Louder Than Words: The Palace Hotel, Manchester – festival reviewPhoto above and others on this page © Melanie Smith

Louder Than Words Festival Manchester

Palace Hotel 

Friday 14 November- 16 November 2014

Yes, we know this is the second review of Louder Than Words but it was such a great festival and with so many awesome events that one writer alone couldn’t cover them all, so we’ve drafted in a ringer, one Tony Early, who picks up the baton that started with Nicky Crewe’s review and carries it on to the end.

Words are hard to express regarding this event , it was so Good!

This was a music lovers dream, in fact I thought I had died and gone to Heaven. The vibe, the ambience, you could feel the love everywhere! Songwriters, musicians, authors, artists, publishers, poets, the world of academia, all gathered under the one umbrella , that was for the love of words, music, songs, rhythm &, the beat!

I attended all of the 3 days event, which was organised by Dr. Jill Adam, with her co conspirators, Simon Morrison, Simon Warner and the enigmatic, charismatic, music eccentric, interviewer, the loveable John Robb, sporting his trademark fabulous Mohawk.

The events I attended are as follows…

Day 1. Friday 14th 

Louder Than Words: The Palace Hotel, Manchester – festival review

We had a very warm welcoming speech by Dr. Jill Adam then it was onto Tim Burgess in conversation with Will Hodgkinson (photo above) during which Tim revealing some of the Highs and lows of his psychedelic music career!

A music session by Tom Attah The Bluesman playing a very enjoyable acoustic guitar set followed.

Louder Than Words: The Palace Hotel, Manchester – festival reviewOn day one we also had interesting interviews with Mary Anne Hobbs (right), and the rock photographer Michael Spencer Jones.

The evening was rounded off with a  music quiz which was run by John Robb. The quiz was very enjoyable. I teamed up with those cool guys from Omnibus Press. The bar was open for refreshments ensuring a very merry time was had by all. One person who will remain nameless kept kicking over another team’s bottle of wine, some think this was team quiz tactics. The Quiz was won by none other than The Louder than Words Team, followed very closely I may add by those intellectuals from The Omnibus Press Team.

Day 2 Saturday 15th

I attended Nina Antonia in conversation with Bob Dickinson, I was delighted at this as I had bought her book about Johnny Thunders some years ago, called “In Cold Blood” later Nina spoke of the album “So Alone” I listened intently to what she had to say as I own this lost classic album! An album that hosts a feast of music greats including 2 Sex Pistols, Paul Cook and Steve Jones, the late great Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy, who actually went on to perform with members Cook and Jones, with members of Thin Lizzy called the Lizzy Pistols, then as The Greedies. Also on the Johnny Thunders CD, So Alone, was the Legendary Steve Marriott of the Small Faces/ Humble Pie/Packet of Three fame.

The second half of the conversation was about Nina’ s involvement with Pete Docherty of Libertines/ Babyshambles.

I enjoyed this a lot also as I own CDs of both bands. Pete with Babyshambles did a very very good version of the Clash song Janie Jones produced by Mick Jones of the Clash. I was thinking about this and ahead to later in the day to the next in conversation with Terry Chimes who played drums on the original song, his Drumming on it is superb, second to none !!

Terry Chimes in Conversation with Chris Salewicz came next. This was a blast, highly enjoyable, Terry Chimes, former member of the Clash, who played on THE CLASH, their Legendary First Album, gave a great interview, Chris, a very knowledgeable author of  music and pop culture, having written biographies of Joe Strummer of The Clash and Reggae King, the legendary Jamaican Bob Marley. The wit and banter between these two was something else. Terry spoke of his time with the Clash, Gen X, he played drums on the album called “Kiss Me Deadly” with his old pal Billy Idol, Heaven knows why this album was not a massive hit, every song on it is outstanding. Terry also had a change of gear and rock genre when he played with kings of heavy rock, Black Sabbath.

