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Manchester Music - The Chairs are Missing

By Ged Camera
21 December 2012

a few of Ged's snaps from the archives

There is the saying that if you could remember the 60’s then you weren’t really there and I can’t really remember the first time I met Mike & Jon, but it was probably at the first Chairs Missing event in Aug 2000, held at the Roadhouse.

The landscape of the Oldham St/Northern Quarter area in those days was very much different to the plethora of venues that now seem to occupy every nook and cranny.

The MM intention was to provide an arena for new music to be heard at a time when the city centre venues that did exhibit live music, played it “safe”, in that only the more established acts were put on, ones that could bring a crowd in. Alternatively it was the “pay to play” scene. Opportunities for nascent bands were pretty much nil

Thus acts such as Sonar Yen, Oceanside, Tsuji Giri, Jackie O, Red Vinyl Fur and many others found a home to play, in time garnering a dedicated following. The MM series of live events culminated in the “25th Summer" an endurance and liver test held at Big Hands in 2001.

The MM reputation for putting on live showcases grew and they were asked to put on a series of event at the Hard Rock Café. Unfortunately for the venue, but great for us, free drink and burgers were available, resulting in the lead singer with Politburo, Nick, attempting to set a world record for the shortest time to get smashed out of his face before attempting to, well, fall over and dribble down a mic stand whilst defaming the founder of said burger chain.

It wasn't all so rock’n’roll though, as the more acoustic end of musical spectrum was served via a series of Sunday evening gigs that saw the Roadhouse bathed in candle light.

The musical promotion extended to releasing CD’s comprising of the output from some of these bands and the web site has featured reviews of CD’s from local and national bands until the end.

Having managed a similar web site many years ago I can testify first hand to the time shrinking experience it is, from trying to keep reviews happy by putting up their words ASAP, to organising passes etc.

Admiration of the contributor’s dedication to producing reviews was always present and at times provided inspiration. Seeing Cath tapping away on her phone to compile a review made me think if I could do the same with the photos. The end result was that at a Trojan horse gig, the words and pictures were complete before the band had returned to the dressing room.

So was/is there any lasting legacy from the efforts of the ManchesterMusic group? Well, some of the members of Oceansize recently appeared on Jools Holland playing as a part of Biffy Clyro, whilst Lonelady (aka Julie Campbell formerly of Desolation Angels) has released a well received album. Some of the boys from Moco still enjoy playing live and Danny Saul along with several others are still performing. Nick is still with Politburo

That’s not to say that those artistes would not have survived without the MM support, but perhaps they got a helpful hand along the way.

So if the purpose was to showcase new music, irrespective of what genre it was from, then MM delivered. Job done, it’s probably time to pack things away and take a sabbatical or in the words of Neil Young “It’s better to burn out/than to fade away”

As for the others I know involved with the site, I’m sure that David & Cath will go on to garner the rewards their abilities in the field of music journalism deserves whilst Jon may wonder if he has gone deaf as the phones stops ringing with requests for him to review CD’s. Mike will keep on being Mike, the behind the scenes stalwart that teams so often rely upon

If anyone wants to employ the (cheap) services of a photographer that occasionally gets things in focus let me know...

In the meantime thanks and the appreciation of everyone’s efforts goes out from myself...

It’s been emotional

Ged Camera

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