20 Oct 2011
ACR live @ Band On The Wall and then again 
A Certain Ratio celebrate their 33 1/3 anniversary with not one but two special dates at the Band On The Wall in Manchester on 11/12 November. With the Friday 11th date selling out so fast it was quickly followed by another on the following Saturday. Each gig will see them perform two sets and will feature some very special guests.

Tickets for Saturday 12 November are available now direct from Band On The Wall priced £17.50 and also Ticketline, See Tickets or by calling 08452 500 500.

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Kevin Hewick live in Leicester Autumn 2011 
Kevin Hewick returns to live action following a hiatus due to illness with two Leicester area shows in October and November.

On Saturday 22 October he plays The Donkey in Welford Road in what will comprise the world debut of Liberation Doll, his new band with Sally Barker, drummer Lee Allatson and bassist Ian Crabtree. Admission is only five of your British Pounds. Liberation Doll will release its debut album in 2012.

Then, on Monday 7 November, Kevin will play a show with his old friend Patrik Fitzgerald at The Musician in Clyde Street. This gig will also feature the first live appearance in over a decade by Ruth Po! of Po! fame. Tickets for this one are £7 in advance from wegottickets.com or £8 on the door.

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19 Oct 2011
Section 25 live review @ The Factory, MCR 
Live review by Paul Pledger - Section 25 @ FAC 251 The Factory, Manchester, 8 October 2011

I'll be honest, this was my first visit to FAC 251, opened within the building of the iconic ex-Factory head office, turned three-storey nightclub and venue - a bare-bricked environment perfect for live music, with possibly the scabbiest toilets this side of Deansgate, but a live room that does a decent job with a low ceiling and capable soundsystem. Most importantly, it's all about the atmosphere and tonight there was plenty of it, with good reason – it was the Blackpool band's first return to the venue since their 2010 Retrofit gig. But what made this show a bit special was the business of launching a new Section 25 EP, Invicta, their first new material since 2009's Nature + Degree and their first single since 1988's Jonathan King-upsetting Bad News Week 12".

It also marks a significant step forward for a band already unsteadied by founder-member Larry Cassidy's death in 2010 – this is the brand spanking new Section 25, still loud and still melodic but with a confidence and energy, most of which exudes from live-wire new vocalist, Bethany Cassidy. The more masculine vocals are supplied by limping bassist Stuart Hill (he nearly cracked his ankle a few days previous to the show) and the rest of the band, Stephen Stringer on guitars and bleeps and Vin Cassidy working hard to provide a human percussive element to the setlist's demanding rhythms. Where once there was brashness, there is now beauty with a bite. You could be listening to a new band, such is the shift in direction on some of the older offerings tonight.

From The Hip favourite The Process opened proceedings, presented in its Retrofit finery, before the set quickly shows signs of lifting off with a tough electro rendition of early single, Beating Heart. It's songs like this that benefit from the feminine touch of Larry's daughter, although she does display some gutsier vocal-skills on other songs. The only perplexing change to their catalogue is a slow, almost lounge, version of Rememberance. As an album track, it's a definite techno-pop highlight, but slowed down misses the mark somewhat – it sounds better when pepped up. Thankfully, it's all uphill from here with new electrodisco favourite, Inner Drive and the totally-revamped New Horizon holding sway with the by now busy, loyal and partisan crowd. The new song is a bit of a firestarter when played ‘live, gearing the band up for a boisterous brace of older tracks.

Later on, Beth's sweet-as-toffee tonsils turn into a far grittier soundbase for the always-snarly Wretch, a song from The Key Of Dreams that still surprisingly stands out in the dry-ice haze of a recession-gripped Britain. "You snivelling wretch", she spurts in a barbed manner that belies her approachable and friendly demeanour. The band gamely keep time, before unleashing more post-punk vitriol with Girls Don't Count – it doesn't sound like a sound that recently celebrated its 30th birthday.

Composure remains throughout the last two songs, Garageland and the cracking new single, Colour Movement Sex and Violence, the latter a contender for being the prettiest and most melodic song of theirs since Crazy Wisdom. Or Desert. Or Inspiration. It sounded great on the radio a few weeks back – it sounds even better piped out of a proper rig.

The encore predictably (but thankfully) consists of Looking From A Hilltop, a signature song of sorts and, with my eyes closed for a few seconds, a veritable reminder of how much Beth sounds like her mum occasionally. Absolutely nowt wrong with that – the newcomer has clearly made Section 25's key songs her own, even pausing to dance her arse off throughout the show. They'll be installing mirrorballs next. As an aside, it's a shame they didn't have any nice merchandise installed – people would have coughed up a few quid for an Invicta EP afterwards.

The band have a couple of key live slots coming up, including a support role for Peter Hook and the Light at the Salford Lowry and a stint at Antwerp's BIMFest – you really should make an effort to turn up early to see them.

