Review // Made Here Manchester @ London Road

Words and photos by Ged Camera.

There were a few more plants growing from cracks between bricks since the last time I was inside London Road Fire Station over 30 years ago. The courtyard that was always wet from the dirty water used to clean the fire tenders was today bathed in warm, autumnal sunshine.

After a seemingly never-ending period of seemingly terminal decline, a bright future seems to be on the horizon for the London Road building, an iconic feature of the Manchester skyline. To help mark this progress, a series of open day events have been organised.

As the relatively swiftly moving entry queues wrapped themselves around the building, it was all very amicable inside, with children exploring the dark interiors whilst adults browsed, and sometimes thankfully bought, the fruits of the exhibiting designers’ labours. Others took time to look at the fading, peeling paint works and impressive architecture.

The tent erected at one end of the yard formed the focus of the musical offerings, via a series of DJs with their own distinctive and disparate tastes, interspersed between live artists.

Although the deckchairs laid out in front of the performance area – to call it a stage would be pushing it a bit – seemed unreserved, with immaculate timing, about two minutes before each of the live artists took their places, the seats were filled with people who took to resting themselves between queuing up for ale or food.

With the central theme being to showcase emerging talent of all disciplines, it made sense that all the artist were from or based in the area, including Liam Frost, Foxtales, Saytr Play and Stillia.

Feed The Kid playing at the disused fire station on London Road, Manchester

Feed The Kid playing at the disused fire station on London Road, Manchester

Feed The Kid have been gigging hard and writing new material over the last two years or so since they won the MPA new music award, even acquiring a new keyboardist along the way. An openair venue with little ability to control the acoustics may not necessarily be the best place to catch the band, but they have the ability to tailor their set to match the mood of the occasion. Front man Curtis Taylor has the swagger and manner to grab viewers’ attentions, but the six-piece hint that they are only just getting into a rhythm for the future.

Even more keenly anticipated by the crowd was the appearance of Aaron and Kurtis Starkie, two parts of the Slow Readers Club. Each was armed with a guitar, each with enticing vocals and appreciated lyrics. Playing a short, acoustic set, the stripped-down versions of their songs drew enthusiastic cheers, particularly for titles such as ‘Cavalcade’ and ‘Forever In Your Debt’.

Then again, the Starkie family have a connection with the fire brigade, so their appearance fitted in with the event’s venue, as well as its premise to highlight the abundance of promising talent in Manchester, organised mainly by Allied London who sought out local promoters and organisers such as Studio DBD, Made Here In Manchester and Jamie Scahill.

There are a couple more events planned, with one in October, so listen for the alarm bells.

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Made Here took place at London Road on Saturday 10 September, 2016.

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