A Certain Ratio – Band On The Wall, Manchester 11/11/11

Having a 331/3 party is a great idea (I never got around to it but I did have one when 45). ACR have entered their 4th decade as a band on good form (check out 2008’s ‘Mind Made Up’ LP) and tonight’s show saw them reviewing their career over 2 sets in chronological order.

Lee and I dropped the kids off at mum+dads and eventually found a place to park in Manchester City Centre near the Band on the Wall. This was our first time since the venue has been done up and re-opened and it won’t be the last!  We got in just as ACR took the stage with the drumless ‘All night Party’ with original member Simon Topping taking on the vocals once again – great to see him again!

We’re then treated to the likes of ‘Shack Up’, ‘Flight’, Knife slits water’…etc. What a back catalogue! There’s a Q+A at half time including questions fans had posted on their Facebook page. Matin put up his hand written notes of early gigs, how much they got paid and how many people were there – “Sad!” said Jez with a little shake of his head. I was just the same. When the other members of the band couldn’t remember dates, Martin came to the rescue.

 

Martin: We played BOTW a lot early on, look – we made £13 that night!

Dojo: they were weird but I liked it – they didn’t talk to me for a year after I’d joined!

Martin: Success? What is success – we’ve had 18 LP’s and 50 singles and are still going – most bands would love to be in our position.

Dojo: Madonna was a nightmare. Jez: she sang to a backing track with 2 other dancers, I’d never seen that before.

Martin: We supported Talking Heads on their ‘Fear of Music’ tour – it was going to be the Human League but they dropped them when they found out that they didn’t appear on stage – just did tapes and a projection.

Dojo: I loved the DIY aspect of Factory. I remember us all going in to help out – putting Durruti Column records into those sandpaper sleeves.

Jez: We had a break for 7 years, which really helped. We were happy to get back together after that. Denise Johnson: Yeah they actually smile now!

Martin: It was Rob Gretton who first spotted us not Tony Wilson. He put our stuff out on ‘Rob’s records’ saying “You’re not a proper record label til you’ve lost money on ACR”

Jez: I’m not on this photo – I’d been drinking cider whilst Martin Hannett made them play the guitars again and again. I drank 2 litles and Tony Wilson had to take me to casualty!

I’d sent some questions and they got answered –  The Jez+Vini Reilly stuff on ‘From Brussels with Love’ – was it specially recorded for that LP or was there other stuff from that session?

Jez: That was Vini’s reaction to Ian’s death and he asked me to sing on it.

Donald. you play on Kane Gangs ‘Gun Law’ – any other non-ACR stuff we should know about?

Dojo: I play drums on Liza Minelli’s LP that the Pet Shop Boys produced.

The 2nd set Starts with ‘Wild Party” and contained blistering versions of ‘The Big E’ (dedicated to a recently deceased friend) and ‘Good Together’. Their funky soul tracks after that didn’t have the same punch for me but the final tracks from ‘Mind made up’ were pure ACR.

For an encore they did 2 songs they’d already done but no one minded – ‘Shack Up’ with Denise on Vocals and a longer version of ‘Si Firmi O Grido’ which quite frankly could have gone on all night for me – Loved it!

Bob the Chiropodist

 

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