A Flash of Inspiration | Against the Grain


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Against the Grain

January 08, 2015  •  6 Comments


One of the first live concerts I ever experienced was local band Joy Division. That was way back in 1979 in Manchester. The following year Ian Curtis - the lead singer of Joy Division - committed suicide on the eve of their first US tour. But the influence of their melancholic music can still be heard today.  I tend to like my photos as I like my music. I find bright and pretty difficult to capture.  Joy Division's first album Unknown Pleasures was recorded just down the road at Strawberry Studios and released on Tony Wilson's legendary Factory Records label.

Last month it was announced in the government's autumn budget that a £78 million arts and theatre centre will be built in Manchester on the former site of Granada Television Studios before the move to Media City at Salford Quays. And the name of the new venue? The Factory. 

Anyway, I became completely hooked with live music and have been ever since which brings me to my photo.  I was mesmerised by the light as it swept across the Manchester Arena at the recent Kasabian concert. Super-extra-grainy, grungy, atmospheric … and so perfect in black and white. 

We used to hang around Piccadilly Records- an independent store-  in Manchester on a Saturday afternoon. I recall there was a long scrappy hand-written list of artists and venues by the sales counter - it was fun to pick out a band at random to see that night. I don't know if it's in my imagination but it was much more affordable back then. (Or perhaps I had different priorities!) 

So…I'd love to hear - what are your early live music memories?



about 10 years ago I was sent to film the demolition of the Free Trade Hall ... I insisted on placing my tripod exactly in the spot where I had seen the Stranglers in the late seventies.
I am not ashamed to say that there was more than one tear shed that day
Oh my gosh Helen!!! I was HUGE Joy Division fan!! I can't believe you got to see them live! So jealous!! I didn't discover them until the mid-80s so a little too late to see them ever perform.
Kelly L McKenzie(non-registered)
What a photo! Wow. My first concert was Led Zeppelin in the mid 70s. I was with my sister who knew all the words of every song and I knew not one luck of any song. Had a hoot though. Saw the Beach Boys next and I knew every word of every song. So much fun. My last concert was Rod Stewart. It was last year and he was amazing! Such energy.
Viv Halliwell(non-registered)
Let's see. Thin Lizzy, Genesis, Camel, Led Zep, The Eagles, Elvis Costello, David Bowie, Queen and Neil Finn (Crowded House). Not so much these days it tends to be world or folk, but nothing beats the sound of a live gig. When I was a student it was the fashion to try and get the running order list from the stage I have a few !!!.
Love this story of your early music experience. I remember going to see Scorpions and Bon Jovi (before they were popular) back in high school. So long ago and so many dumb choices.
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