Manchester; It Never Rains…

Manchester; It Never Rains…..


In 1976, a brand new, exhilarating musical revolution was beginning to gather momentum in London, instigated by grown ups, but embraced and spearheaded by a dissatisfied youth, bored of the stagnant stench of a music industry that said, and meant, nothing to them. 200 miles North up the M1 was a city that was primed ready and able to play it’s part in the growth of punk rock in the U.K; Manchester.

This book aims to explain why punk was the ideal natural musical progression in the city, as told by the people who were there at that embryonic stage before it entered into mainstream consciousness. In a time when hairstyle and dress sense defined your personality, nailing your colours to the mast of a grey and monochrome backdrop. Where people’s indifference to difference was measured in punches, and intolerance of tolerance was metered out in kicks. Working class kids from the inner city council estates who found escape from their surroundings in music and fashion. Not off the peg fashion, but homemade ingenuity, glamour through austerity, there’s nothing like a bit of individuality to make the natives restless.

Manchester has been the home of many musical firsts; Halle Orchestra, Top Of The Pops, Sex Pistols on television, Independent record release. An infamous gig that spawned a plethora of bands, writers, photographers, artists. It was home to The Electric Circus, Pips, Rafters, Band On The Wall, venues which are all (predominantly) fondly remembered as memories of a well spent youth. 

The book charts those protagonists from their early life growing up, socially and musically, the impact that punk had on their lives, including the bands that sprung up from it, how it allowed them to express their beliefs, and how it’s ideology has stayed with them up to the present day. The time line is between the early 1960’s until December 1977 (ish). The story is predominantly told through the words of the subjects, after hours of editing face to face interviews and emails, interspersed with my narrative connecting and introducing the differing topics and chapters.

It is a social history document as well as a musical coming of age memoir, a time capsule of days of which we will never again see the like. 

Chapter Breakdown.

1: History of Manchester’s slum dwellings from the 19th century to 1960’s.

2: Interviewee’s experiences of growing up in the inner city. Musical influences and access to physical musical output.

3; Nightclubs/Bars of Manchester. The gay scene, Pips, The Ranch Bar. Bowie/Roxy

4; The Electric Circus. Early gigs including Sex Pistols and Buzzcocks.

5; So It Goes- Sex Pistols first appearance on T.V. Recollections from the producer.

6; Early punk fashion in the city. People’s stories of homemade clothing.

7; Violence on the streets of Manchester and the terraces. Football and punk. 

8; Venues of Manchester; Band On The Wall, Rafters, The Oaks, Apollo Theatre.

9; The growth of punk in Manchester, interviewee’s gig memories.

10; So It Goes second series. Recollections of outside broadcasts from director and video assistant.

11; The closure of The Electric Circus.


12; The dissolution of punk at the end of 1977. The lasting legacy of what punk meant to the people interviewed for the book.

World Cup 2018. Day 2 Spain v Portugal

This is the first ‘big’ game of the tournament and should be a technical feast. Ronaldo, Iniesta, David Silva, then add to the stage the pantomime villain, Sergio Ramos. Sacking manager Julen Lopetegui wasn’t the ideal start to Spain’s campaign, but whether it kills or cures them will remain to be seen. European champions Portugal punched above their weight 2 years ago and it will be harder this time around. CR7’s last hurrah on the international stage.

Portugal’s history is long and prestigious. Christopher Columbus; identity disputed, led Spain to the Caribbean islands. Vasco Da Gama; discoverer of the sea route to India. Pedro Álvares Cabral; discoverer of Brazil. Ferdinand Magellan; led the first successful attempt to circumnavigate the Earth. Fernao Mendes Pinto; among the first to reach Japan. Portuguese explorers were amongst the most arduous and brave.

Football heroes include Eusabio da Silva Ferreira, aka The ‘Black Pearl’, one of the first world-class African-born players. He won the Ballon D’or award for European footballer of the year in 1965 and was runner-up in 1962 and 1966, and is Benfica’s all-time top scorer with 638 goals scored in 614 official games. Christiano Ronaldo is the only real contender to Eusabio’s crown and arguably surpassed his achievements when he led Portugal to be the Euro 2016 champions.

