– DRY BAR, MANCHESTER –

2009 will see Dry Bar on Oldham Street turn 20 years of age. It was another creation from Manchester’s legendary Factory Records and was given the number of Faç 201.

I have personally attended some memorable nights here since it opened on July 25, 1989, including the first year of In The City, with Mark  Lamarr and John Peel playing some of there favorite music – New Year’s Eve 2008 shall also be added to that list of great nights I’ve experienced in this Northern Quarter hostelry.

Eighties Matchbox are to take to the makeshift stage in the back room at just after 11pm.

It is apparent, even before their first riff has pumped out of the stacked Peavey speakers, that the flimsy security barrier is being rather overwhelmed.

As my grandmother used to say “It was as much use as a chocolate fireguard”.

Without the presence of any security at stage side, it is only a matter of seconds into the first song that the barrier is resting against the stage.

This is speedily rectified by the positioning of a couple members of staff to push the barrier back against the crowd and away from the almost toppling PA.

As soon as singer Guy McKnight lets rip with his first blast of menacing vocals, there is no doubting that these boys from Brighton have not left any of their raw power behind.

It’s also not long before the charismatic front man is leaving the comfort of centre stage to surf over the top of the tightly packed in Matchbox congregation.

Even though this is the sixth show in six days, the whole band give it their all in treating us to a great mix of album tracks and singles.

As the night draws close to midnight, they give the countdown into the New Year and then continue to test the speakers to the max with more of the same spine-chilling, bass heavy energy.

Even just standing on the sidelines and observing this immense spectacle takes your breath away and leaves you not quite knowing what year you had just entered into, but you know you have entered it with the rocket fuel that The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster have supplied.

Simon Zaccagni

‘Accidental Editor’ None of this was planned; I’ve never been in a band, never been part of the ‘music scene’ and never expected to be the gaffer of a music website with loads of dedicated music loving writers. I bought my first record when I was 8 and haven’t stopped buying since. I love crate digging for bizarre and weird stuff, but equally happy ploughing through press releases looking/listening for something I’ve never heard before.