For those in need of a diet rich in potassium, look no further. While much of Mans repertoire over the years has been earnest and in some cases quite lead-footed, Bananas is not in that category. Its supposed to be light and funny, disrespectful and engaging. Every really great rendition of Bananas is different to all others. I remember with joy how in his finest years Micky would throw in a few jazz-chord variations into the middle sections, or slip a woodpecker impersonation into his delay-rich cameos after the first verses and before Deke led the rest of the band back in. Little touches, little changes, new delights. Thats what we got. James is taking a similarly adventurous approach and, for me, is where the real heart of Man currently resides. Hes not simply repeating what Micky played but, more importantly, is playing the way Micky played.
 
As time was restricted, we were not going to get an encore, so Martin just advised us we would be treated to one last big song. Many Are Called, But Few Get Up.    Ive told you this before, its my favourite Man song and I can speak no more highly than this on anything. It has everything and more. Nearly perfect tonight, all the spiky riffs and tricky changes, abrupt guttural stops in the vocals, weird noisy bits, were all played with distinction. Malcolms take on Dekes bacon and eggs solo not the easiest thing to emulate on keyboards - brought a huge smile to my face. You dont realise how much you miss certain things until youre reminded of them. The one glitch? Shane, through an excess of enthusiasm no doubt, hit the first snare crack of the closing crescendo a second before everyone else was ready for it. Wages are being docked I presume.

We did try for an encore, a valiant effort from everyone who was there, but it was not to be. 
« Last Edit: September 15, 2018, 06:22:05 PM by Jules »
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Rob W

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Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - Band On The Wall, Manchester, 14th September
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2018, 06:19:29 PM »
Well, Martin Ace and Man appearing in M/cr is about the closest you can get to them performing in my front room with me in my bedroom. Would I be there?

No!

But then the unexpected happened. Malcolm Morley was doing the tour. In the sole word of one of his self penned songs, 'Perfect'.

So, for me, the day of the gig began about 3pm when we met for a chat. Earlier in the day, unexpectedly he asked is it ok for Martin to come along as well? Obviously. Martin didnt know who he was meeting. Weve had 2 run ins.
In short, a convivial meeting. Of course I shoehorned into conversations our previous lets say misunderstandings, and that next week Im in London seeing Son of Man, but fair play, Martin didnt rise to the bait. Indeed, he was pleasantness personified. Made even more pleasant when he agreed with Malcolm who suggested I go on the Guest List. And my Partner, and asked if there was anybody else. There was then a quid pro pro. Malcolm had declined my offer to stay over as going straight back to London, could Shane? Of course he could.

Onto the gig itself. Venue: Excellent. A real venue with a proper stage, a proper sound, not the glorified toilets Man used to play in the NW post 1983. Start time: A respectable 8.30pm. None of this starting after 10pm, going on until after midnight, crowd dwindles, were all knackered. Crowd: Between 70 and 100. Much more than I expected, and the noise generated could have been double that. Setlist: I suppose as previous gigs, although a ai truncated set due to the 10.30pm disco! Fairly representative of the 50 years. Special mention to blistering performances of Spunk Rock, Bananas, C'mon, and MACBFGU. The band: Firstly may I say, those who say this band doesnt represent Man, thats respectfully, rubbish. Martin Ace and Malcolm Morley as 2 pre 76 members. And Josh Ace I say is counted, being the son of Martin in the same way I was chuffed to bits for George, son of Micky. And when I saw a bloke's tshirt exclaiming SAHB tour 2004, well that is a liberty.