Today’s shirt is C.F. Os Belenenses, the ‘third’ team in Lisbon. Founded in 1919 they are one of the oldest sports clubs in Portugal and play at the 25,000 seater Estádio do Restelo in the Belem district of Lisbon. The club name translates as “The ones from Belém”. Belenenses was the first Portuguese team with a turf pitch and artificial lighting, and the club won its only Primeira Lisa title in 1945/46 edging out Benfica by one point. The main sports of the club are Football, Handball, Basketball , Futsal, Athletics, and Rugby Union. The club has won national championships in all these sports, but it remains best known for its original activity, which is football. They finished 12th in the top league last season.

Today’s beer of choice is Super Bock, a pale lager with a strength of 5.2%.

Other games today: Egypt v Uruguay, Morocco v Iran.




World Cup 2018; Day 1 Russia v Saudi Arabia

As the Great Bear comes out of hibernation, the recriminations are put to bed, and it’s time for the football to begin. Whatever the ‘circumstances’ of Russia being awarded the competition, it’s in their best interests to put on a perfect tournament. The hooligans that blighted Euro 2016 have been read the riot act, and all criminality has been washed from the streets. The World is welcome.
First up is the host nation against Saudi Arabia, perpetuating the tradition of unglamorous opening matches; 1966 – England 0 Uruguay 0; 1970 – Mexico 0 Soviet Union 0; 1974 – Brazil 0 Yugoslavia 0; 1978 – West Germany 0 Poland 0. These 2 low scoring teams going head to head doesn’t look as though things are about to change, it’s hardly going to set pulses racing, but you never know.
To alleviate the unlikelyhood of boredom setting in, and to celebrate the majority of the tournament’s  participating country’s ‘culture’, I’ll be partaking in a national tipple during each chosen match. So first up is a cold bottle of Baltika 3, brewed in St. Petersburg with a 4.8% strength. As well as the national beverages, I’ll be digging out some of my personal collection of football shirts from around the world, starting with an FC Moscow match worn shirt. The club was formed by the Moscow government in 2004 and folded in 2010. One of the shortest lived football clubs in history. Not long after the club’s demise, it was re-established and now plays in the Russian Amateur League.




The Drones interview.

The Drones; ‘Future Temptations’.

In 1976 the bourgeoning punk scene’s heartbeat may have started in London, but soon it was pumping new blood around the arterial veins of the U.K., finding kindred spirits all over the country. Manchester would go on to play a major part in the growth of punk, and The Drones were at the forefront of it, along with Slaughter and the Dogs and Buzzcocks. There was a bitter rivalry between those bands even though they regularly shared the same stage at The Electric Circus, and other local venues.

The original band consisted of; Guitarist; Gus “Gangrene” Callendar, Bassist; Steve “Wispa” Cundall, Vocalist/Guitarist; M.J. Drone (Mike Howells), and Drums; Peter “Perfect” Howells.

Initially The Drones were derided by the locals as punk bandwagon jumpers due to their previous incarnation as the standard fare rock band ‘Rockslide’.

Wispa; “I met Pete, and I met Mike, and we formed this band called Strand. That would have been around 1973-1974, and things got a bit serious so we decided to go to Germany…we got offered a deal to go to Germany for 6 months and we thought we’d made it you know? So we get out there and we were doing the American Air Force bases, and we’d gone out there with this Shang-a-Lang pop music and we got laughed off the stage, so we changed things about after a couple of months, so we started to play heavy rock. We spent those 6 months together; we were living together, we were starving together, and we were playing about 5 hours a night at these bases; 5 x 1 hour sets, so we got tight.

The band never made excuses about their past, or tried to hide it from anyone, and Punk was the perfect vehicle for them, at the perfect time.

Wispa; “I’ll be honest with you, most punk rockers that are in bands, and were honest about how they started…we just thought, we’ve got to do that, that’s the way to go…we just sat down, we weren’t working, and started writing songs around that (punk) theme. We had the attitude, I mean we were out of work, we hated what was happening at the time, so we had ammunition to write songs, you know what I mean? So we started getting gigs, and the first early gigs were at Pips and at The Ranch.”

The Drones played their debut gig in Manchester at The Houldsworth Hall in December 1976 with Generation X as the support band, and in April 1977 they released the classic ‘dole queue punk’ E.P. ‘Temptations Of A White Collar Worker’. The band went to London and played at The Roxy, supporting bands such as X Ray Spex and Chelsea. The London clique of The Roxy didn’t sit too well with them, but the band loved venues such as The Marquee, Red Cow and The Nashville.

