Monday, 19 April 2010

Launch of Now Then Manchester Postponed

Dear Folk of Manchester,

It is with sincere regret we write to inform you that, despite our best efforts, we have been unable to gather enough support from independent retailers, charities and community groups to print an edition of Now Then Manchester this month.

This is not us giving up, but a postponement in order to create something which is sustainable on a monthly basis. We are all still hugely committed to seeing a magazine on the streets and in the cafes of Manchester, and to the task of informing people about their local independent artists, traders and politics.

We will use the summer period ahead of us to host some live fundraising events, partnered with a variety of local musicians, promoters and not for profit groups. We will also continue to inspire our following on the Now Then Manchester Blog, which will become a renewed hive of activity, art and community driven information.

We will be back.

Huge thanks go out to all the people involved in the past few months' labour of love, from traders to artists, writers and organisers – thank you, your efforts are continually appreciated.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Karima Francis @ Band on the Wall, Wednesday 24th March

Karima Francis is a 21 year old lady, Blackpool born and bred, but now based in Manchester. The adopted hometown Band on the Wall show sees a mixture of her 2009 album The Author and a few previews of new songs. It’s hard not to be taken aback by both the power and compassion of her voice, so as she takes to the stage you can tell that her tiny frame surprises those in the audience who are seeing her for the first time. The combination of voice and body size is hard to compute.

She is 75% hair, 20% smile, with the remaining 5% dedicated to playing the guitar. All of her is lovely. The start of the gig is marred by technical issues, resulting in losing her favourite guitar, and Karima is genuinely concerned for the audience: "I just wanted everything to be perfect for tonight," she tells us, "I feel like I want to give you all your money back." Thankfully for the Band on the Wall management, they don't have to resort to that.

After the sound man manages to put her back on track, albeit with her back-up guitar, Karima cracks into her first song of the evening, 'Francis'. We see the sound man again as the gig continues with a couple more hitches, along with engaging banter in between songs including the crowd pleasing 'Hold You' and her most upbeat tune 'Again'.

The show is full of high points, with one of the more poignant coming during the title track of Karima's album The Author, leaving some gobsmacked in silent appreciation, whilst bringing tears to the eyes of others.

For the rest of the gig Karima remains apologetic for the slightly shaky start, but it is clear to see that very few people are dwelling on it. The audience do use this to their advantage though, signified by the blonde lady who gets her way when begging for Karima's version of ‘Use Somebody’ by Kings of Leon, which is played as the last song in the encore.

Words & Images: Kobestarr