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Hit The North: The Durutti Column &
Damo Suzuki and Friends

Hello and welcome to Hit The North, the musings on music in Manchester by our new contributor, Pete Collins. Pete is aided in his musings by having come from Manchester, and having been a music obsessive for at least 20 years. Here's his perspective on Manchester's post-punk finest, The Durutti Column, and Damo Suzuki, with his 'friends'. Originally published on an ideal for living.

The Durutti Column - Deaf Institute, 8th March 2009

The Durutti Column

What better way to spend a rainy Sunday evening in Manchester than beneath the Deaf Institutes's enormous mirror ball listening to the Durutti Column? Vini Reilly promised that “We'll start very quiet, then go a bit louder and by the end it will be an unlistenable din”. And while it never did become unlistenable he made good on his promise that it did get loud – not usually something you'd equate with a Durutti Column gig.

The gig opened with two songs from the latest album, 'Love in the Time of Recession'. “Wild Beast Tamed” and “Painting” were co-written with pianist Poppy Morgan, who joined him on stage for both songs.

With the promised quiet start out of the way Vini was joined by bass player and producer Keir Stewart and “the only drummer worth listening to in these times” in Vini's words – the legend that is Bruce Mitchell - and they stormed into “Otis” before cleverly merging it into “Blind Elevator Girl (Osaka)”

They even got over the handicap of a temporary on-stage power outage and Keir's terrible Pink Panther joke to deliver a blistering version of 'Woman', complete with some absolutely tearing guitar playing and it got a lot rockier from here on in, culminating with a much harder “Untitled for You” when compared with the recorded version.

All in all it was a fantastic gig, but if there has to be one criticism it'd be nice have some more recent material than the set stalwarts of “Missing Boy” and “The Beggar”, which I've heard at every single Durutti gig I've been to. There's some amazing stuff on the new album that would be fantastic treat to hear live.

Oh, by the way, special thanks to the couple standing right in front of me who had a blazing argument, made up then fell out again, and were last seen screaming at each other on the roof terrace. Classy.

As an added bonus I actually went to a gig and didn't get too drunk to remember the set list! So for all you trainspotters out there:

  • Wild Beast Tamed
  • Painting
  • Otis – Blind Elevator Girl (Osaka)
  • Gun
  • Woman
  • Jacqueline
  • Missing Boy
  • The Beggar
  • Requiem for My Mother
  • Untitled For You
  • Pigeon (actually Storm for Steve and Peter Green's Albatross!)

Damo Suzuki & Friends - Ruby Lounge, 12th March 2009

So then, the Ruby Lounge.

I love the Ruby Lounge. Y'know, except for the fairly crappy view (nice touch sticking a pillar in front of the stage) and the London-priced beer. And the Toilet guy.

Maybe it is just me but I cannot wee while his eyes bore into my back. And it gets worse when I want to wash my hands and he turns on the tap for me and sprays me with some nasty smelling aftershave. Stop it. STOP IT! Also, some blokes get a lollipop from him. Why is this? Do they only get given to to the blokes who's cock the toilet guy really likes? He never gives me a lollipop. :-( What's wrong with my cock, Toilet Guy?

Toilet guy it is YOUR FAULT that I sometimes have piss on my hands after I go to the Ruby Lounge because I am avoiding you and your knock- off CK aftershave. I hope you can live with yourself.

(Actually, he wasn't working the night of the Damo Suzuki gig. I used some artistic license to pretend he was, because I've seen him at every other gig I've been to at the Ruby Lounge. Don't judge me. You don’t have any friends or a girlfriend or have ever kissed a girl or talked to a girl, so stop looking at me like that. Cheers).

By the way, I saw some music. Kraut rock legend Damo Suzuki uses a different set of local musicians wherever he plays, which can make for some very interesting improvisational results. Tonight we got three songs in an hour and 45 minutes. Fantastic stuff. Although the bloke on the clarinet really did need to calm down a bit. There was no need for the constant jazz wailing he produced. Same for the big bass saxophone he produced. Play it low for a while. Go on. It doesn't all need to be so high pitched.

If this was a real music review, I'd probably tell you the names of the musicians and what bands they'd been in and how good the Gibson sunburst bass was. But then you should remember I've just recently written about how you have no friends or have ever kissed a girl, so maybe you could get this info from somewhere else.

If you find out, let me know. Sweet.

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