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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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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

One of those voices

Here's the rest of the great Brian Davies article in the Positive Reaction fanzine from 1979. The Distractions and X-O-Dus - soon to both be signed for single deals by Tony Wilson's Factory Records - play the Rock Against Racism gig at Manchester Polytechnic.


MANCHESTER POLY - TUESDAY 3rd Apr. 1979.

DISTRACTIONS / EXODUS / BLACKSTONE

ROCK AGAINST RACISM GIG

MANCHESTER HERO BRIAN DAVIES WAS THERE!!!

The group formed about two years ago, when (I think) lead singer Mike Finney and guitarist Steve Perrin put an advert in NME, and from this, they got another guitarist Adrian Wright. He brought with him ex-Purple Gang drummer Alec, who had just returned from America. After they hassled Pete Shelley for a bass player they got Pip Nicholls. Tony Davidson, owner of the wealthy TJM label saw them and asked them to record for him. Within a week they had been in the studios and recorded the four tracks which make up the EP: "Doesn't Bother Me", "Nothing", "Maybe It's Love" and "Too Young". It was Single of the Week in NME and almost received the same accolade in 'Sounds'. The future looks quite rosy for one of Manchester's brightest hopes, with a gig in London soon at either the Marquee or Music Machine. The EP was a one-off and the band had signed a production deal with Arrow for the next single, possibly the brilliant "Still It Doesn't Ring".

Anyway to the gig. Brilliant with a couple of reservations. The band write superb tunes, but tend to play everything at 100 mph. This tends to blur the subtleties hidden away in the music, but the band's overall competence virtually makes up for this. 

The set was composed of 17 songs, all original apart from the Small Faces classic "Whattcha Gonna Do About It?". Unfortunately, the band had to curtail the set, due to the fact that time was running out, and there was another group to come on. Singer Mike looks like he would be more at home as a bank clerk, but he commands attention, in the middle of the stage and he has "one of those voices". 

Similar to Jake Burns, in that it makes you think that he can't sing like that all the time, but he does. Other stand out songs were "Paracetamol Paralysis" (nice title), "Time Goes By So Slow", all of the EP apart from "Doesn't Bother Me", which they wouldn't play due to time restrictions, the new single, and the much requested "Valerie". As their manager said, "They're the best pop group in the country!". You know, I think he's right. They don't lack a sense of humour either, especially Steve: "This is an anti-in tune song"! 

He says he is influenced by Velvet Underfround and the Bay City Rollers? I don't want to end with the usual "check 'em out" conclusion, but that's exactly what applies. They're a hard-working and extremely friendly band. CHECK 'EM OUT!!! 

Went home happy, and missed Blackstone, sorry!  

BRIAN DAVIES 

NEXT MONTH! 

 Possibly another article on THE DITRACTIONS, V2 interview, NOT SENSIBLE, more gig reviews. 

BRIAN in MANCHESTER!


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