<img src=”tmtch_manchester_22.jpg” title=”Live At The Rescue Rooms” border=”0″> Live At The Rescue Rooms

The Men They Couldn’t Hang

Date: 17/09/05   —   £14.50   —   Other

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The Baron’s tours of live acts returns to the more intimate venue and the more ‘old school’ act. The Men They Couldn’t Hang have been around a while now, which hasn’t blunted their enthusiasm, nor that of the audience.

I first got into TMTCH with the single ‘The Colours’ which was reviewed on Saturday morning telly when I was about 14. It was a cracking single, passionate and folky and clearly not destined for chart success. I bought the album ‘How Green Is The Valley’ and ‘The Domino Club’ whilst I was a student and thoroughly enjoyed both. I like the political nature of songs like ‘Ghosts Of Cable St.’ and the folky nature of ones like ‘Shirt of Blue’. They had split up in 1991 and I kind of thought that was that which was a shame but not unlike so many decent groups before them. I was pleasantly surprised when I moved North to find that they were out on the road again and had in fact reformed in 1996.

The Rescue Rooms is a small venue for a much more close-up gig. It’s been many years since I saw a live act in such a venue, 1992 The Sugarcubes at the Munich Theaterfabrik I think which is after all 13 years ago. ‘The Men’ were all drinking in the bar with the rest of us before the gig which lended to a more matey atmosphere, no aloofness here.

The gig started with local punk band Eastfield supporting. I found it quite amusing to hear punk songs about the state of the railways and against Burt Reynolds, Mobile Phones and the Revolution bars, it seemed rather like punk coming to the 21st century in one form or another. It wasn’t fantastic but enthusiastically played and they obviously had a local following present.

‘The Men’ came on around 8.45 and played an initial set including ‘Shirt Of Blue” and ‘Ghosts Of Cable St.’ and then Philip Odgers played some accoustic numbers, followed by Cush doing some too. The whole band then returned for the second part of their set playing tracks predominantly from ‘Waiting For Bonaparte’ and their latest album ‘Cherry Red Jukebox’. They played ‘The Colours’ which kind of made my night really! They did 4 songs in the encore and finished up, mainly because the curfew demanded it at 10.15.

The reason TMTCH and groups like them are always worth seeing because they are in it for the music. You got the feeling they were just warming up and could happily have carried on all night, and the audience would have happily gone on listening as long as they played. There was some passionate moshing in the middle at the front and if you’d wanted to go right up against the stage there was little to stop you doing so.

For those outside Europe I suspect you will never get the chance to see The Men They Couldn’t Hang which is a shame, for those in Europe and particularly in Britain, what else are you going to spend £15 on, a couple of beers in a shit bar or a good old fashioned folk-rock gig. I made my choice and have no regrets.