Remembering Manchester scene - tribute bands of The Smiths, Buzzcocks, Joy Division at Irish Centre in Leeds

By Nigel Booth
Monday, 1st August 2022, 5:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 9:54 am
Remembering The Smiths
Remembering The Smiths

Mad Manchester days

A Manchester Tribute night at Leeds Irish Centre brings together The Smiths, Joy Division & Buzzcocks tributes on Saturday August 27 with six hours of Post-Punk, Indie, Alternative & Punk Rock with doors opening at 7pm & DJ Mutant Movement hosting an after party until 1am.

Whereas most Manchester events focus on the 90s, the theme of this show is to recognise the influence of a gig at Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall on June 4, 1976, almost half a Century ago when Howard Devoto & Pete Shelley booked the Sex Pistols to play.

Every Mancunian of the day swears they were there to see the Sex Pistols including members of the yet to be formed Joy Division, Buzzcocks & The Smiths.

Sex Pistols gig in Manchester 1976
The infamous Sex Pistols gig in Manchester in 1976

It has been said the show changed music forever, the Northern contingent came away inspired. But they were inspired in a very Mancunian kind of way, it was so important as an event, a moment in musical history and as a myth.

Not because of the songs the Pistols played – essentially a few cover versions and a smattering of originals – but because of the effect they had on those who were there. The Sex Pistols themselves are, in many ways, the least interesting aspect of the story.

What’s fascinating is to think of a world without the Lesser Free Trade Hall audience. A world without Peter Hook’s basslines, Pete Shelley’s winsome punk heartaches, Morrissey’s uplifting brand of misery and Factory Records’ self-destructive, creative madness.

"That was the day the punk rock atom was split, no doubt about it," says Steve Diggle of Buzzcocks. He was there on June 4.

Of course he was. "It was amazing to see. That’s where it exploded from, it changed Manchester and it changed the world."

The original poster is pictured here along with a photograph taken on the night and original ticket costing all of 50p.

Mutant Movement brings you a night, celebrating that era with three of the UK’s best tribute bands. The event will last a whopping six hours, ending with a DJ set until 1am to compliment the three bands as well as the music they were inspired by.

These Smiths are the UK’s best tribute to The Smiths. The band are from The Smiths’ home city of Manchester.

Remembering The Smiths
In full Smiths mode

Formed shortly after their lead singer appeared on the UK television show Stars In Their Eyes, they are renowned as the closest sounding tribute to the real thing. A must see for fans of The Smiths and Morrissey.

Performing songs from both Morrissey’s solo career and with Johnny Marr & co., heaven knows you won’t be miserable by deciding to choose this tribute to take you out tonight!

You can see the uncanny resemblance to Morrissey in singer Jim Thompson, pictured above.

Shadowplay, with lead singer Bastien Marshal, will have you doubting whether you’re not actually watching Ian Curtis front Joy Division.

Joy Division remembered with original Joy Division bassist Peter Hook
Joy Division remembered with strings
A nod to Ian Curtis and Joy Division

His band Detachments had Peter Hook of Joy Division and New Order join them onstage playing bass for Salford Foundation Trust - Tony Wilson Awards leading to the release of the Fade EP on Hacienda Records in 2012.

Since then, Hook chose Bastien as vocalist for the Joy Division Orchestrated: Dreams EP and at their shows at such prestigious venues as London’s Royal Albert Hall and the Sydney Opera House.

Above are a few photos of Bastien performing with Peter Hook at the Joy Division Orchestrated shows.

Buzzkocks are the only tribute to Devoto & Shelley’s most influential Punk band from the North, the Buzzcocks, they bring back that energy packed sound with a blistering set of early classics and many more. Pictured here with the recently painted mural of lead singer Pete Shelley in his hometown of Leigh.

Remembering Pete Shelly