Mardis Gras, Liverpool, UK – 11 August 1986

Edited extract from: The Stone Roses supported my band

Innervision & Stone Roses gig poster from 1986

The date was 11th August 1986, although the original date had to be changed at least once on the request of The Stone Roses manager. There was only one gig in Liverpool with the Stone Roses in 1986 and the band playing that night with The Stone Roses was my band Innervision.

Knowing that we had a following, especially in Liverpool, and having just played to a sell out crowd at The Mardi Gras club a few months earlier on the 14th February, I wasn’t surprised by the phone call I got from The Stone Roses manager Gareth Evans.

It turned out that Gareth had some major record companies interested in The Stone Roses but they wanted to see them play live outside of Manchester to prove they had a following elsewhere. Somebody had informed Gareth that I ran a record label in Liverpool and that I also had a band with a following that had very recently managed to fill the Mardi Gras club. Gareth suggestion was that Innervision should do a gig with The Stone Roses at The Mardi Gras club as this would be beneficial to both bands with major record companies in attendance.

The poster had our trademark boy with the weird eyes on it but listed The Stone Roses as support as had been discussed. During the original phone conversation with Gareth he had suggested that The Stone Roses would play first and Innervision would headline as this was our neck of the woods. There seemed to be more concern around ensuring a decent sized crowd attended  as to suggest The Stone Roses following was growing outside of Manchester.

I was standing near the staircase in the Mardi Gras club checking sound levels when Ian Brown knocks me on the shoulder and says thanks for doing the gig Ken. No arrogance, no funny business, just genuinely friendly. The rest of The Stone Roses were all stood together near the top of the club stairs in solidarity which again seems nothing like what was to follow but that is how it was.

A few songs into our set it was noticeable towards the back of the crowd that another 15 or 20 people had just come in to the venue having just arrived by mini bus from Manchester. They were already a bit worse for wear and very noisy but it definitely added to the atmosphere in a positive way and helped liven up the already assembled crowd to get behind us more.

Later The Stone Roses arrive at the back of the club. They shook hands with a few of their friends who had arrived with the late party some of whom I am now reliably informed were members of The Happy Mondays.

After our gig I decided to settle down at the side of the stage where our equipment had now been moved to and see what this band The Stone Roses were all about. I remember  sitting on the side of the stage thinking how good the guitarist was, how loud they were and how much use they were making of the PA that night (probably far too big for the venue). I remember just how confident they were and how cool they acted. This band meant business.

I looked down and Ian Brown was wriggling on the floor with the microphone over his head and then it happened.  I’d not seen this band before and i felt for him when he opened his mouth and hit that first note as flat as a pancake. I thought we’ve all been there before and hit a duff note at the wrong time. He’d been OK with me and I’d just shared the stage with him and I wanted him to get back in tune but alas it didn’t happen. The important thing was that the band worked as a unit and the sound and vocals worked as a unit.

There was no denying that the band had something special and that Ian Brown as a front man had something very special that went way beyond just vocals.

Ken – Innervision

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