The Charlatan’s headline gig to save legendary Salford Lad’s Club

By Jonathan Brown

Mancunian rock royalty turned out in force to try to raise enough money to pay for Salford Lad’s Club to run for another 100 years last week.

Headline act, The Charlatans, took to the stage along with guest DJ sets from New Order’s Stephen Morris all in aid of the legendary venue.

Legendary photographer, Stephen Wright, gave music fans the chance to recreate the iconic scene of the Smiths in front of the lads club, as he did originally in 1985.

Lead singer of the Charlatans, Tim Burgess, said: “We don’t do this very often but it’s for a good cause, Salford Lad’s Club. Let’s keep it going for a hundred years.”

The gig was originally scheduled to go ahead at the lads club itself but for unforeseen problems resulting from a fire safety inspection on the listed building.

In search of a venue for the event, put together by Topman CTRL, Manchester’s Ruby Lounge found a date free on the calendar to put on the fundraising gig.

The Ruby Lounge’s venue director, Jay Taylor, said: “We got great feedback. At gigs like that you want the audience and the bands to be happy and both groups were chuffed. It felt like something special.

“Why not support the lads club. It’s not hard to see why it has survived through thick and thin, you’re not open 107 years without doing something right.”

At short notice, the venue managed to put the event together after inheriting the bill and a degree of ticket sales from the lad’s club, attracting a sell-out crowd of around 350 people.

Mr Taylor added: “We were more than happy to step in and tried our best to let people know at such short notice.”

The Ruby Lounge, well known for showcasing up and coming talent, were more than happy to lend the stage to Hatcham Social, whose album Burgess produced, The Heartbreaks and Factory Floor.

The venue change was a positive for the Mr Taylor. He said you don’t have to look for to see why it’s so important, given that over a century of Mancunian music history has been created there.

Salford-born Burgess and fellow band member Mark Collins played an acoustic seven song set, having just released their eleventh studio album.

Cutting their costs, the Ruby Lounge tried to maximise the aid to the lad’s club, with a sum already allocated by Topman CTRL going to the famous club.

Richard Dixon, 20, from Burnley, said: “It’s not often you get to see such a big band, with free drinks, in a small venue.

“Tim Burgess was mixed in with the crowd and chatting with the punters, it was a really personal gig. You can tell he really cares about Salford Lad’s Club.”

The club, which opened its doors in 1903, is still doing great work for the community, with regular exhibitions and events as well as housing one off gigs by stars like Billy Bragg and Liam Fray in recent months.

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