Thursday: It had been a while since I volunteered to do some photography for the festival and now I find myself working for three days at The Lowry Theatre. My first band became the legendary post punk band The Fall with the unmistakable Mark E Smith. No support band required tonight, and so running late we had Salfords notorious Mark Smith fronting his band The Fall. The last and only time I saw The Fall I was 18 years old and they were supporting The Clash. It feels like century's have passed since then and different line ups have come and gone with this infamous band. I can't say I was or am a particular fan of The Fall but they played an interesting set and Mr Smith leaves you with a feeling that you shouldn't take your eyes off him for a second, cos you never know what he's going to do. Whether it be hiding behind the curtain singing, or throwing his mic out for others to join in the poetic ramblings, or even bizarrely appearing to read in-between singing nonchalantly through a book which is casually strewn on a speaker [it didn't actually contain any writing from what I could see]. A strangely enjoyable first night and I just might take up listening to a Fall album after all.
Friday: A long day of shooting, kicking off with the SMF kids matinee session. Really not my kind of music, but the children and parents all appeared to enjoy it. The turn out was a tad disappointing, even more so considering this afternoon session is a free event put on for children and parents. We witnessed the following acts FTW, Hatty Keane, Julie E Gordon, Girl Peculiar and Heidi Anne. Whilst some of artists were a touch X Factorish, the wonderfully talented soul singer, and former Happy Monday chanteuse Julie Gordon stole the show, with an stripped down set, and the icing on the cake was the kooky Girl Peculiar with her acoustic set.
Later in the evening we had a countryfied acoustic set from the trilby hatted Sean Taylor, accompanied by drummer James Taylor, following this an artist I was really looking forward to meeting and hearing play live was the charming emotionally driven Karima Francis, who sings with such passion, songs from the heart and soul, reminiscence of Joan Armatrading. Delighted to be hearing finally live 'Glory Days taken from her debut album 'The Remedy.
Saturday: Picking up another afternoon slot, the day started with a young band called We The Dead, followed by AAAK, Mr Heart, Ruby Ann Patterson, Emma Black, Bethia Beadman, another set from Girl Peculiar, but dressed in vintage evening garb, Julie E Gordon, The Slow Readers Club, and finally culminating in a special guest slot, which we had been primed about earlier, on bass we welcomed Peter Hook, and on vocals reading the lyrics from a sheet of paper, our host of the festival Ed Blarney, with a couple of classic punk and post punk tunes from The Sex Pistols and Joy Division. Spotted seated and enjoying the intimate and unique show was the former TV 'Word' presenter Terry Christian. The highlights for me were Bethia Beadman's, acoustic and sensual offering, alongside the grand diva Julie Gordon, yet another riveting performance belted out with those super vocal chords, and Girl peculiar who came back with a backing band. Mr Heart, the three piece girl band were also one to watch as were indie inspired Slow Readers Club.
All in all a fantastic three days, just really pleased that I was able to play a small part, in this adventure, here's to next year....
Review/photos by Melanie Smith [Full set here]