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The Basement Live – Paddy O’Hare’s – Anything That Rocks on Fab Radio International

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Last Friday’s gig has a sweet story behind it, one which most music fans can appreciate as being pretty cool, nay inspiring, so this feature aims to retell it. This is the humble tale of how a dedicated fan came to put on gigs and play live with his favourite band. The man is Paddy O’Hare, the idol Supergrass and the partnership between Paddy’s band, his radio show Anything That Rocks and former Supergrass bassist Mick Quinn’s new project, the DB Band.

Back in 2005, after Supergrass released Road to Rouen, when Paddy was an avid fan he went to see the band play at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. This was when he first met lead singer and guitarist Gaz and bassist Mick. Hooked on the band, he and his friends attended their Manchester gigs religiously. However, whilst working on Release the Drones, Supergrass felt they were going in different directions and decided to split. When Paddy heard they were arranging a farewell tour in Manchester he got in touch with Mick to ask if he could meet them after the show. Whilst hanging out backstage with Mick and support The Coral, Mick mentioned his infantile project the DB Band. One EP (Stranger in the Alps) later, Paddy noticed the DB Band had been skimping on their tour dates in the north and offered to hook them up with some venues; Friday being their third collaborative gig.

8Paddy’s first band Blue Thatcher performed together up until 2008. In 2012, forged from former members of Blue Thatcher, his scratch band The Crusade did a one off performance supporting the DB Band at Uppermill Civic Hall. Afterwards, Paddy and his friend Mike Sweeney, who he had worked with previously as Producer on 106.1 Rock Radio (now Real XS), had an idea of forming an acoustic band. Sweeney had some half-finished songs and asked if Paddy was interested in jamming and seeing where it went. Over the next few months they discovered that they collaborated well, with their glossily finished rock and blues polished over two/three months spent working out lyrics and rhythms in Paddy’s living room. Mike Sweeney & Paddy O’Hare went from playing open mic nights to recording their first EP, bringing together a few more artists and snowballing into a collaborative five piece and playing plenty of support gigs with their resident drummer Phil Grainger. Now comprised of Dave Williams on bass, Matt Paddy Jones on mandolin, guitar, banjo and harmonica, Paddy and Mike’s sound is gumbo of blues, country and skiffle; the pair have even been told that they are the first punk skiffle band ever, breaking the mould and enjoying playing with a mixed bag of genres.

Now a fully-fledged musician himself, Paddy and his bands have previously supported the DB Band, giving him the rare opportunity to join one of his musical heroes on stage. One fateful night at Jackson’s Pit O’Hare and Sweeney’s bass and mandolin players dropped out, and so they asked Mick Quinn to join them onstage instead. A dream comes true for the once humble fan; Paddy was up on stage rocking out with his favourite artist. Since, the bands have crossed over members, melting into each other’s sets, creating an intimate feel to their joint performances.

With this budding musical collaboration in mind, this evening’s performance will see Paddy 0’Hare’s Anything That Rocks Show (as broadcast on new Manchester based internet station Fab Radio International) present DB Band plus Mike Sweeney & Paddy O’Hare with The Collective and support at the Basement Live in Oldham.

Soloist David Cooper opened the night with an acoustic performance, an act we sadly missed due to lack of punctuality, but who I am keen to talk about anyway. Hailing from Rochdale, blues man Cooper is fairly fresh meat in the music game, a welcome change from the generic indie four piece so often spied on the local scene and sounding a new generation of 30s inspired artists. Cooper claims “he didn’t find the blues, the blues found him”, suggesting a natural flair for mashing guitar and vocals which is reflected on his self-titled album. Despite missing the set tRM were lucky to receive his CD so watch this space for a review.

O’Hare and Sweeney are next on stage and receive a warm reception, there are plenty of beaming faces and clapping hands in the audience as the band perform a nostalgic selection of feel good country and blues rock songs. Despite the other members of the full band having only joined very recently (the previous week!), the musicians jam together well and have a natural chemistry. The bond between the two frontmen is evident as they casually banter with each other and the crowd between songs. This creates a laid back atmosphere allowing the crowd to relax and enjoy themselves rather than standing on ceremony in the low ceilinged basement. Filling the room with warmth and energy, O’Hare and Sweeney set a great mood for the rest of the evening.

17The penultimate band are The Rivertairs, who perform jangly guitar licks, throwback 60s pop sounds and sweet harmonies, offering a chirpier feel in contrast to the garage rock headliners. It may have been intentional but some of their tracks felt a bit washed out, the continuity of instruments loosing themselves in one another. The three piece use vocal harmonies to pepper their melodies with a vintage feel and provided us with a set of lovely indie pop tracks.

In the interlude between bands, my photographer and I go out for a cigarette and by chance bump into Paul “Fab” Wilson the bassist/guitarist from the DB Band (Mick and he swap during their sets you see). He is an interesting character and veteran musician, who tells us that his band is a product of a long friendship and a passion for music, fitting the down to earth yet youthfully playful attitude displayed by the band in their video for single “Loosen Up” (also the title track of their second EP). Onstage this persona is again confirmed, totally relaxed the band deliver flawlessly stark sounding garage rock. Tonight sees another cross over with Paddy joining their set to play guitar track on ‘Falling Down’ adding to the collaborative feel of the night. Clearly masters of their instruments, they succeed in getting the crowd to rock out to their powerfully delivered and fast paced rhythms. A pleasant surprise the headline act surpassed expectation and were a certain crowd pleaser.

Finally, a no-brainer inclusion to the set list is Twisted Wheel bassist Max Lees on DJ duties. Tonight he serenades us the crowd, that remain from one until four am, with 60s, Motown and blues.

Paddy O’Hare’s Anything that Rocks put on a unique night fusing together four different avenues of live rock music. We have heard blues, country, indie pop and smart garage rock, in an mash-up indulging in the heavier things. Manchester’s music scene has always had its peaks and troughs; in the wake of the 90s boom. Since the early 00s there has  been a struggle to find something newly inspired with the city lacking in a freshly emerging musical culture. What O’Hare has achieved in uniting so many local acts and in encouraging a band of excellent musicians to return to play here is a resilience to this temporal artistic depression. What was so wonderful about the Basement Live gig was, apart from the beautiful music, the communal atmosphere. All the artists’ collaborative efforts made the event the success it was, hence creating a friendly feeling amongst the audience and making the event all the more enjoyable and memorable. Let’s hope to hear a lot more noise from the evening acts and Anything That Rocks presentations in future.

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