After 2 fantastic shows in November featuring Goodbye Mr Mackenzie and The Fallen Leaves at the Westgarth Club in Middlesbrough we return to Stockton’s Georgian Theatre on December 6th for the final show of the year featuring Manchester’s post punk legends A Certain Ratio.
Once again this show is a co promotional venture between Fast Forward Promotions and Tees Music Alliance.
ACR, like so many, were born of the Punk explosion that rocked the UK in the late seventies but they quickly became more than just another also ran punk band. A post punk band without doubt. Borrowing the name from a Brian Eno record the band were soon spotted and signed up by the hugely influential Factory Records and the iconic Tony Wilson assumed the role of manager.
Initially influenced by the likes of the Velvet Underground and Wire the band released their debut single “All Night Party” (FAC 5 on the influential Factory label) but they quickly adapted their sound to the rapidly growing influences of funk music. James Brown, Funkadelic, Bootsy Collins and George Clinton all weighed heavily in influencing the direction the band were heading.
ACR played regularly in Manchester and around the country with label mates Joy Division but a major breakthrough came for the band in 1979 when they supported Talking Heads on a major UK tour. By now though the band were not just absorbing music and shaping their own sound. They were influencers as well. Talking Heads and David Byrne rapidly changed their musical direction after seeing ACR support them. The sound of ACR was captured live early on the Factory Records cassette only release The Graveyard and the Ballroom (FAC16) released in December 79.
In 1980 the epochal “Shack Up” was released on the Factory Benelux label. Recorded for just £50 the single manged to dent the American Billboard Disco charts and there was a lot of interest in state side in the band but they remained close to their mancunian roots and released the astonishing debut album “To Each” in June 1981. Actually recorded in New Jersey but completed and produced by the legendary Martin Hannett at Strawberry Studios in Stockport.
The band had toured America with the early New Order and were now moving in a new direction taking their place in the new avant-funk vanguard alongside the likes of The Pop Group and 23 Skidoo.
As Factory bankrupted itself the band joined New Order manager Rob Gretton’s label imaginatively entitled “Rob’s Records” and continued to release many fine records having previously released the wonderful “Won’t Stop Loving You” on A&M which somehow only managed to reach No. 55 in the charts despite being a song of true quality.
The band laid low through the latter part of the Nineties and into the Noughties but their stock never dropped as first Creation and then latterly Soul Jazz reissued the bands music in various formats. A new album was eventually released in 2010, the mighty ” Mind Made Up”
Fast forward to 2019 though and Mute Records are putting out reissues of ACR classics, compilations and box sets on vinyl and CD including the impossible to find “The Graveyard And The Ballroom” to coincide with the bands 40 year anniversary and a nationwide UK tour.
Featuring a line up consisting of Jez Kerr, Martin Moscrop, Donald Johnson, Anthony Quigley, Denise Johnson and Matt Steele the band play Stockton’s Georgian Theatre on Friday 6th December with doors at 8pm.
Advance tickets are £21 and available from the venue or via SEE Tickets here.
ACR are proud to support Action Against Hunger and £1 from each ticket sold will be donated to the Charity