Manchester. Madchester. Maaanchestaaah.
The Shores was born. Ellis was dead. Another painstaking name game was played and ‘The Shores’ was the winner. For some reason Craig wasn’t there when we decided. Just as well, his idea was ‘Kapri’…
Manchester is a hub of musical activity. Venues like Night and Day Café, The Roadhouse, The Music Box, Jabez Clegg and The Academy gave us plenty of options for our assault on the Manchester music scene.
Manchester was (and still might be) full of Gallagherites. Ryan may read this and think ‘That’s rich…’, but it was. Swagger, attitude, hair, swagger, Red Stripe, hair, soonsheeeine, hair. It was everywhere. Neanderthal ‘front men’ sneering at everything that moved, moody bass players and self-absorbed guitarists ruled over tiny stages with nominal crowds watching. The Shores were different.
Ryan had (and has) an exceptional voice. Coupled with the fact that he knew (and probably knows) how to write a chart-topping song, The Shores had more of a chance than any Mancunian band at the time. Ryan, in a funny way, was (and is) my hero. Craig was a textbook bassist, with timing, eloquence and a presence befitting any band. Danny was the sound of the band. With impeccable solo’s that weren’t too ‘wanky’ and a sense of how things should be… Never bought any of his own plectrums, though.
Me? I just hit stuff. In time. Mostly.
The majority of gigs we played were ‘showcases’. Get 5 bands, let them play for 25 minutes each, see how many people they bring to the venue, re-book them. A pathetic strategy by the ‘promoters’ I mentioned earlier. We did meet a couple of great bands along the way, though.
We embarked on an England-wide tour a year or so in. We covered Sheffield, London, Liverpool, Leicester, Bristol and London. At every one of those gigs at least one person was there to see us. In Leicester it was exactly one (and the bar staff). That particular gig we bumped into a band we had played with before. Their name was Riley, and they changed the way we wrote songs. A band with exceptional talent, they taught us the art of the ‘uplifting chorus’. They did get signed, but sadly it came to nothing.
Liverpool. Where do you think we played in Liverpool?
The Cavern in Liverpool is not the original building. It has now been moved (brick by brick, apparently) across the road to make way for a car park. Liverpool City Council – be fucking ashamed. Ashamed.
That was the first time we played with Riley. Danny forgot his Adidas hold-all and it had all his leads and pedals in it. Ryan and Danny had a proper ‘set-to’ while we were sound-checking about how Danny could be so irresponsible. So much so, that I stood up from behind my drum kit and flung my sticks at them. More about their relationship later…
Gigs came and went. We were quickly proving ourselves to be one of the brightest prospects from the Manchester music scene. We played in Bar Cuba again.
The Shores were about to prove their worth…