There’s always something to do in Manchester during the day. But envision this: The sun goes down, the parks and shops have closed and you are still wide-awake and searching for some action. If this sounds familiar then you can avoid it by taking a closer look at the Manchester music scene.
As one of the principal cities in England, Manchester has a lively music scene and there are plenty of live bands to check out. A personal favourite music of mine is blues and since living in Manchester I’ve seen some great blues bands like Blues Hat (their current gigs are here – http://blues-hat.com/2014-gig-dates/), and John Mayall’s current Bluesbreakers line up.
Blues Hat have just returned from the Dundee Blues Festival “Almost Blue” where they played 4 gigs over 2 days. I’m going to write about this in a separate post, but in the meantime heres a Wikipedia link to blues music in Dundee.
Whilst in at a Manchester live music gig I met Tom Morgan, a blues veteran of some 35 years. Tom’s love of the blues started back in the mid 1980′s. On a trip to Memphis and New Orleans, Tom’s interest in the blues was at a high when the position for the host of Blues Breakers became available. Every year Tom is the emcee on the mainstage of the Chicago Blues Festival. Tom is additionally part of a live broadcast from Buddy Guy’s Legends that regularly kicks off Chicago Blues Festival festivities in Chicago. He’s seemed on radio stations around the globe to discuss the blues. Some of these stations were in Sweden, China, Australia and Japan. He’s won the “Keeping the Blues Alive Award” from the Blues Foundation in Memphis.
For a blues music experience in Manchester I recommend you check the internet for the local blues gigs, all you need to do is Google something like “live blues in manchester” and you should be met with a host of Blues bands that are playing shortly in and around the Manchester area. Another thriving area for blues is London, with Ronnie Scott’s and the 100Club still going strong after many years. Just search around the UK and you’ll find that blues music is alive and well in the UK. There are many yearly blues festivals around the country that are well attended and advertised yearly. One popular blues festival near Manchester is the Hebden Bridge Festival which (despite it’s success) had it’s last year this year (2014). There is a festival planned next year, although we don’t know what shape it’ll take yet but blues music will be well represented.
I’m listening to Jim Byrne’s new album, “St Louis Times”. It’s a laid back bluesy affair with some nice jazzy touches, for an Englishman I would say that his music sounds quite New Orleans like, but obviously this is my idea of what New Orleans music sounds like. It’s quite different from what Blues Hat write and play, but theres an example of distance, there must be several thousand mile between the Manchester and New Orleans blues music scenes and with that distance comes a very different musical style.