Manchester Eurocultured Festival

Down this street in Manchester on Monday was a music festival called Eurocultured. I thought I was going to the Dot To Dot festival, but that wasn’t tucked down a small graffiti street. With the promise of Swedish synth bands, this seemed to be more my thing.

I really liked the atmosphere of the event. The skies may have been promising rain, but the place was full of colour and charm. This may have been thanks to the really awesome graffiti walls on the closed buildings. With the road closed off, it was like being in a secret avenue as people in garish outfits and a pub trying to sell handmade bags invaded the normal business and characters which would usually be loitering around here. One gig was under a closed off bridge! How cool? Very cool? I also enjoyed the warehouse with the caravan selling tea and the pub with the caged origami birds. I imagine this is what Diagon Alley looks like in Harry Potter. Couldn’t find someone to sell me a wand though, could have got some magic related things though…

Under the bridge was my first stop on my way to being Eurocultured, and it featured a Spanish band who liked to play popular songs with their own deep lyrics. Smoke On The Water with ‘Put your hands in the air’ replacing all the standard lyrics was a spark of genius. No one put there hands in the air. Some guys were going crazy earlier though, jumping around like they just don’t care. That’s the spirit! This was the part of the event which smelt strongly of weed, Mikey P must have been around here.

Mikey P was a new friend I made on my way to being Eurocultured. He strolled up to me, plonked two drinks down and then started telling me about something very important. I accepted the free drink, some green alcoholic beverage with leaves floating to the top, and nodded and laughed at appropriate moments. After we had understood one another completely he turned to find some clubbing. Apart from his mumblings of the word ‘Bolton’, I hadn’t a clue was he was saying. At least he didn’t punch me.

Hey look at that, it’s a caravan in a warehouse! I was curious to what was going on with the people constantly walking in and out so had to investigate. Turns out it was a little tea house for the refined. I thought it was a gateway to the countryside.

The roof was mesmerising in the warehouse. The colour of the titles changing from grey to blue as they curved round was a thing of beauty and when listening to the bands I couldn’t help but look up. Away from the acoustic playing girl from beyond the Prairie and the instrumental band which sounded like a cross between Iron Maiden and Rush. No idea where they came from, I guessed Denmark. You won’t learn anything if you walk in halfway through a performance, you can only watch the crazy fifty year old with the purple poo hat dance in her own Zen like state to heavy metal. You’d think she was listening to Sixousie and the Banshees the way she swayed.

Speaking of Sixousie, there was a lady who had a similar style. Though a bit shriller and a bit more keyboard, how can you have more keyboard? It was a great performance though and while my friend said she sounded like a dog barking, I was impressed. I am one of the only fans of the Banshees though, maybe I’m just easily pleased. I didn’t like the way she danced though, the way she bobbed about in circles just didn’t seem fitting to the tone.

My sister’s boyfriends band The Electric Kools played in the same venue too, a hot modern looking bar with comfy seats you could fall asleep in, and I almost did. They reminded me a little of Oasis in voice and something heavier in performance. It was a way to wake me up for sure. Trilby’s I’m no fan of though.

There is only one more band for me to talk about which was perhaps my favourite of them all. They were called the Lisbons and they were a fantastic mix of Talking Heads and The Silent League. My friend said they sounded like The Smiths, but I didn’t see it, I wouldn’t be having so much fun if they did. It amused me that the bassist looked like the lead singers Dad. Family band perhaps, or maybe the singer was lucky enough to avoid going grey or bald yet. A child in his later years. They had a really swinging song about some woman which I just had to dance to, though like most of the song names pushed around that day, I remember none of them. Only the beat burning through my soul leaves a mark.

Though what beat all the bands were these stairs. I was entranced the moment I saw the indoor yet outdoor looking steps leading to two different places. It’s like a roof was thrown on a back alley and the metallic clanging of each step was the rhythm I was looking for. The bouncer didn’t understand my excitement, no one did. Is it wrong to find stairs so exciting? The only thing which would have beaten this is if there were stairs leading underground. If it was outdoors, I wouldn’t have cared one bit though, location is always important. I think that free drink with the leaves did something funny to my mind.

And so Eurocultured came to an end for me. I’m not sure how much culture I experienced. I didn’t get the Swedish synth band I was hoping for, but I did learn the Spanish like to have people’s arms in the air, the woman over the prairie needs a backing band and the supposed Denmark lot like long guitar solos. Maybe they were from Manchester and I just wanted it to be a bit more exotic. I will never know.


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