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Welcome to the official Distractions website. We will be aiming to record the history of one of the greatest, but least heralded, of all Manchester beat groups.

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Still coming up with the tunes

The first review of Friday night's End Of The Pier Shows was by Mike at the Behind The Curve blog with photos by Maurice Burns (read the whole entry at the blog which includes the June Brides and Factory Star):

Looking back to the eighties, Indie music had a different kind of follower: students of a more mixed and open minded base from a time when higher education was free, the now forgotten bedsitter – creatively aspirational but skint, and school age kids marginalised for not fitting in with the orthodoxies of the times. 

From Young Marble Giants rejecting the grandiose approach, the decade’s musical landscape can be positively straddled in a way that bypasses the era's stylisms.  Around ’86, I went to watch a few of the June Brides’ peers at Cardiff Neros: Shop Assistants, Mighty Lemon Drops and We’ve got a Fuzzbox.  We were viewed suspiciously by the staff and frisked at the doorway.  A Facebook group dedicated to this venue from this time has stories of bouncer heavy handedness and the victims wouldn't have relished being taken to the club's exit leading to an alleyway.  At bigger venues, the level of security was even more disproportionate with the view that there can never be enough ticket checkers.

In the Manchester area, they have long known that the Indie kid isn’t the enemy within.  I had heard the stories before moving up and was subsequently surprised at how relaxed things turned out to be.  Here in the Kings Arms there doesn’t appear to be anyone checking my details against the names of the people who have made this a sold out gig; no-one doing anything as officious as putting a mark on the back of my hand.  I ask the nearest person by the desk, Frank of the June Brides, who tells me the person with the clipboard hasn’t been around recently.  But there is no free for all at this gig.  People are friendly and easy going.  The desk man doesn’t appear to have been required...

Mike Finney, Arash Torabi, Steve Perrin. (c) Maurice Burns at Behind The Curve.

I have come late to the Distractions and, from the run-up to this gig, it’s obvious that they have a much cherished past.  Mainly inactive in the 32 years since their first LP, guitarist and song writer Steve Perrin has flown in from the Sothern hemisphere for some recordings and gigs.  It’s an intriguing sound.  There seems to be early sixties influences in the tunes and vocal style, shot through with the stamp of late seventies post punk Manchester.

Amongst the fine group onstage, there is 65 year old Mike Kellie of The Only Ones on drumming duties.  One of the few people to make the transition from classic rock to new wave (he is credited with playing on the Rock Opera Tommy) I’ve wondered how he adapted to playing a more frenetic sound.  And 34 years on from Another Girl, Another Planet, he’s again playing with a band that are lithe and lean.  All reports from the new CD indicate that they are still coming up with the tunes.  Time Goes By So Slow, a classic single, is thankfully fitted in before a message appears to be sent that the band have to wrap things up.  Some boos that greeted this news was the only negative murmurs of the night.

(c) Mike at Behind The Curve.

Regarding the last few lines, there was indeed an unexpected curfew imposed with three minutes to go!  Time Goes By So Slow was the only answer to that and sadly about 3 songs were cut.  Thankfully, the timings for Saturday night were tinkered with so that a full set list ensued.  

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