9/10.

Setlist

Process
Beating Heart
Remembrance (Slow version)
Inner Drive
New Horizon
Wretch
Girls Don't Count
Garageland
Colour Movement Sex and Violence
Dirty Disco
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Looking From a Hilltop

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Section 25 live @ The Lowry 19.11.11 
Section 25 have been added to the bill of the second night of Peter Hook and The Light's two homecoming dates at The Lowry, Salford on Saturday 19 November which is sold out on The Lowry's website. A few tickets still remain for the Friday show.

More info at fac51thehacienda.com

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New Order - From Heaven To Heaven 
As trailed back in March, and slightly later than expected, Dec Hickey's lavish photo book, From Heaven to Heaven New Order Live The Early Years (1981-1984) at Close Quarters will be published in January 2012.

The book, which is priced at £30, contains over 400 unpublished photos of the band and 200 plus images of rare memorabilia. There are Forewords by Peter Hook and Stephen Morris and the Introduction is by Moby.

The first 750 copies only, will 1) be hand numbered and signed by the author, 2) include a genuine unused ticket from New Order's 24 May, 1984 gig at Leicester Palais and 3) enter the buyer into a free draw for one of three A2 size Limited Edition prints. Two of the best photos from the book, plus another unpublished shot of the band, exclusive to this print, will each be produced on archive paper, signed by the photographer, in a numbered run of 20.

More info at www.fromheaventoheaven.com

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Title: From Heaven to Heaven: New Order Live - The Early Years (1981-1984) at Close Quarters
Author: Dec Hickey
Format: Hardback 198 full colour pages - 268mm x 325mm, landscape, art book-style format.

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18 Oct 2011
Hannett - Maverick Producer Genius Musician 
Check out Paul Pledger's review (via Allgigs) of the latest offering from Ozit Morpheus, a retrospective of the production and musical artist output of the late Martin Hannett including musical and spoken word content from John Cooper Clarke, George Borowski, Bernard Sumner, Pete Farrow, Peter Hook and Hannett himself.

As Paul notes, of particular interest to Factory aficionados are the brief chunks of reworkings of The Durutti Column's Self Portrait (given a powerful syndrum overhaul), Calcutta by The Names and Hannett's own The Music Room, not to mention First and Second Aspect of the Same Thing flexidisc tracks.

Tracklisting

Disc One

1. Martin and John Cooper Clarke - quick verbal quip
2. Office in a Bottle - Martin on vocals, synths along with John Hurst and Diane
3. Martin on synths, metronome, etc.
4. Martin on syndrums
5. Martin on synths, etc.
6. Bernard Sumner talks about Martin
7. Martin on Synths, etc.
8. Martin - strange piano mix
9. Martin on Synths, etc.
10. Martin plays bass
11. Chrysler - Belt and Braces
12. Benavila - Belt and Braces
13. Joe Smith - Belt and Braces
14. Derry - Belt and Braces
15. Trouble in A Major - Pete Farrow
16. Hold On - Pete Farrow
17. Sailaway - Pete Farrow
18. Maybe he’ll - Pete Farrow
19. Old Man’s song - Pete Farrow

Disc Two
1. Hooky talks about Martin
2. Manchester Boys - George Borowski
3. Who is Innocent - George Borowski
4. Dangerous City - George Borowski
5. Giant - Belt and Braces
6. Questions - Belt and Braces
7. Grapes - Belt and Braces
8. Money - Belt and Braces
9. Banks of The Dee - Belt and Braces
10. Chains - Belt and Braces

Maverick Producer Genius and Musician - Martin Hannett is available to buy direct from Ozit Morpheus.

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Peter Saville colour wheel
A Certain Ratio

"Manchester, 1978. In the beginning there were four: Jez Kerr (bass), Martin Moscrop (guitar/trumpet), Peter Terrel (guitar/effects) and Simon Topping (vocals/trumpet). Four thin boys with a name borrowed from a Brian Eno record, the intense, drummerless quartet initially drew influence from Wire, Eno, the Velvets and Kraftwerk, and gained a manager in Anthony Wilson of Factory Records.

"May 1979 saw the release of their first ACR single, the dark All Night Party, although the sound and musicianship of the band would be transformed by the arrival of funky drummer Donald Johnson (DoJo) in August. Over the next few months the band gigged widely, often with Joy Division as part of Factory packages, and recorded demos with producer Martin Hannett as well as a Peel session. Their support slot with Talking Heads on their UK tour in December 1979 set David Byrne on a new course, and provided the compelling live half of their chic cassette package The Graveyard and the Ballroom. Post-punk, ACR now reflected the influence of Funkadelic, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, The Bar Kays and James Brown."

- intro to ACR Biography by James Nice (LTM)

The Durutti Column