Jane Weaver


Not much about tonight feels of this world and that’s OK. Normal is over-rated. Normal is terra firma and not is more about a kind of astral ascendency. This is music in the round. The music with interstellar soundscapes and outer space imagery. This is kosmic.

So it’s Sunday evening for a kick off; not the most rock & roll of times, and this is a gig put on by Band On The Wall but which isn’t actually at Band on the Wall. This is a gig in a theatre, ferchrissakes – trippy electronica noodling its way, surreptitiously into the home of Pinter, Shakespeare and Beckett.

And yet the time and setting create a rather welcome disconnect from the usual gig experience. Instead of a crowd in the pit and the performer raised on a stage at one end of a room, tonight Jane Weaver is in the centre of Royal Exchange space pod bubble, and the crowd are arranged around her, as though in a gallery looking down, witnesses at some sonic surgical procedure. Large screens surround her on each of the four sides, with projections from outer space and other associated zeotropic trippiness. Within this illuminated liminality, Jane is at work. Never has a gig felt quite so much like climbing into the Tardis.

Jane plays a variety of tracks from the two most recent albums – 2014’s The Silver Globe and last year’s Modern Kosmology. She starts each song from the foundations of a vinyl turntable, spinning seven and twelve inch records as though drum loops. (The sound of the needle gently finding its groove on a piece of vinyl is truly one of life’s most precious, spiritual sounds… this from a man who runs three turntables, for varying reasons). Then each track builds in layers, sometimes looped, sometimes played on keyboards or acoustic guitar, enabling Jane to move around her space and front each different side of her audience. But usually she returns to a particular mic by one keyboard, and that’s fine by me, as that is directly in front of myself and my gig buddy for the evening, reclining in strangely comfortable seats as Jane carves sound sculptures as though more an architect, than producer, of sound.

Jane is in sneakers, leggings and a rather loose blue all-in-one that also suggests some medical procedure, or perhaps someone roaming the halls of an empty Victorian asylum, tripping towards insanity. But there is nothing unhinged about the vocals. Her voice is more ethereal, winding through galaxies like spectral light trails, floating through songs like ‘The Lightning Back’ and ‘I Wish’ from Modern Kosmology, the lyrics indeed connecting our frail hold on mortality and our place on this pebble in our korner of kosmos with rather grander, existential questions like: what the chicken scratch is really going on?

And I could recline in this space and let it wash over me all evening, soundtrack to Sunday and thoughts kin various boxes. Gorgeously cosmic.

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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…