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MANCHESTER CALLING: 16 SONGS FOR JOE STRUMMER
:: Moco :: Slam :: TVH-3 :: BoneBox :: The Snakes :: Lord Mongo :: Saucerman :: I Win I Drive :: Sonic Boom Six :: Performance :: El Presidente :: Bad Man Wagon :: Ian Britt ::
09 March 2003 / Night & Day / Manchester
By Ged Camera [ all pics (c) Ged 2003 ]

It's difficult enough to grab the attention of the crowd during the course of a set, but to be able to do it with 1 number? And that has to be a cover of a seminal band such as the Clash? What can be a daunting prospect that could be, yet it can also realise a source of creative potential, much like the one that was about to be unfurled today.

So with daylight still streaming through the windows of that local sauna known as the Night & Day café, "Slam" and "I Win I Drive" kick started proceedings with faithful versions of "Clampdown" and "Clash City Rockers" respectively.

So step forward Sonic Boom Six who were brave enough to de-construct the original of "Safe European Home" to a bare shell then cram into it as many different musical styles as possible. It shouldn't have really worked, but this time it did, and gloriously at that.

Performance followed with an equally eclectic combination of electronica/ska to dispense "Janie Jones" to a crowd that was now getting the hang of the format, slaking their thirst on beer, watching the raw energy emanating from the video screen displaying Joe in his element, that is performing on a stage. Grainy video footage purloined from cameras snuck into venues, relayed images from Clash & Mascelaros gigs. The shaking, sweat soaked, out of focus figures wanting to give something back to their audience evoked misty eyed nostalgia from those present today. Though Joe's sharp features may have been softened with the passing of time, the quiff was still there, and just as recognisable were the sweat, energy and enthusiasm with which he sought to repay those who had turned up to see his band, displaying his clear love of music, a passion that could not diminish with the passing of time.

Now snapped back to the present, Thee Virus House, bedecked in uniform black, transformed "This is Radio Clash" into a magnificent slab of dark, intense electro, overlaid with a monotone delivery that was over far too soon.

Once Darren Snake had entered the building, a blues fuelled, harmonica laden, rendition of "Rudy Can't Fail" was eventually satisfyingly

Ian Britt managed to literally strip "Stay Free" down to a pure, almost acoustic ballad that was simple in execution, but intense in delivery, so much so that through the day he had devotees of Jones coming up to congratulate him on his rendition.

Perhaps the most poignant time of the day was when the singer with Sugar Rocket got up on stage alongside Saucerman for "Magnificent Seven". His band were due to open the set but due to the death of their guitarist the day before (aged 22) understandably, they pulled out

Such is the hap hazard, play it by ear, nature of these things that if you decided to nip out, the chances are that you will miss something e.g. Lord Mongo El Presidente, Bone Box & Moco, despite the fact that you have copied the timings from the sound engineer.

The last "proper band" up were a Cressa led "Bad Man Wagon", and the reggae laden version of "Revolution Rock" that followed once again filled a beer sodden, bottle strewn, area that could loosely be termed as a dance floor

So the impromptu finale was an "Everyone-One-On-Stage-Live Aid-sing along" rendition of "White Riot", forcing relatively aged limbs to re-kindle the seemingly long forgotten ability to (mildly) pogo alongside another generation of music lovers who longingly wished they could have been there, for one concert, just one, to experience the intensity of it. Bodies swayed and smiles continued to break out on a wide spread basis

There were people on the stage, they thought it was all over. Tonight it may be, but the Clash legacy shall surely remain.


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