He trained as a chiropractor in Bournemouth and now has a successful business in London. Terry then told us about his latest venture, a new group, made of former members of Sham 69, Cockney Rejects, and Diamond Dogs. They are called the Crunch, a fitting name for a band run by a chiropractor! I asked Terry what his favourite Clash song is he replied “GARAGELAND” I just thought awesome, one of my faves also. The Crunch also play this as part of their set!

After the Terry Chimes interview he did a book signing, reference his book called “The Strange Case of Dr Terry and Mr Chimes”. This part of Louder than Words was brilliant! This is where you meet like minded souls and can have a chat. I met two great guys, both had their original copy of the 1st Clash album for Terry to sign. Garry all the way from Hull and Gareth from Buxton – it was a pleasure to meet them.

Louder Than Words: The Palace Hotel, Manchester – festival review

The next In Conversation was Edwyn Collins & Grace Maxwell interviewed by John Robb (see photo above) entitled “The Possibilities are Endless” another great interview, being a mix of sympathy, empathy, laughter, grinning and smiling. It was good to see Edwyn in such great form. I had seen Edwyn a number of years ago at the Mean Fiddler Music Venue in London, he has not lost any of his charm despite his recent health issues, overflowing with wit and grace.

Edwyn sang a few songs accompanied by a friend on acoustic guitar, the highlight was a performance of “Falling and Laughing”. I found Edwyn’s short concert to be very emotive and sung from the heart, and very, very enjoyable. Edwyn has a book out called “FALLING & LAUGHING” with Grace Maxwell the Amazing Grace!

Next was a book signing, this is another highlight for Louder than Words, you are spoilt for choice. I looked around, my goodness, it was Don Powell the Drummer from SLADE at one table and Edwyn Collins at another. I had to speak to Edwyn, no offence Don, hope to meet you next time, if I am lucky. Don had attended to give a talk and to hear the Conversation about Johnny Thunders, as The New York Dolls had supported SLADE in the 1970’s of which Johnny was a prize member.

Louder Than Words: The Palace Hotel, Manchester – festival review

Their next in Conversation was Viv Albertine with John Robb (above). It was very interesting to hear about the Slits Punk band, Viv’s days of going to the Roxy Club in London, and her hanging out

With Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols, and Mick Jones of the Clash, and also about the involvement of women in pop music, which was so limited in the 70’s !!

Viv did a Book signing this a book released recently, about music and fashion and guys , called ” Clothes , Music , Boys .

Next on my list was Jim McCarthy in Conversation with Chris Salewicz. This was about the Influence and the Legacy of Bob Marley`s Life. Jim is a very talented Graphic Novelist, he is currently working on a book with animation covering the Life of Bob Marley. Another highly entertaining interview, you learn something new everyday, I was surprised to hear that Bob was about 5ft 4 in height. I was in Jamaica in 1990 on my Honeymoon. So this interview was very poignant for me.

Louder Than Words: The Palace Hotel, Manchester – festival reviewThe last but not least in Conversation on the Sat I attended was Steve Ignorant (see photo right), former member of Crass, he now plays occasionally with Irish Punk Band Paranoid Visions. I have a copy of Stations of the Crass from many moons ago. Steve had driven a journey of 5 hours to Manchester for this talk, dedication to his art  indeed, he gave a very enjoyable, comical, serious and interesting talk about his influences and anarchic days in Crass. In the audience was Penny Rimbaud another former member of Crass. Interviewer for this conversation was John Robb, he had worked like a trooper, a very busy day with a lot of interviews each of which was outstanding.

Steve has a book out, “The Rest is Propaganda” Look it up!

End of Day Two Saturday 15 November 2014

Day 3 Sunday 16th


I have to apologise for missing the Wilko Johnson Writing Award !

Nobody’s Perfect, sorry Wilko !