But nothing is perfect. The 2 new songs were really poor. Three Blind Mice is the new Kangaroo. I could hear Pete Tuck squirming! As good as James Beck is, there is none of the classic Man twin guitar interplay of DL and MJ. A big miss. And Shane subsequently didnt need to stay over, which was a shame. And despite the enthusiastic crowd, my previous visits to this venue have significantly bigger numbers in attendance. It was a little flat, there wasnt the atmosphere of a Band On The Wall gig

In summary, a very good gig, Unsure of what Josh brings to the party, but the others are very good. Not to be biased, but Malcolm was the undoubted star of the evening. Fabulous keyboards throughout, a most accomplished acoustic guitar playing, voice as good as ever. Blown Away the high spot.
Will I see Man again? Only if Malcolm is playing, or there is some other seismic change





Allan Heron

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Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - Band On The Wall, Manchester, 14th September
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2018, 06:33:15 PM »
I'm immediately forming a band called The Unsung Aahs. With a name like that the sky's the limit 😉

I can see that you lost And In The Beginning and A Hard Way To Live - what about Chimes At Midnight and Manillo? (Not mentioned so may have been played).

I'm associating Manor Farm more with Love Your Life rather than Spunk Rock, although there is a rather incestuous relationship between the two.

Spunk Rock was outstanding on Tuesday night as well, as was C'Mon. The band very much oozing the spirit of 1971 and 1972 very well indeed.

I'd like to hope that there's more gigs in January/February over and above the Borderline gig.
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Allan Heron

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Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - Band On The Wall, Manchester, 14th September
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2018, 06:38:06 PM »
And an addendum........if there's a 10 o'clock curfew, why not go on at 8 o'clock to avoid the need to shorten the set?
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Rob W

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Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - Band On The Wall, Manchester, 14th September
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2018, 07:28:47 PM »
And an addendum........if there's a 10 o'clock curfew, why not go on at 8 o'clock to avoid the need to shorten the set?

Presumably to cater for the support band?

Re your question about other gigs. Mr Ace said there were a few lined up. Didn't mention any in Scotland. Did confirm the Flowerpot, Derby.


Rob W

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Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - Band On The Wall, Manchester, 14th September
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2018, 07:42:38 PM »
And an addendum to my report earlier. Subsequently reading Jules's post, yes, Josh's voice was low in the mix on the right hand side. Noticed it at the time. The last time I saw Josh play with Man, years ago, understandably at the time, he was unsure of himself, taking a real back seat, frankly I wondered if it was the same. He doesn't demonstrate a stage presence.  The sound for Malcolm's singing I found fine.

Within my post, I purposely did not compare Man to SoM. I will not here. Interesting to note both bands play the same pre 76 Man songs. Devil's advocate here, but does that signify with those exceptions, pre 76 Man output was not really that strong?

Jules

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Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - Band On The Wall, Manchester, 14th September
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2018, 08:13:20 PM »
I'm immediately forming a band called The Unsung Aahs. With a name like that the sky's the limit 😉

I can see that you lost And In The Beginning and A Hard Way To Live - what about Chimes At Midnight and Manillo? (Not mentioned so may have been played).

I'm associating Manor Farm more with Love Your Life rather than Spunk Rock, although there is a rather incestuous relationship between the two.

Spunk Rock was outstanding on Tuesday night as well, as was C'Mon. The band very much oozing the spirit of 1971 and 1972 very well indeed.

I'd like to hope that there's more gigs in January/February over and above the Borderline gig.
Chimes and Manillo weren't played (which didn't trouble me too much), nor Too Much Too Soon, or Hard Way To Live (which I was more disappointed about). Will The Christians Wait Five Minutes, The Lions Are Having A Draw didn't get an airing either, which I was devastated about.

Kinross on Feb 1st is now confirmed, plus Giants Of Rock at Minehead on Jan 27th. If more are announced, you probably won't get to hear about it here first :)

I get more of a link between Mojo Yatakken and Love Your Life, but it's all a matter of perception I feel. The early seventies influence is strong and clear, the details less so. Apparently there's a hidden meaning in the Mojo Yatakken title. I've not been smart enough to figure it out yet.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2018, 08:26:45 PM by Jules »
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Jules

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Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - Band On The Wall, Manchester, 14th September
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2018, 08:24:25 PM »
And an addendum to my report earlier. Subsequently reading Jules's post, yes, Josh's voice was low in the mix on the right hand side. Noticed it at the time. The last time I saw Josh play with Man, years ago, understandably at the time, he was unsure of himself, taking a real back seat, frankly I wondered if it was the same. He doesn't demonstrate a stage presence.  The sound for Malcolm's singing I found fine.

