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ANDY ROURKE NIGHT

ANDY ROURKE’S WEEKEND LIVE IN MANCHESTER – WHAT HAPPENED?

Nearly a year to the day after we lost a Smiths legend, The Star and Garter played host to ‘All About Andy’, the Manchester Festival for Andy Rourke, centred on the iconic and much-missed bass player.  The event, which was curated and hosted by author and broadcaster Julie Hamill, was a wonderful celebration of life featuring many special guests, band members and friends who had either worked with or knew Andy Rourke, all sharing anecdotes and songs. The sold-out weekend saw Smiths fans flying in from all over the world just to feel part of it.

The Friday kicked off with tribute band The Smiths United who warmed up the crowd with a set of well known classics. Fall drummer and close friend of Andy, Simon Wolstencroft, stepped up to play drums on a few tracks and set the tone with touching tales of friendship. 

Then followed an intimate in-conversation with Andy’s brothers, Phil and Chris Rourke, warmly questioned by Julie Hamill.  The brothers shared stories of a young Andy and his journey into bass through beautiful photos and memories that meant a lot to Andy’s family, many of whom were in the room, and a few tears were shed.

Up next were headliners “Rourke”, a specially curated band for the festival featuring a supergroup of Andy bandmates and support acts including former Morrissey drummer Andrew Paresi (Viva Hate, Bona Drag, Kill Uncle), New York’s ‘Sadie’ musicians Ezra Martin (bass) and Justin Parsons (guitar) who toured America with Andy in the early 2000s, and completing the band line up was guitarist John Kapp who also knew Andy from playing in New York. 

All three accomplished musicians came over from the States to play for the festival. With Paresi at the back, the foursome made a thunderous impact together, providing a wall of Smiths sound as bountiful as the original, down to the finest detail.  The reel of fantastic singers joining “Rourke” at the front began with fast-rising Keeley, whose commanding lead of Hatful-era Smiths was unmissable.  Second up was Jenny Drag of The Priscillas, who captivated the crowd with her bewitching renditions of ‘Unloveable’ and ‘I Don’t Owe You Anything.’

Stepping up to join “Rourke” after Jen was punk favourite and Membranes singer John Robb, who smashed through ‘Panic’, followed by Stephen Holt of The Inspiral Carpets who provided vocals on a number of Smiths tracks, his voice deftly leading the crowd naturally through a wonderful and emotional close with the classic ‘There Is A Light’.

Saturday saw the audience return to the iconic venue with plenty to look forward to, kicking off with The Smiths Utd whom the crowd really took to their hearts, and are genuinely lovely people too!

The incomparable Smiths drummer Mike Joyce was a wonderful addition to the evening as he spoke candidly to Julie Hamill for fifty humorous and moving minutes about the adventurous journey of The two Smiths together, starting from his first Smiths session.  Mike welcomed the questions and cracked open many never-heard-before anecdotes, pleasing the fortunate fans in the room. The legend finished to the ovation he deserved and was enveloped back into the crowd.

Julie then welcomed the “Rourke” supergroup back to headline Saturday with singers Keeley, Jen and the terrific Steven Staff, the singer from Frankly The Smiths.  “Rourke” ended their set with the phenomenal Badly Drawn Boy, whose band Andy played in, and whom he considered a great friend.  It is clear that Damon Gough held Andy in the highest regard as he gently weaved his way through the tributes (including an excellent cover of ‘Nowhere Fast’, as well as his own material) and told personal stories that made an impact as one of the more emotional parts of the weekend.

DJs Rusty Spanner and Loud and Clear kept the crowd dancing to an amazing Smiths set until 3am on both nights. All in all a perfect tribute to a wonderful man proving that he has left a musical legacy that will continue to live on for generations to come, throughout the world.

The event raised an incredible £5245.67 (including an amazing prize raffle!) and the proceeds are being donated to Manchester’s Christie Cancer Charity, as chosen by Andy’s brothers. Congratulations to Julie Hamill and her team, thank you for inviting RGM along to participate in such a memorable and special weekend. 

Missed it?  The interview with Mike Joyce and Julie Hamill can be viewed on YouTube here https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=7hIPHls5h9E&feature=youtu.be&cbrd=1

Need more Smiths?  The Star and Garter hosts a Smiths/Morrissey disco on the first Friday of every month, pay at the door.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE STAR AND GARTER AND THE AMAZING EVENTS THEY HAVE COMING UP HEAD HERE

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