Ruby Lounge review: The Distractions + Flamin' Groovies

25 September 2017

Two under-appreciated classic guitar pop bands graced the same stage in front of a loving and appreciative crowd at the Ruby Lounge, High Street, Manchester on Tuesday 19 September 2017.

Opening were local heroes, The Distractions, who are currently gigging in a live line-up including original singer Mike Finney and drummer Alex Sidebottom. The recording band have officially disbanded following their third and final album ('Kindly Leave The Stage') what with original guitarist Steve Perrin now living in New Zealand, while newer songwriter Nick Halliwell is at the other end of England. However, this new incarnation are currently gigging their late '70s and early '80s material to great success.

(c) Nick Barber, 2017.

A short but rocking set included "Maybe It's Love", "It Doesn't Bother Me" and the timeless Factory Records single "Time Goes By So Slow". A quite brilliant closer was a furious version of "Nothing Lasts" which the new live band - including Joe Brehony, Chris Dutton and Jonny Poole - have put their mark all over. The Distractions Live are a post-punk pop force to be reckoned with, and surely more gigs around the North West and hopefully beyond will follow. Next up it's The Peer Hat in Manchester on 26th October, then The Continental in Preston in November supporting Penetration.

(c) Nick Barber, 2017.

Joining several well-known local faces who turned out for The Distractions - such as CP Lee and Mick Middles - was Marc Riley (founder member of The Fall, and current BBC 6Music DJ) for the main attraction. Chris Wilson partnered the original Flamin' Groovie, Cyril Jordan, and they rolled back the years (65 and 69, respectively, Wilson informed us!) in a rocking hour-plus set.

Tracks from their new album, 'Fantastic Plastic', like "What The Hell's Going On?" and "End Of The World", were scattered amongst choice cuts from the late '60s and '70s. The inevitable and rightly lauded "Shake Some Action" brought the house down, and the smiles in the crowd lasted until after the show when Jordan and Wilson joined the fans for photos, chats and signatures.

(c) Nick Barber, 2017.

These two legendary but still fresh-sounding bands hail from opposite sides of the pond, but are hewn from the same rock: melodic guitar pop rock. We can only hope that they will both be playing to appreciative Manchester audiences again in the not-too-distant future (update: The Distractions are playing at The Peer Hat, Manchester on 26th October).

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