Within my post, I purposely did not compare Man to SoM. I will not here. Interesting to note both bands play the same pre 76 Man songs. Devil's advocate here, but does that signify with those exceptions, pre 76 Man output was not really that strong?

Yep, Josh's stage presence is worthy of development. I accept that he's concentrating on his playing. We're an audience that can be hard to please sometimes and often (guilty) far too analytical. However, engaging with the audience is important, and a smile never hurts, unless imbued with sarcasm. I loved his guitar playing, much more confident, clean and authorative than in previous tours, but still in a supporting role. I didn't spot any errors from that side of the stage (or from Malcolm either, but I couldn't hear him unfortunately). There were a few minor blemishes in the midfield though.

The few solos Josh took, and the Deke parts he played were all technically fine, but too low in the mix to jump out. Same with his vocals. Too low. If you didn't know the songs already, you wouldn't have learned them on this performance.

My son Matt did tell me that the sound stage right was very different to that stage left. I guess the desk jockies may have over compensated for the back line.   
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Rob W

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Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - Band On The Wall, Manchester, 14th September
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2018, 08:59:09 PM »
And two more points of interest, for me anyway.

Lovely to see on stage the reverence shown to Malcolm. James Beck in particular, but unbelievably, from Martin Ace as well, and smiles from Shane Dixon.

Anda maybe of note to Jules. For a long time I've banged on about Man and Martin Ace as 'leader' in particular, not having anything to do with the Manband Archive the official unofficial Man website. Well, in our pre match meet, I brought this up, asked why he has nothing to do with it, the benefits if he does, and so on. Similar to our tete a tete at the Witchwood many years previous, we went to and fro, and although I won the Battle of The Witchwood handsomely, this time, though my reference to this is marketing at its simplest, I feel got me a last minute winner, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt by saying we fought out an honourable draw.  :)

happytrails

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Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - Band On The Wall, Manchester, 14th September
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2018, 09:20:00 PM »
Nothing like a good draw....

happytrails

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Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - Band On The Wall, Manchester, 14th September
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2018, 09:27:25 PM »
They ain't the same without Micky,Deke ' n ' co but the music is there to be enjoyed..I certainly did and out of 250 I wasn't alone. Skin up ,chill ' n ' enjoy whilst yer can.

Allan Heron

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Re: 50th Anniversary Tour - Band On The Wall, Manchester, 14th September
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2018, 12:23:00 AM »
And two more points of interest, for me anyway.

Lovely to see on stage the reverence shown to Malcolm. James Beck in particular, but unbelievably, from Martin Ace as well, and smiles from Shane Dixon.

Anda maybe of note to Jules. For a long time I've banged on about Man and Martin Ace as 'leader' in particular, not having anything to do with the Manband Archive the official unofficial Man website. Well, in our pre match meet, I brought this up, asked why he has nothing to do with it, the benefits if he does, and so on. Similar to our tete a tete at the Witchwood many years previous, we went to and fro, and although I won the Battle of The Witchwood handsomely, this time, though my reference to this is marketing at its simplest, I feel got me a last minute winner, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt by saying we fought out an honourable draw.  :)

Whilst I think 'respect' is a better word than 'reverence', I'm really not sure why you should find the idea that Martin should display whichever 're....' we want to use with any surprise.  Why would you expect him not to? 

I suspect the use of this forum as a marketing tool is extremly limited.  I reckon everyone who posts on here knows exactly what's going on.  Facebook will give them a much wider reach - 3,852 people following the official FB page (as well as other groups although there will be considerable overlap) rather puts this forum's 149 members in the shade somewhat.  We are a perfectly formed 149, but still........
It's Just My View

Information is not knowledge
Knowledge is not wisdom
Wisdom is not truth
Truth is not beauty
Beauty is not love
Love is not music
Music is THE BEST........