The High – live at New Century Hall, Manchester – August 10, 1990 – The Jim Moody Archive –
The High to start the week. A band that falls under the too-often used category of underrated and overlooked, but also a band that helped usher in a dramatic change in Popular music of the 90s, who luckily recorded and who even miraculously left some excellent live performances to their legacy.
A shout-out and debt of gratitude to Jim Moody, whose sound collection was responsible for making this post possible tonight. You never know if what you spend hours and days working on makes any difference or is even noticed by anyone – more doubtful is offering, maybe not well-known artists or artists not singing in English, running the risk of being roundly ignored by everyone on the planet.
But when somebody, out of the blue, sends a note saying “I like what you’re doing and I thought you might like some of these”, it’s truly astounding – and it makes the whole effort, the hours and days of digging through dusty boxes and overflowing shelves, digitizing and restoring just to turn people on to things they may have either forgotten or never knew about – completely makes my day. And for that I am grateful to you, the readers and fellow collectors and people who just want to share things they love with people who might feel the same way. You have no idea how truly appreciative I am and the great feeling of knowing how we’re all doing our best to keep the good things going. Thank you – thank you – thank you.
On to The High – another example of just how influential the Madchester genre wound up being for the 90s. Sadly, a combination of being lost in the Tsunami of talent and a record company being less than supportive have done more damage to fledgling careers than anything else. And that did it’s damage to The High.
The band was formed in 1989 by former Turning Blue singer John Matthews, along with former Buzzcocks F.O.C. members Andy Couzens (guitar, also formerly of The Stone Roses and pre-Roses bands The Patrol and Waterfront), Simon Davies (bass), and drummer Chris Goodwin (also formerly of the Waterfront as well as the Inspiral Carpets), when Steve Diggle left Buzzcocks F.O.C. to reform the Buzzcocks.
They were signed by London Records and had three minor UK Singles Chart hits in 1990 before breaking into the top 30 in 1991 with a revamped version of their debut single, the Martin Hannett-produced “Box Set Go”. The band’s debut album, Somewhere Soon, peaked at number 59 in the UK Album Chart.
With the Madchester scene losing favor with the critics, the band’s later releases failed to chart, resulting in the band splitting up in 1993. John Matthews and Chris Goodwin went on to form the group One Summer, with Manchester musicians Stephen Fitzpatrick (guitar) and Carl Wolstenholme (bass). One Summer worked with Factory Records group A Certain Ratio and recorded a demo for the label before it went into administration.
Maybe Madchester was losing favor with the critics in the UK, but it was just taking off in the U.S. and there were plenty of eager fans to keep the scene going, especially on the West Coast. Believe it or not, Madchester and Grunge had a certain kinship of spirit going for it over here.
Last word was that the band reformed in 2015, but with only John and Andy from the original lineup.
Crank it up and enjoy and thanks again to Jim for a great show.