On 20th September, the first in a series of 5 Super Weird Happenings takes place in Manchester at Gorilla on Whitworth Street, promoted via my multi-media outlet Super Weird Substance in conjunction with El Diablo’s Social Club who’ve been running their influential club nights in the city for many a moon.
The event kicks off at 8pm, continuing for the next 8 hours and taking in music, debate, art and more, including an ‘in conversation’ section during the first 2 hours hosted by local TV and radio presenter Terry Christian, who’ll be setting the questions for poet and author Lemn Sissay, cult Manc icon and former member of Black Grape and the Ruthless Rap Assassins, Kermit Leveridge, along with myself.
One of the great, but often unsung Manchester DJs, Tomlin (Jam MC’s / Konspiracy) is also aboard, playing the tunes ahead of a much-anticipated live performance from Kermit’s new band, Blind Arcade. Various local artists including Sarah Lynn Mayhew, Jay Smith, Lauren Carter-Bridges and Elspeth Moore will capture the evening through their respective medium, whilst I’ll play the night out, taking my cue from the uplifting vibes of Blind Arcade and what unfolds in the building prior to their appearance.
These are our first steps on a road that we hope will lead to increasingly ambitious one-offs; eventually curating our own arena at a few festivals. The title we chose harks back to the ’60s when spontaneous arts-based events were described as ‘Happenings’ – this seemed a good fit given the free-flowing creative spirit we hope to conjure via some of the aspects of these gatherings.
For Kermit, the event is something of a homecoming – a return of the prodigal, given the well-documented descent into heroin addiction that nearly claimed his life back in the Black Grape days (his partner in the band, ex-Happy Monday Shaun Ryder, also a notorious user). This forced him to move away from the city in order to straighten himself out.
Kermit, as I’ve stated here previously, contracted septicemia as a result of injecting himself with a dirty needle, leading to his complete separation from the music world for a number of years as he gradually weaned himself off his drug dependence and prepared for a heart operation to repair damage caused by the infection, which was, thankfully, a complete success. Now, as a recent father, his life has totally turned around, and although he has the drive and energy of a man many years his junior, he also has a newfound contentment, complimented by a more measured approach to his work that belies the chaos of earlier times. Befitting of a man whose been given a 2nd chance, he’s ready and raring to go. There’s a brilliant new interview with him just gone up onto Skiddle:
The ‘Blind Arcade Meets Super Weird Super Weird Substance In The Morphogenetic Field’, mixtape is available to stream / download via SoundCloud, where it’s amassed over 30,000 plays to date:
On stage with Kermit will be his Blind Arcade partner, EVM128, ‘Give It Away’ singer BB.JAMES, and The Reynolds who, apart from their essential contribution to the mixtape have also appeared on 2 of my own tracks, ‘World Needs Love’ and ‘Summer Came My Way’. Kermit has also recruited a vital new addition to the fold, keyboardist and deep fried vocalist, Cleve ‘The Reverend Chunky’ Freckleton, who he met when Blind Arcade appeared at Latitude Festival in July.
The Happenings in Glasgow (Sept 26th) and Bristol (Oct 3rd) will follow a similar format, with guests to be announced imminently on the Facebook Events pages linked below.
For Glasgow, we’re working in conjunction with Melting Pot, with whom I’ve now enjoyed a deeply valued 10 year relationship, going back to 2004 when they first booked me to play at their original venue, the Riverside Céilidh Hall. In Bristol we’ve hooked up with The Island Art Space, located in an old police station, cells and all. Ryan Keady, Dave McGinn and Dave Harvey have provided invaluable help on the ground, and this is certainly the quirkiest of the venues we’ve chosen.
Two further Happenings, in Liverpool and London, will be announced soon, to complete the tour. One things for sure – no two will be alike.
Manchester Super Weird Happening Facebook Events Page:
Glasgow Super Weird Happening Facebook Events Page:
Bristol Super Weird Happening Facebook Events Page: