Much has happened since the Roman fort of Mamucium was established in 79 AD. After becoming the world’s first industrialized city, Manchester went on to become one of the most famous music cities in the world.

One might argue that being the place where they build the world’s first stored-program computer in 1948, as well as where Rutherford first split the atom and also having one of the world’s first railway stations, Manchester has been on the edge of innovation for a long time.

Free Trade Hall, Manchester Free Trade Hall.

But I bet very few people know of these things. Probably better known to a wider audience is the Manchester music scene. One of the things that kick-started it all was a gig with Sex Pistols at Lesser Free Trade Hall in 1976.

Even though only about 40 people were attending, the audience contained names such as Morrissey (The Smiths), Ian Curtis + Bernard Sumner + Peter Hook (Joy Division / New Order), Tony Wilson (Hacienda, Factory Records), Pete Shelley (Buzzcocks), Mick Hucknall (Simply Red) and more, which all would come to play an important part for the next decade.

According to the book by Dave Haslam, there were actually two gigs, June 4 and July 20, and it seems like a lot more than 40 people all claim that they were there on this/these historic gigs. But disregarding the lore and myths, it still remains a crucial event.

Salsford Lads Club, Manchester Salsford Lads Club.

A few years later, the scene was blooming and the term “Madchester” was invented by Tony Wilson. The Hacienda club was initiated by members of New Order, after they had been experienced the club scene in New York and wanted to bring that feeling back to England. At first Hacienda was a live venue, with artists such as Madonna trying to move the feet of a few hundred spectators on her first UK performance, and Einst├╝rzende Neubauten drilling in the walls. Unfortunately the concept changed and by 1987 Hacienda had become known as a dance club for house music.

Manchester is the city of bands such as Joy Division and New Order, Morrissey and The Smiths, Chemical Brothers, The Verve, The Future Sound of London, The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Oasis, Lamb, Autechre, Buzzcocks, Bee Gees, Simply Red, The Hollies and many many more.

We walked all the way to Salsford Lads Club on the corner of St Ignatius Walk and Coronation Street. The facade was immortalized as the place where The Smiths posed for a photo to their 1986 album “Queen Is Dead”. The corner can also be seen in some of their videos.

It feels strange to walk on the streets where Morrissey and Ian Curtis once roamed, but the show must go on.


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