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Band on the Wall unveils launch showcase

We've got news of music legends playing at Band on the Wall when it reopens in September

Published on June 11th 2009.

Band on the Wall unveils launch showcase

If you're into live music, you'll have felt a Band on the Wall-shaped hole in your life over the last few years. When this concert venue and bar closed for redevelopment in 2005, it left the city's gig goers with a thinner spread than they'd been accustomed to. Band on the Wall had been part of Manchester's music scene since the 1930s, when accordionists entertained the fruit and veg traders from the Smithfield Market next door. Without it, Swan Street seemed oddly quiet and featureless.

New venues like The Ruby Lounge and Moho Live sprang up but there was still something missing on the gig scene. Band on the Wall was always a very individual venue – in its atmosphere and its programme of music, which featured respected, sometimes legendary artists from across the spectrum, rather than just whoever was scaling the charts at that time.

It's not easy to classify its music policy; 'quality' could be the best word. Back in the 1970s it was a jazz venue before it became a centre point for the city's burgeoning punk scene with acts including The Buzzcocks and Joy Division playing there. In the 1980s it branched out into world music, bringing renowned artists from all over the globe to Manchester audiences.

On 25 September, Band on the Wall finally reopens with month-long international music showcase that shows it hasn't lost touch with its roots, despite the new features, such as a top new sound system, a concert grand piano, and audio-visual and sound studios in a multi-use social space called the Picturehouse.

The opening concert on Friday 25 September is a double bill of soul diva Mica Paris with legendary jazz pianist Julian Johnson. Punk (or post-punk funk to be more accurate) is represented by Factory Records signing A Certain Ratio on Saturday 26 September. World music fans will be excited by an appearance from internationally acclaimed Malian ngoni player Bassekou Kouyate on Thursday 22 October.

Other highlights include 2008 Mercury Music Prize nominated The Unthanks (Formerly Rachel Unthank and The Winter Set) on Monday 19 and Tuesday 20 October and sonic dub master Mad Professor with The Ariwa Posse on Friday 16 October.

The listings confirmed so far are below, but Mike Chadwick, Band on the Wall's music programmer, says there's many more to be announced. To get advance event notifications and discounts, sign up to the venue’s mailing list at bandonthewall.org. For tickets, call 0845 2 500 500.

Full details of artists for Back To Our Place showcase:

Fri 25 September, Mica Paris and Julian Joseph Opening Concert
Sat 26 September, A Certain Ratio
Thu 01 October, Bugge Wesseltoft
Fri 09 October, Michael McGoldrick Big Band
Sat 10 October, Lucy Kaplansky
Tue 13 October, Devon Sproule
Thu 15 October, African Jazz Allstars
Fri 16 October, Mad Professor and the Ariwa Posse
Mon 19 October, The Unthanks
Tue 20 October, The Unthanks
Thu 22 October, Bassekou Kouyate
Fri 23 October, Jim Moray
Mon 26 October, Nine Below Zero (Unplugged)
Tue 27 October, Nine Below Zero (Electric)
Thu 29 October, Francis Dunnery's Brand New It Bites
Fri 30 October, Francis Dunnery's Brand New It Bites
Sat 31 October, Kaidi Tatham Band

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