OK, cards on the table… I am a Liam Frost fan.   A huge Liam Frost fan.  As huge as he once himself, was, when I saw him play at the opening of the 235 Casino…. Many moons, and many drained bank accounts past.  What he has lost in weight he has only gained in musical achievement and ability.  Truly, in the mind and ears of this scribe, he is the most tuneful thing in this beautiful, rainy city of ours.

Liam’s gigs and touring schedule seems to be sporadic at best, and we need to leap upon every chance to see him play.  I last saw him at Sound Control in 2010 when, rather like Ziggy Stardust, he announced his retirement from gigging.  It turned out that was merely to play as part of a band and it now seems the desire to play his songs live has  compelled him to return to the stage.

Aside from shedding weight, Liam also seems to have shed a band.  His first album, Show Me How The Spectres Dance, was recorded with The Slowdown Family but tonight he steps out entirely alone: just a man, a guitar and the potential for what melodies might be woven by combining strummed strings and the human voice.  It’s truly beautiful to hear his songs stripped down to their base element , and to thereby discern what strong songs they are, resonating out amongst the Victorian splendour of the Deaf Institute.

In denim, and with something of the rockabilly about his hair and look, Liam takes a packed crowd through the highlights of Show Me How The Spectres Dance, and the self-released follow-up, We Ain’t Got No Money, Honey, But We Got Rain, the title from a typically acetic Bukowski poem.  Tracks like ‘Held Tightly In Your Fist,’ ‘Shall We Dance’, and ‘Try, Try, Try’ seem to swell and roll into the atmosphere of the room, and permeate through the crowd as though melodies held on the dust.  The songs are perfectly constructed, and powerful, especially when you know the loss and sadness that surrounds them.  Intriguingly, Liam also adds a couple of new ones into the set, and hints of a new album.  I can pay no higher compliment than to say the new songs sit snugly with more established songs from the repertoire.   As we have had no new material since around the turn of the decade, I eagerly await the release of that new album.LTFwm-13

What is different about Liam Frost is that he is out on the floor, and amongst the crowd, both before and after the set.  Many of the audience are friends of both Liam and one another.  In fact, I find a photographer friend of Liam’s at the front of the stage who back in the 90s took the very first photos for the column I wrote for DJmagazine for eight years.  I haven’t seen her in at least as long.  It only reminds you how music sticks us all together; soul glue.  She waves me over to talk to Liam and, several Newkie Browns to the good, my wife said I did a Hunter S. Thompson wonky walk over to say hello.  I can’t remember what either of us said.  It doesn’t matter – Liam Frost is back on stage, with new songs in his heart – and Manchester is a more tuneful place for it.

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Simon is a writer, broadcaster and countercultural investigator. Over the last 15 years he has written for everyone from The Guardian to Loaded magazine, presented television for Rapture TV and hosted radio programs for the likes of Galaxy. He has also found time to earn a Masters Degree in Novel Writing and write three books (a collection of journalism, a guidebook to Ibiza and one on financial planning for young people – the most varied publishing career it’s possible to have) and establish and run a PR company, Pad Communications, looking after a range of leisure and lifestyle clients.He currently splits his time between researching his PhD at Leeds University, looking into various countercultural movements; consulting freelance for PR clients; writing for the likes of Marie Claire in Australia, The Big Issue and the Manchester Evening News, where he reviews concerts, theatre and is their Pub & Bar Editor. He is also broadcaster, appearing regularly on Tony Livesey’s late night 5Live show for the BBC, and also for BBC Radio Manchester Gourmet Night food and drink show.Simon’s main focus has been music and travel. His career has included editing Ministry of Sound’s magazine in Ibiza for two summers and also writing two long-running columns for DJmagazine – ”Around The World in 80 Clubs” (which took him everywhere from Beijing to Brazil, Moscow to Marrakech) and “Dispatches From The Wrong Side”. A collection of the latter was published in the UK and US as the book Discombobulated, including tales as varied as gatecrashing Kylie Minogue’s birthday party, getting deported from Russia, having a gun held to his head by celebrity gangster Dave Courtney and going raving in Ibiza with Judith Chalmers. He has recently written for the likes of Red magazine, Hotline, Clash, Tilllate, Shortlist and the Manchester Evening News. Pad Communications has recently consulted for clients as varied as Manchester nightclubs and New Zealand toy companies.On a personal note, Simon is a Londoner who left the capital at the age of 18 and never looked back. He sees himself as a citizen of the global dancefloor having lived in Sydney, Los Angeles, Ibiza and Amsterdam. However his life is now rather more sedentary. After all his adventures he bumped into and subsequently married his highschool sweetheart from their North London Grammar. They now live in Stockport with their four children and four chickens, trying to live the good life. Simon recently turned 40 and is steadfastly refusing to have a midlife crisis – as in, growing a ponytail and buying a shiny red sports car.OK, maybe he’ll buy the sports car…