Tour Diary – Manchester, UK (Nov 8, 2010)

inside monastery 1

We drove through the night across the moors, encountering hellhounds, werewolves, the ghost of Robert Bruce, snow and gale force winds. It was the winds that stopped us for a couple of hours. These double-deckers are a little susceptible to high winds.  When it felt like we were being pushed over on to two wheels we knew it was time to give it a rest, as they say. We woke up outside of the venue, the Gorton Monastery, located somewhere on the outskirts of Manchester, which in turn is located somewhere on the outskirts of somewhere else that you’d rather be….if you know what I mean? A thick, impenetrable, dirty grey sky allowed only a rumour of sunlight, the rain and the wind blew across the housing estates that surrounded us and on through the bus. A freakin’ miserable day. The music of hometown heroes, Joy Division, seemed positively cheery when put up against this environment.

The Monastery was built in the late 19th century by the Franciscans and was at one time a hub for the surrounding community. But over the course of a hundred years the community evolved (or devolved) and the Franciscan Brothers disappeared and the building fell into disrepair and was eventually abandoned, pillaged and vandalised. Over the past decade there has been a concerted effort to bring it back. Apparently we are a part of that effort in that we are the first rock band to perform in the building (it even says so on their Wikipedia entry). It seems like a good idea on paper, but buildings like this weren’t designed for bass guitar and a kick drum. A 60 foot high vaulted ceiling with stone pillars and stone floors are not a soundman’s friend. On top of all this the room had been double booked (there was a Coroner’s Inquest going on all day) so we weren’t able to get access to the venue until 5:30 which gave us 90 minutes to set up and tame the sound demons. Despite all this, we had a decent night. It was difficult on stage but as the night progressed we adapted and settled in. I’m not sure what it sounded like out front but Jared said that he had quite a few people come up to him and compliment him on the sound and one fellow who came up to him and said that it sounded “simply appalling” (Jared, being a native of Boston, wasn’t sure whether that was better or worse than somebody coming up and saying that it “sucked”). In any case playing Me and the Devil and then Good Friday (“two thousand years ago/Jesus was left there hanging”) with Margo standing directly underneath an enormous flown crucifix was worth all the effort.

monastery outside1

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7 Responses to “Tour Diary – Manchester, UK (Nov 8, 2010)”

  1. Jason Says:

    November 10th, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Of all the brilliant covers in the Junkies arsenal, a Joy Division song would possibly top them all.

    Safe travels to the band. See y’all next week for the big hometown gig.

  2. Andrew Says:

    November 11th, 2010 at 9:49 am

    The band sounded great from the 2nd row. Amazing considering the time pressure.

    It was cold though. Old building, high ceilings and a gale outside. At least we were able to bundle up. Can’t imagine it was comfortable on stage. I was about ready to offer up a spare sweater to Margo. We hope the experience hasn’t put you off playing the in middle of England.

    It was nice to hear some of the less common songs as well as the unreleased music.

  3. Dave Says:

    November 11th, 2010 at 11:29 am

    I did wonder what was going on with the sound in the first half, it sounded great during the quieter acoustic stuff (from about half way back) but when the guitar and bass kicked in it got a little confused to say the least. Given the circumstances however, you are forgiven. The sound was much improved in the second half and given enough time to soundcheck I’m sure you could have got it right at the start. What an amazing building to play in though and overall a great gig despite the problems with the acoustics. Anyone got any pics?

  4. Michael Bruce Says:

    November 11th, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    It was a great night in a beautiful if rather cold building. Great to hear the new songs live and am looking forward to Demons. Me and the Devil indeed !

  5. Adrian Says:

    November 12th, 2010 at 4:08 am

    A great gig in a beautiful setting..no complaints about the sound at all and great to hear some ‘lesser known’ tunes. And thanks to OH Productions for putting on some great gigs in interesting venues..next week Beach House in Manchester Cathedral!

  6. Roy Graham Says:

    November 16th, 2010 at 7:46 am

    Glad you persevered in spite of the limitations of the venue – the first time I’d seen CJ, & I’d travelled 200 miles from Wiltshire (I live near Bath) – it was always going to be special for me, and it didn’t disappoint. Was a bit alarming to hear the soundcheck continuing right up to the time they opened the doors, by which time quite a queue had formed. But really it sounded fine, and what a fabulous setting. I was really pleased to get a seat in the front row – but I believe some folks farther back found it hard to see as the stage was hardly elevated at all. A good mix of old and new, and of quiet and louder extended numbers – I enjoy the way CJ have evolved over the years, but particularly like the Lay It Down / Open and (stripped down versions of) Miles from Home – it was still good to hear Misguided Angel from Trinity, but I was glad that CJ weren’t simply revisiting that album on this tour. A good mixed set with some interesting new songs (I’ve not yet bought Renmin Park), and I didn’t miss Sweet Jane or Tuesday Morning. Enjoyed seeing Margo hesitate and laugh during Good Friday before the ’2000 years ago…’ line! Hope to see CJ return to the UK soon.

  7. Shirley Says:

    November 19th, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    A fantastic concert. Maggot was great. Sound was great. Have seen the junkies loads and thisvenue was fantastic.
    Being Canadian helps………