The Smiths 18 May 1984

Last week I started re-reading John Robb’s The North Will Rise Again – Manchester Music City 1976–1996 and, coincidentally, a day later one of the great music figures of that city announced a set of six British dates that will kick off at Nottingham’s Capital FM Arena on 13 March and also take in dates at Bournemouth, Cardiff, Leeds, Glasgow and Birmingham, with the Glasgow leg of the tour taking place at the Hydro.

Morrissey Hydro Tweet

I’m a Morrissey fan but, like some other bloggers, won’t be going to the Glasgow date, or any of the other shows. Over fifty quid for the cheapest ticket including fees and over seventy quid for the most expensive! No wonder he’s smiling in that photo, although to be fair, maybe it was taken in the wake of the Mexican bullfighter being gored to death that he found so amusing.

Back in 2004 I seem to remember my ticket for his Edinburgh Corn Exchange gig nudging just over £30 including my booking fee so I’m guessing that even Npower and EON might be looking on enviously at Morrissey’s price hikes since then.

Taking price comparisons further back, a couple of minutes research at a site called This is Money revealed that, in Britain, there has been approximately a three-fold increase in retail prices in the last thirty years.

Now look at my Smiths ad from 1984 at the top of the page. A fiver to see Morrissey’s much superior band of the time.

Frankly, Mr. Morrissey, how are young fans on minimum wage and zero hour contracts or some music fanatic who is unemployed and living in a Whalley Range bedsit supposed to be able to afford to see you nowadays?

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John Robb’s book features some astoundingly talented acts including, of course, The Smiths, Buzzcocks, Magazine, Joy Division/New Order, The Stone Roses and The Fall. Although it claims to end at the height of Britpop fever with Oasis packing out Knebworth in 1996, it does include a short two page ‘encore’ at the end, where he rounds up a bunch of acts based in the city such as Doves and I Am Kloot that have continued to produce fine music since then.

If Robb ever gets the time to update the book he would surely find a place for LoneLady (AKA Julie Campbell), a Manchester lass, who as many have said before me, displays influences from both ESG (from the South Bronx but at one time signed to Factory) and A Guy Called Gerald (from Moss Side).

Signed to Warp in 2009, her debut album, Nerve Up, was released the following year. This is her recent single, Groove It Out.


LoneLady today announced that her second full length album, Hinterland, will come out on 23rd March.  According to the artist herself: “It’s channelling Parliament/Funkadelic, Stevie Wonder, Rufus, Prince, Arthur Russell…among others. A strange – but nonetheless real – meeting of funk and… me from Audenshaw, Manchester.”

Hibou are from Seattle, another city with a strong music tradition, but this sounds far more Factory than Sub Pop. Accompanied by footage from 70s surfer documentary Crystal Voyager, this is Glow:


And if you liked that, this is the new-ish single When The Season Ends:


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