Kamasi Washington, O2 Academy, Manchester

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I was working in Manchester and on the thirs night I headed out to go to the Academy to see a band. The act I was going to see was called Kamasi Washington and until yesterday I’d never heard of him. I did what I usually do when I’m in a city for a few days and googled to see if there were any gigs worth going to. This one came up and I liked the picture of this big black American sax player and what I had the chance to listen too on YouTube sounded good so I decided to go.

It was quite a long walk from where we were staying and took me past areas I would have gone while I lived in Manchester but none of it rang any bells. The city has changed so much since I lived here and so little of what I used to know is still around. I eventually found the place and was worried that there might not be any tickets left as the last tweet I’d seen said last few tickets but I was able to get one without having to resort to the tout who asked me twice if I wanted to buy or sell!

Once inside I was disappointed to find the venue seated. However it was free seating so I nabbed a seat about five rows from the front. The venue itself was quite uninspring, just a black box with a stage at one end. I had a pint and the support act were soon on. they were called Sarathay Korwar – which turned out to be the name of the drummer. The first minute or so made me think they were going to be awful but as soon as they started playing properly I realised that they were really good. The audience thought so too as they didn’t want them to go!

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I went to the loo during the break but gave up on the idea of getting a second drink as the queue was ridiculous! I headed back to my seat and a few minutes before the band came on the world’s tallest man came and sat in front of me. Luckily there were a couple of free seats so I moved along and ended up having a chat with the guy I was now sitting next to.

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The band were great from the start. They comprised of two drummers, upright bass, keyboards, trombone and backing singer as well as the main man himself on sax. They were also joined later by Kamasi’s father who played flute and sax – can’t say I’ve ever been to a gig where the artist introduced his dad as a special guest! I like things like this, two days ago I’d never heard of him, took a punt and saw one of the best shows I’ve seen in ages!

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I walked back to the hotel and as I did I spotted Canal street a few blocks over – you couldn’t really miss the huge GAY sign above one of the clubs – so I made a mental note to have a wander down that way tomorrow night!