Wispa: “They were like sweaty pubs, the perfect punk venues. At The Roxy the bands would be sat on the top balcony, looking down on everyone.”

In October 1977 they released the single ‘Bone Idol/Just Wanna Be Myself on Valer Records, selling over 20,000 copies. The single would be included in Mojo magazine’s ‘100 Punk Scorchers’ feature in 2013. Their first album ‘Further Temptations’ appeared in December and was recorded at the same time and in the same building as The Clash’s first album. In that same month the band also recorded their only John Peel session.

They were managed briefly by Paul Morley who went on to write for the NME.

Although major success eluded them, due to a mixture of bad luck, wrong decisions and poor deals,The Drones left one classic punk album and a couple of seminal singles. They split in 1982, but reformed (without Wispa) in 1996 to play at the ‘Holidays In The Sun’ festival in Morecambe.

Singer/ guitarist M.J. Drone passed away in 2013 and there was a brief but unsuccessful attempt of a reunion featuring Gus and Wispa from the ‘76 line up, which culminated in July 2016 when they played a gig at Manchester venue The Deaf Institute.

That gig would be the catalyst for the formation of the current line up when the rhythm section of 2 of the original Manchester punk bands joined forces as the new 3 piece incarnation of The Drones just over a year ago.

Steve ‘Wispa’ Cundall, the original Drones bass player, Brian ‘Mad Muffett’ Grantham, the original drummer with Slaughter and the Dogs, and Alan Crosby, a self confessed fan of both bands.

I met up with them in the pub (where else?) in Wispa’s hometown of Salford, to see what the future holds for the band.

How did this current line-up come about?

Brian; ” I was at an exhibition in Manchester, which featured amongst other things, memorabilia from Tosh Ryan, the guy who ran Rabid Records, and I bumped into Wispa there. We talked for a bit and I said that maybe we should do something together. And that’s how it started.”

Alan; ” I was already playing with Brian in The Nosebleeds and we’d done a gig with the previous lineup of The Drones at the Deaf Institute. Afterwards everyone was having a drink and it was a great atmosphere. But that night Gus and Glen decided they didn’t want to carry on being in The Drones, which left Wispa, who was still enthusiastic to do something. He’d seen me and Brian on stage and the amount of energy that we put into our music, and the next thing I know Wispa was on the phone asking me if I fancied joining The Drones; no brainer!”

Was that vital spark between the 3 of you there from the outset?

Brian; “Once we started playing together, there was an energy there, it really worked. There was a chemistry between the 3 of us straight away, the intensity was there and it just knitted together. It gelled immediately.”

Alan; ” Me and Brian have been playing together on and off for about 20 years, we played in a band called President Trash. I know how he works and he knows how I work, we’re as tight as fuck. Then you add Wispa’s bass onto it and you’ve got a great rhythm section.”

Brian; “Obviously the songs were still there, and they were still fresh. Plus you had Wispa’s bass putting that original stamp on them. The songs are so well constructed.”

Wispa; “Oh yeah, it’s put a new sound, a new dimension to them.”

Alan; “It helps that they’re great songs to work with. That album ‘Further Temptations’… it’s such a solid platform to work on.”

The first gig was here at The Eagle in January 2017, what’s been
happening with the band since then?

Brian; We went back into rehearsals just to fix a few things and then we did a set in March for Denise Shaw’s birthday bash. Denise was an iconic original Manchester punk; she was more famous than The Drones, Slaughter and the Dogs and everyone, that was a great night.”

Alan; ” We’ve been writing songs as well, but we don’t want to just bang something together just for the sake of it, we’re taking our time, crafting the new songs. We’re learning all the time.”

Brian; “We’ve done quite a few dates throughout the past year, just generally building things up.”

The highlight of the year was a prestigious Saturday night appearance in the Opera House at the Rebellion Festival in August.

So is the set a mixture of old and new stuff?

Alan; “Mostly old stuff because that’s what people would expect, but as the new songs develop we’ll integrate them into the set.”

Wispa; “We’ve got a new song in the set called ‘Rats’ that Al sings which is a great tune. We’re also doing a version of ‘The Clique’ which got recorded but never got released.”

Alan; “It was on the original Drones’s Peel Session. We’ve just bought it up to date.”

Is the new stuff more reflective?

Wispa; “I think it’s more reflective of today’s sound definitely.”