Before I went to my next In Conversation! I bumped into Dr. Jill who informed me that I had won a Scrap Book made by Keith Levene, ex Guitarist with P.I.L. I was delighted, and it was even more amazing as Jah Wobble had just appeared on the scene, another ex member of P.I.L.

I told Jah Wobble I loved his show at Sound Control last week in Manchester. He seemed pleased. I then asked Jim McCarthy if he would take a few photos of Jill, Jah Wobble and myself. I know Jim is a Great Artist but his photograph of our feet was breathtaking! Jah Wobble then went with Jill to prepare for his In Conversation. It is worth noting at this point that my new friend Garry from Hull University also won a Keith Levene Scrap Book .

Congratulations Garry!

Louder Than Words: The Palace Hotel, Manchester – festival review

This next in Conversation was a panel (above) consisting of ex members of The Fall, Stephen Hanley Bass player for 20 years, He has a book out, “The Big Midweek” by Stephen Hanley and Olivia Piekarski, also a panelist. Simon Wolstencroft Drummer for 10 years with The Fall, who also has a book out with a witty title, “You can Drum but you can’t Hide” Also on the Panel was Daryl Easlea 30 sleeve notes of The Fall. Also Mick Muddled author, journalist and Matt Davies academic who has fed hundreds of lyrics of Fall songs into a computer, the computer then produces data that reflects the words most commonly used by MARK E. SMITH These where presented on a huge screen, a Fall Fans dream!

This was a very entertaining panel and very fascinating. I have been a Fall fan since 1979 when I bought “Live at the Witch Trials” and Live at the Electric Circus “Steppin Out”  Funky Si and Stephen,, the Fall Guys so to speak were like a double act, Simon, with his deadpan delivery and Stephen so down to earth. We will not say to much for fear of spies in the audience, lol, but it was hilarious! After this I wanted to get a photo of The Fall Guys together!

Unfortunately Funky Si could not be seen I got a good photo with Stephen Hanley, so I was chuffed about that. I Asked Steve his favourite Fall song “Bill is Dead Today”.

Louder Than Words: The Palace Hotel, Manchester – festival reviewLast but not least was in Conversation with Jah WobbleJah Wobble! (photo, right) John Robb was the Interviewer. Jah Wobble talked about World Music, punk rock, the Bass Guitar, Public Image Ltd. How he would like to make an album of his favourite T.V. Soundtracks.

He performs the soundtrack to the Old 70’s Cop show, The Sweeney , with a Reggae flavour, in his stage set, followed by him saying in his cockney accent, “YOUR NICKED !!” This was another very humorous interview Mr. Wobble is a very down to earth, Diamond Geezer. He finished off by stating that he plays Public Image, in his set and has been doing it for a couple of weeks. I was also thrilled when he spoke about performing Pop Tones, as when I had heard him play this I thought it was magnificent. Jah finished off doing a book signing. He has a book of poems out, ODDS AND SODDS, next year he is set to release a 6 cd Box Set.

When waiting to speak to Jah Wobble after the Interview my 2 like Minded Souls Garry and Gareth were in the queue. Garry asked Jah if he had a pen, he said no, Garry did not have one either.

With that I stated that I had one in my bag. Then Mr. Wobble said “Tony has one!” he remembered my name from earlier . The Look on Garry and Gareth’ s faces was priceless!

And with that Jah Wobble had to go, it suddenly dawned on us that the weekend was coming to an end. There was a tinge of sadness in the air. I cannot thank everyone involved in LOUDER THAN WORDS ! enough. For a music fan this festival was FAN-TASTIC

I would highly recommend it, if you get the chance to go to the next one just go. You might even get your own slice of HEAVEN !


Louder Than Words website is here: louderthanwordsfest.com. It’s also on Facebook and tweets as @Lthanwordsfest.

More photos from the weekend can be found on the official Louder Than Words Flickr account.

All words by Tony Earley, all photos by Melanie Smith. More writing by Tony on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive and more photos by Melanie at her website: mudkissphotography.co.uk.

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