Blind Monk Trio, Matt & Phreds, Manchester

Off to Manchester today – we set off just after lunch and we’re at the hotel at around 5:30. As some of the crew have to go and rig at midnight we end up having dinner really early at 6 and even though the service in the hotel is really really slow we’re all done by just after 7:30 and everyone just disappeared off to their rooms.

Well I was buggered if I was just going to sit in my room and watch TV all night so I had a quick Google and found out that there was a Jazz Club near to the pub we have drank in when we’ve been done here before. What’s more there’s a band on tonight and it’s free. Furthermore the description intrigues me: “a monster mash up of John Coltrane, Nirvana, Buddy Rich & Led Zeppelin”

So I head out into the evening and walk up to Piccadilly then I find Tib Street and walk down it looking for the club. At one junction I spot a shop opposite that has the same outside design that I saw when I was looking for Piccadiily Records online so I walk round into Oldham Street and sure enough there it is. I must have walked past it several times in the past two years I have no idea how I didn’t spot it! Anyway it’s obviously closed so I walk down the next side street and back onto Tib street. The club Matt and Phreds is, I find,  a few yards further up. It looks ok from the outside so no last minute bottling of it and I walk in and head for the bar just as the band start bringing their instruments in.

In addition to having live Jazz the bar also has draught Hobgoblin at the not too extortionate price of £3.65 a pint – even my northernness can cope with that! I buy a pint and receive one of the new five pound notes in my change – the first one I’ve had! I look round and there are lots of tables but a lot of them have couples sitting at them. I spot a free table near the front of the bar and go and sit there. I can see the band bringing their instruments in and setting them up on stage – there’s drums, double bass (he had fun getting that through the front door!) and a sax. My beer runs out just as it looks like the band are about to start so I pop back to the bar and get another.

I move closer to the stage and find a spot to stand so I can see and hear. After the first song or so I realise that I have probably not chosen a good place as it’s at the foot of the stairs up to the ladies loo so I looked round and spotted a couple of spare stools. I nab one and pop it into a space between two tables where I’ve got quite a good view of the stage.

I have to say that the band were very good but I didn’t see the influences listed on the web page! The sax played reminded me of Sonny Rollins and Didier Malherbe (Gong) at times, the bassist was very good and the drummer seemed very popular with the audience (well those who were actually listening!) I found that the chatter in the room was very distracting and in the end contributed to my decision to leave just before the end of the second set.I mean seriously people – if you’re going to go to a jazz club you could at least STFU while the band are playing #rude

The band by the way are called Blind Monk Trio – they’re based in Manchester and Liverpool and well worth checking out!