Alan; “Plus we’re all old men now so we can afford better equipment! A 20 watt practice amp just doesn’t cut it any more.!”

Wispa; “Also the stuff that we’re working on is still in The Drone’s vein, but we’re also bringing it up to date you know?”

Is the songwriting a joint effort or…?

Wispa; “Its a joint effort. All the songwriting credits will be as ‘The Drones’. We talk to each other, a lot, we discuss things with each other, ask opinions, it’s the only way it can work. A proper democracy.”

Alan; “There are no egos in this band.”

The political climate is as bad as it’s ever been, so lyrically, will you be writing about what’s going on in the world?

Wispa; “There’s plenty of stuff to write about isn’t there? I’m still angry about what’s going on, in my city and in this country.”

Alan; “But it’s not preaching, it’s about the state of the nation. A lot of punk bands tend to preach, and that’s their way, but that’s not the way we do it. I don’t react to being told what to do.”

What do you think about all the anniversaries that have been celebrated? Does that sit well with you?

Alan; “I think that there is something to be celebrated. I mean some people have been doing this for over 40 years, starting out as kids saying ‘fuck you, I can do this’, and they’re still doing it, so fair play to them. It sure beats working for a living.”

So is the aim to eventually release an album?

Alan; “The idea is to get an album out by the end of the year. But the songs need to be right. The quality control has got to be tight.”

Wispa. “Were totally self-promoted as well, so we can do what we want with it you know?”

Brian; “Then again if Sony or somebody comes up and says ‘Here you go guys…we wouldn’t be like, ‘We don’t want it, take it away! Ha! Ha! Ha!”

Alan; “Yeah, we want to be honest!”

Brian; “With social media you can go all over the world as well. Instant feedback. You’ve done a gig, got back home, put the kettle on, and you can watch yourself at the gig you’ve just done!”

Are The Drones still relevant?

Alan; “Someone asked me that a few weeks ago actually. I just said ‘Come and see us, and then you tell me if we’re fucking relevant’. It’s the energy that the band puts into the music that makes us relevant.”

Wispa; “You’ve seen us live. Do we look as though we’re going through the motions? I mean, Brian’s had that drive since he was 17, and you can’t help but feed off that.”

Brian; “The heart has to be in it. When we’re on that stage it’s got to be relevant otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it. Don’t worry, it’ll be rocking. You can’t do this half hearted, people see straight through it.

Wispa; “When you’ve done a great gig and you come off stage, there’s no better feeling. I missed that for a while and now I feel born again you know? I’m loving every minute of it.”

It’s hard not to be infected by their combined enthusiasm, it’s the same excitement that you’d expect from a band just starting out; No jaded negativity to see here thank you. Catch them live if you can.
At a time when anniversaries and celebrating the punk past have gone into overdrive, it’s refreshing to see that some of the original members of the class of ’76 are still looking to the future.

The Drones will be appearing at;

Sunday 15th April 2018 – New Cross Inn, New Cross Rd. London SE14 6AS
Nice ‘n’ Sleazy Festival 2018 Morecombe – May 24th-27th
Rebellion Festival 2018 – August 2nd-5th

Gareth Ashton.

Thanks to; Brian ‘Mad Muffet’ Grantham, Steve ‘Wispa’ Cundall, Al Crosby

First New Year resolution: read a new book every month. Starting with this: from early r’n’b, through the home made speaker sound system clashes of the 40’s and 50’s, Ska,Rocksteady and more. More evidence that whilst punk embraced the DIY ethic, it didn’t invent it. Expect the resolution to be broken on Feb 1st when I’m still half way through it.


February’s book. A lot less reading material for this. A short book for the shortest month.


Book 4/12: April’s Tome.

Our Johnny; A bit of a Marmite character, vilified and sainted in equal measure. Musical heritage-wise he’s up there with the best. Sex Pistols were my Beatles/Small Faces etc. PiL at the start were groundbreaking, whilst updating Lydon’s influences such as Can and Beefheart, playing to a new set of open minds. Not Sex Pistols Mk2 as The Professionals ended up being, he was free from the (literally) cartoon band that the Pistols became.
Contradictory but honest, just a little too earnest with the working class diatribe though. You might have been up until 1975 but then mixing with the future Dame and middle class Malcolm and wearing the designer clobber which would cost a month’s wages for a real working man.
I envisage this to be an entertaining read because that is what he is, he entertains, whether you like him or not.


