Barrelhouse Trio, Matt & Phreds, Manchester

I had travelled down to Manchester on my own by train and when I arrived I knew that the others had already gone out to eat and to be honest I was actually glad to be on my own for once so I could do what I wanted. I had formulated a plan on the way down remembering that Matt & Phreds does food as well as jazz and beer!

The only thing I was worried about was that when I have been in the past I haven’t been able to get a table until the end of the first set but I decided not to let that worry me and set off to walk to the club which was about ten minutes away. The streets were quite busy probably because the sun had been shining all day and when I got to Matt and Phreds it was almost empty.

The band, the Barrelhouse trio were already on stage when I went in so I went to the bar and ordered pizza and some wedges before grabbing a seat on the side nearest to the stage. I’ve not been able to sit here before as they are almost always full but tonight I’m in luck.

There was sax, bass and drums and I was a bit confused because the brief look I’d had at the venues website had led me to expect that the group had a female bassist but he clearly wasn’t! My food arrived and it felt really strange eating while the band were playing, not sure I’ve ever done that before! Typically I took a bite of the pizza and the hot cheese stuck to the roof of my mouth!

More people started coming in and one group in particular pissed me off. They came in and grabbed a table near the front and then proceeded to talk and shout out to each other over the top of the band. I just don’t get it, there are plenty of other tables at the back of the club that you could sit at if you want to chat, why come straight to the front especially when you seem to have no interest at all in the band.

This is one of the things that I don’t like about Matt and Phreds and as time went on and more people came in the volume of audience chattee just got higher and higher. Some people came and sat on the table next to me and they talked over the music the whole time and then had the cheek to enthusiastically applaud at the end of the tune they hadn’t been listening to.

A short way into the second set the sax player started to have issues with his instrument which threw some of the tracks off. They weren’t the best group I’ve seen here but they were enjoyable. It would have helped if their announcements had been understandable! Just before the end of the second set I decided to call it a night and headed back to the hotel. The streets were quieter than they had been earlier but there were a lot of rough sleepers which I’ll discuss later!