I can hardly express how much I have missed watching live music. But after two years in the wilderness, I finally attended a live music gig at the Band on the Wall in Manchester city centre. I can report that it was a joyous, magical occasion!
Earlier that evening, I set off with my neighbour and good mate Bill and caught the Metrolink tram into Manchester. The anticipation of seeing and feeling live music surrounded by other people after such a long a break, made me fidget in my seat. It was a slow journey but great for people watching as it always fascinates me what a diverse group of passengers pile on to experience a night out in Manchester. The tram was getting full, and whilst I couldn’t help but wonder how many passengers were infected by covid, I was chilled and feeling good. I was going to enjoy this.
There is something special about watching good musicians – in the moment, working as a team, feeding off an audience. And listening to the power of their output and feeling the impact of the bass and instruments through the speakers bouncing off the walls and ceiling.
We arrived early in the city centre and enjoyed a couple of pints of first rate Blackjack beer in the buzzing Smithfield Market Tavern. When we arrived at the nearby Band on the Wall, the support act ‘Deaf House’ were well into their set and doing a good job warming up the audience. We got ourselves a good spot on the balcony ready for the main act and soon people filtered in from the bar swelling the floor ready for the start. A big cheer went up as the band came on stage and plugged themselves in and said, “ Hello Manchester – it’s great to be back!” (yes, we saw them on their last visit).
For the next nearly one hour and forty minutes, we enjoyed some great jazz fused with soul, afro-beat, hip-hop, reggae, and pop. The band was ‘Nubiyan Twist’. They are a Leeds/London ten piece jazz combo and a collection of ultra-tight musicians with a powerful horn section, and great percussionists’ They played a mixture of new stuff from their latest album and some older numbers, including some stonker dance tunes which left the audience cheering and danced out.
We were buzzing on the way back in the tram, the vibes still with us and feeling a sense of achievement for going and a determination to see more live gigs soon. The atmosphere on the tram was great although somewhat noisy thanks to some well oiled passengers and wierdos. We were only to pleased to do Kat’s friend (sat across the row) a favour and make sure Kat didn’t sleep through and miss her stop (also ours).
P.S. We are off again to the Band on the Wall next Saturday to see ‘Nearly Dan’. Those more discerning music lovers will be able to guess which all time ‘supergroup’ this tribute band is based on.