Month 5: Book 5

This is the first of a trilogy of drummer’s auto/biographies over the next 3 months.

The Cure were part of the foundations of the bridge built between punk and what came next for me. Those first 4 albums; Three Imaginary Boys, Seventeen Seconds, Faith and Pornography soundtracked the difficult ages between 15 and 18 like no other band. I was leaving school and casting out into the whole wide world with all it’s trials and tribulations.

Lol was never what you’d call a technically gifted drummer, his playing on the first album was almost childlike but it added to the charm of what was a bit of a ramshackle affair. Seventeen Seconds was minimal and robotic, Faith minimal and Gothic, Pornography was minimal and tribal, but all throughout those records, it was Lol’s drumming that underpinned those moody, claustrophobic songs.

Soon after Lol was relegated to keyboards and became a peripheral part of the band he’d started. His demon’s started coming to the fore with his hands increasingly idle. It’s no coincidence that once The Cure started to use top class drummers they became stadium material.
But those early records still hold the best and worst memories for me, and Lol was part of and deserves his place in many other people’s musical histories.




Electric Circus

The Electric Circus
Collyhurst St.
(Off Rochdale Road)
M40 8LH
Situated just a mile outside of the city centre,The Electric Circus opened at the end of October 1976. Collyhurst was a down at heel area on the North side of town,long before the terms gentrification or Northern Quarter came into common parlance. It was the birthplace of Les Dawson,as well as footballers Stan Bowles and Nobby Styles.

The Circus’s insalubrious interior and surroundings reflected the gritty drabness of the 1970’s,and its location required a concerted effort from punters to get there.Although it started out as a heavy rock venue,it soon became an important place for the bourgeoning punk scene. The building was originally home to the rather grandiose sounding Palladium Variety Club,and for a time it was also a cinema.The Electric Circus was originally the name given to Sunday nights at Mr.Browns,a nightclub on Brazil Street in the city centre,in the very late’60’s and early’70’s.A young John Cooper Clarke performed his poetry there situated comfortably amongst the progressive and hard rock bands.

An inauspicious opening evening’s entertainment was provided by Supercharge,a band from Liverpool,who were popular enough to draw a good sized crowd.They were signed to Virgin and had achieved a number 3 hit in Australia in 1976,plus they also opened for Queen at Hyde Park earlier in the year.

Although the place wasn’t opened as a specific punk venue like The Roxy in London,it soon began to put on punk nights (Sunday’s only to start with).Slaughter and The Dogs,Buzzcocks and other new Manchester bands like them were springing up in the area and looking for somewhere to play.The nationwide paranoia the Sex Pistols had instilled in the Great British public’s minds, had led to many places refusing to let these new upstarts play their noise.It became a meeting place for like minded,disaffected kids who just needed somewhere to go.

The Pistols themselves played at the Circus twice in December 1976,on the 9th and 19th,as part of the disrupted and shambolic Anarchy tour,(the 19th was a hastily rearranged gig after the original venue in Guildford banned them),cementing the close relationship between Manchester bands and their London brothers.
As the punk movement grew,more frequent gigs began to be put on.The 28th of November 1976 saw Slaughter and the Dogs supported by The Damned;all for 75p! From then on everyone who was anyone in the punk scene played here throughout’77: The Clash, Adverts, Saints, The Jam, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Ramones, The Fall, John Cooper Clarke, The Stranglers, Joy Division, Rezillos, The
Boys, The Slits, 999, Ultravox, The Cortinas, The Drones, Suburban Studs, The Slugs, The Worst, plus many more, including The Negatives which featured Author/Journalist Paul Morley(a.k.a Modest Young), Photographer Kevin Cummins, and Buzzcock’s manager Richard Boon.Ticket prices ranged from 75p to £1.50, which sometimes included 3 bands.It was a dangerous place for the punks making their way home, frequently attacked by the Neanderthals who couldn’t handle someone being different and individual,although the Manchester punk look was more D.I.Y. and not as stylised as the London scene.

The Electric Circus was a regular feature on ‘So It Goes’, Tony Wilson’s half hour television programme, showing live performances from a number of punk bands, giving them much needed exposure and helped to recruit new converts on a weekly basis.

