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First Tuesday current affairs - Tuesday 7 November 7:00pm start
Manchester music reviews
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Manchester music reviews

The Straits

The Straits at Liverpool Philharmonic

Reviewed by Simon Belt October 2011

The Straits were formed by former members Dire Straits Alan Clark, Phil Palmer and Chris White, after a few fun and feeler gigs in the summer of 2011 - to play the band’s much loved catalogue of great songs to a loyal and new audience alike. After huge success with albums including Making Movies and Brothers in Arms, in a career that saw them sell 120 million albums worldwide, recieve three BRIT Awards, four Grammys and two MTV Music Awards, it's unthinkable that such a huge musical impact could be just left alone.

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Manchester music reviews

David Soar (Leporello) i statue Nuccia Focile (Donna Elvira) in Don Giovanni by WNO Photo: Richard H Smtih

Welsh National Opera at Liverpool Empire

by Denis Joe October 2011

Mozart: Don Giovanni
Rossini: The Barber of Seville
Janáček: Katya Kabanova


Sadly, the Welsh National Opera only visit Liverpool for one season in a year, and is one of the highlights of the year. Opera in Britain is really strong with regional companies such as Welsh National Opera, Opera North and Scottish Opera consistently produce seasons of the highest quality, bringing neglected works to the public. Opera has had a reputation for being an elitist art form, but since the late 1980s, when I first started to go to see live opera, it was not unusual to see young people in jeans and t-shirts in the audience. The idea that the entrance fee is prohibitive is also a myth as it is no more expensive than a football match and far cheaper than going to see a band at some local stadium.

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Manchester music reviews

Ian McCulloch

Echo and The Bunnymen at Liverpool Philharmonic

Reviewed by Jane Turner October 2011

Stop the Press: McCulloch the messiah incites mutiny!


Last night I witnessed a reluctant rebellion in the aisles of the Liverpool Philharmonic! The messiah McCulloch with tongue in cheek, rebelliously called on his followers to “fill that aisle” after an earlier comment that he had “never seen so many obedient people sitting down instead of standing up”. As the messiah spoke of “so many regulations that it is now impossible to make a Lancashire sausage” his followers were roused from their seats and took to dancing in the aisles with gusto – an activity not seen around here for years. Hundreds of happy people ignored the anxious gesticulating of the “chuckle brothers” as McCulloch had cheekily nicknamed the “bouncers”, and the people were at last back in their rightful place, on the land that was rightfully theirs and dancing in the aisles instead of wiggling politely from in or behind their seats. In an appeal to the “chuckle brothers” McCulloch declared “these are our people, they’re not doing anything wrong” and with that the party really got started; Echo and The Bunnymen were back in town!

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Manchester music reviews

Ramsbottom Festival

Ramsbottom Festival at the Cricket Club

Reviewed by Helen Nugent September 2011


In a country where there are more music festivals than you can shake a stick at, is it folly to launch a new one? The organisers of the new Ramsbottom Festival didn’t think so. And judging by the weekend’s entertainment this boutique event deserves a permanent place in the summer festival fixture list.


Before a musician had played a note, the Ramsbottom Festival looked like a promising bet. Who could fail to love a festival which, in addition to a main arena, had a second performance area entitled ‘T’Other Stage’? Added to this was a Beer Tent serving locally-brewed delights (including the fragrantly-floral Ramsbottom Festival Ale) and a range of mouth-watering treats in the Food Village. Kids were also well-catered for in this family-friendly town nestled in the shadow of the West Pennines.

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Manchester music reviews

Stefano Bollani

Gorgeous Gershwin

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Stefano Bollani piano and Clark Rundell conductor

by Denis Joe July 2011

at Royal Liverpool Philharmonic


Overture, Strike up the band!
Gershwin Songs
Piano Improvisation
Porgy and Bess: A Symphonic Picture
Rhapsody in Blue


Higuchi: “If only the whole world would listen to Gershwin”
[Wild Life –Shinji Aoyama]

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