Arden Road - £8/7 - 8pm start
INCA BABIES + SAM FORREST + 32:20
+ dj set from Ragged Richmen
The story of the Inca Babies began in the now-legendary deck access flats of Hulme in Manchester, intended as post-slum clearance ‘cities in the sky’ for young executives but quickly decaying into cockroach-infested concrete flats inhabited mostly by students, squatters, drug addicts and dealers.
The band was formed by Harry Stafford (guitar), Bill Marten (aka Bonney) on bass, Julian Woropay (vocals) and Alan Brown (drums), taking influences from Link Wray, The Cramps, The Gun Club and The Birthday Party. This was an unusual stylistic mixture for Manchester music at the time, more closely associated with Joy Division, The Fall and The Smiths.
Their debut single The Interior was released in November 1983 on their own Black Lagoon label and the follow-up Grunt Cadillac Hotel reached number 6 in the UK indie chart in 1984.
(see video of Grunt Cadillac Hotel at The Hacienda)
Vocals Mike Keeble. Guitar Harry Stafford, Bass Bill Marten Drums Alan Brown
Singles chart success bode well for the band: the Big Jugular EP and fourth single The Judge both made the indie top 10, while a number three slot for their debut album Rumble (1985) paved the way for tours of Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria and Scandinavia.
Three albums followed in as many years as the band consolidated their sound on vinyl - This Train (1986), Opium Den (mini-LP, 1987) and Evil Hour (1988). Alongside the vinyl releases, the Inca Babies also recorded four sessions for BBC Radio’s John Peel Show between 1984 and 1986.
Despite an ever-changing line-up of drummers and singers around Stafford and Marten, the band released a further six singles. Notably, 1988's Evil Hour featured Clint Boon of Inspiral Carpets on keyboards and Hulme multi-instrumentalist Alan Brown of bIG fLAME and The Great Leap Forward was also drummer for a time.
This video shows Mike Keeble and Alan Brown performing Superior Spectre at Manchester’s Hacienda.
Among highlights were appearances on German television TV Blau Weiss in October 1986. This video shows the band performing Opium Den with Stafford having switched to vocals, with some Darren Bullows on guitar and Pete Bogg the drummer.
As musical tastes changed to dance and ecstasy took a toll on the guitar bands of the 1980s, the band folded at the turn of the 1990s. Marten and Stafford re-grouped under a new name ‘Hound God with a Tumour’, all metal percussion and drum loops but swimming against the tastes of the day.
Much later in 2006 Cherry Red released the ’Best of’ compilation Plutonium, and the band reformed a year later recruiting Gold Blade drummer Rob Haynes for a concert in Munich marking the 20th anniversary of the booking agency IBD. The Inca Babies had been the agency's first overseas act.
This line-up performed at several venues in the UK and Stafford began work on a new album before the sudden death of Bill Marten in August 2008. This live video shows Bill playing the opening track of the album he wouldn’t live to see released, Death Message Blues.
Video: Phantom Track live at The Hope and Anchor
Harry Stafford (guitar, singer), Bill Marten (bass), Rob Haynes (drums)
With the band’s future uncertain, former A Witness bassist Vince Hunt, a long-standing friend of both Stafford and Marten, stepped in to complete the album and for dates across Europe in late 2009 and 2010. He continues to play live and record with the band.
This video shows the current line-up in a film for the band’s first single for 25 years, My Sick Suburb.
READ: Swamplandzine’s illuminating interview with Harry from 2010:
From his home studio in North Yorkshire, Sam Forrest has spent the past few years exploring a sound a world away from his work as singer of the grunge rock band Nine Black Alps.
With over ten years of major label releases and world tours behind him, Sam has invested his time mining the rich vein of alternative singer/songwriters such as Neil Young, Elliott Smith and Nico.
Instead of the previous sonic assault of distorted guitars, Sam's solo work now finds equal intensity in the realm of hushed double-tracked vocals, acoustic waltzes and elliptical lyrical imagery.
'Population 4000' represents Sam's boldest work to date, utilising a wide range of instrumentation and textures to tell the story of a fictional town in the north of England.
Oneandother.com - 'Beautiful, dark and a little left field'
Ninehertz.co.uk - 'Low-slung indie rock in the vein of a more happy and pacey Codeine or a less lethargic Dinosaur Jr'
Mudkiss.com - 'A delicious combination of highly integrated, intense, enveloping sound, bittersweet chocolate, dark and deep, subverting, diverting sixties psychedelia'
Syffal.com - 'Dark, aching, luscious indie folk that drives you to the edge of suicide before you realize that it is songs like Crow that make life worth living'
“I don’t call 911, I call .357” Thus spoke R. L. Burnside. What he meant was he didn’t follow the conventional rules. 32:20s ethos is the same; we don’t follow trends, or go on wild goose chases, or listen to consultants. We just believe in the blues. That’s what we play; we have no desire to have a hit record, or a follow up. We play the blues, or as near to it as we can get.
We like purity, so we listen to (amongst others) Keith Richards, Bukka White, Johnny Winter, Roy Buchanan, Rory Gallagher, Peter Green, Danny Kirwan, Dr. Feelgood, Canned Heat, Muddy Waters; these are just some of our influences. Yet we try to do it our way, not that we think we’re better (God forbid). We just believe that to follow in the footsteps of the greats is to do it how you feel it, which is what they did.
Formed in the a Republic of Yorkshire 32:20 are a three piece, guitar, bass and drums. This is a good size, it gives us freedom to play a song as arranged but let it breath, and respond, allow us to expand on it, go in unexpected directions. We don’t like to feel constrained, and by that mean the blues, blues with a touch of red and white which does not have to be in a box. It doesn’t have to be the same, it can go with the times, go with the flow of the river, and carry us along. The heart of the blues is feeling, so let that rule.
Join the New Wave Blues Revolution.