The club closed its doors just under 12 months later and the last 2 nights were recorded for posterity and released as the album ‘Short Circuit’. Initially planned as a double album it ended up seeing the light of day in 1978 as a 10″record in Blue, Black and Orange vinyl consisting of just 8 tracks from The Drones, Steel Pulse, John Cooper Clarke, The Fall, Buzzcocks, and Joy Division.Some copies included a free 7″ e.p. from John Dowie.Most of what was recorded was unfit for use because of the excessive crowd noise!
A month later the place changed its name to The Venue with the sub title of ‘The New Electric Circus’,but this was short lived.In fact the brevity of its tenure meant that The Electric Circus’s important contribution to punk rock will always be fondly remembered.

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Band On The Wall

Band On The Wall
Swan Street
M4 5JZ

The origins of the Band on the Wall begin in 1803 as the George and Dragon public house.The area around Swan Street was a squalid,dangerous place inhabited by scuttler gangs and pickpockets.Manchester was growing rapidly,with many businesses,factories and mills around the Ancoats area.Smithfield Market was developed and eventually expanded to a 4 acre site finishing its’boundary at the back of the pub.Irish and Italian immigrants made up a large percentage of the population,and it would be Irish entrepreneur brothers,Bernard and John McKenna,who bought and developed the pub over the next few decades.They also owned other businesses and went on to build The Wellington pub on Rochdale Road,now called Marble Arch.
Fast forward over 100 years and the pub is struggling following the relocation of Smithfield Market.It closed its doors in 1974.A year later local musician Steve Morris, a jazz music lover,took over the lease on the building to fulfil his dream of opening a jazz club.After refurbishment, including a new stage in place of the raised platform that the previous resident band had played on,and now the inspiration for the new name ‘Band On The Wall’,it reopened for business on 12th September 1975.

Jazz was to remain the musical staple diet of the club, but in 1977 the Monday Rock Club night was introduced and promoted by the New Manchester Review magazine.The night was designed to showcase local bands,and also to broaden the venue’s musical diversity.The magazine had been put its first event on in November 1976 to celebrate its 1st birthday.The headline band that night was Bolton’s finest,Buzzcocks along with Tom Mcmasters,whose band included a bass player called Martin Hannett. This gig was the catalyst that opened Morris’s mind up to putting on other genres of music.It didn’t have to all be about navel gazing,or endless complicated solos from gifted musicians,he encouraged artists of varying degrees of competence to get up and do something.Soon there were performances from a diverse range of acts;Country rock,poetry readings including John Cooper Clarke and the future Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy,even an all women clog band!
Also at this time in 1977 the Manchester Musicians Collective was formed with a commitment to encouraging and promoting musicians and bands and giving them a voice.They received a grant towards rehearsal room hire and transport,and groups went to them for assistance.After outgrowing their original premises on King Street as well as putting on The Fall’s first ever gig there,they chose the Band On The Wall as the place to put their showcases on.Sunday’s was the only night available which clashed with Electric Circus’s punk nights.One band which were helped by the MMC were Joy Division.Ian Curtis is on record as praising the collective for giving them a venue and meeting other bands and musicians,swapping ideas and the way that it was set up meant that the band could experiment in front of an audience.They were allowed and encouraged to take risks.
Joy Division were regular attendees whether on the stage or in the crowd possibly watching The Fall,Frantic Elevators,Fast Cars amongst other protagonists of the new breed.The punk gigs at Band On The Wall were nowhere near as violent or intimidating as the other venues in town,although Tony Wilson would come in for sporadic bursts of verbal abuse on his visits looking for new bands for Factory records and also The Russell Club in Hulme.
Between 1975 and 1979 over 200 different acts had played there,and around 1500 gigs had been put on,but the writing was on the wall for the venue.The New Manchester Review magazine went bust,so the Monday night gigs were jeopardised and then the Musicians Collective moved their shows to Rafters,which was a bigger venue.The Monday night gigs limped on into 1980,but dwindling audiences forced its’ demise.

Throughout the ’80’s and ’90’s,Band On The Wall became a venue synonymous with Blues,Reggae,and World music.It was overlooked on touring schedules by mainstream or alternative artists,who would instead play at The International’s 1 and 2 or the University.Between 2005-2009 the building undertook a 3.6 million pound refurbishment,funded by Arts Council England,Heritage Lottery Fund,and Manchester City Council.The venue is now owned and run by registered charity Inner City Music,and is a not for profit venue.Its future looks bright.


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