Unique chance to hail punk legend Pete Shelley in his home town

Pete Shelley
Pete Shelley

Tickets are now available for once-in-a-life borough concert in memory of a famous musical son.

On February 15 from 6pm at St Joseph’s hall on Chapel Street, Leigh, an evening of entertainment is being hosted by the Pete Shelley memorial campaign.

Between 1977 and 1980 any one of the bands who will be playing would have been headlining some of the coolest venues in Manchester or supporting the biggest bands of the day, including The Jam, XTC, The Rezillos and Buzzcocks.

The Drones, The Distractions, Fast cars, Notsensibles and Benefit State take to the stage in a line up never before seen in Leigh, and very unlikely ever to be seen again in Leigh.

Proceeds will go towards creating a memorial in the town to Leigh-born Shelley, who was frontman of the Buzzcocks and died in December 2018.

Steve Cundall, from The Drones, said: “It gives us enormous pleasure to be asked to perform at this fund-raising event in Peter's home town, along with such a distinguished line-up of bands. Let’s get Peter the fitting and lasting tribute he deserves in his hometown.”

An emotion that was seconded by Mike Haggis of Notsensibles, Stuart Murray of Fast Cars, Alex Sidebottom of The Distractions and Mark JNighty of Benefit State.

The evening will be compered by award-winning Salford urban poet Simon Williams who will also perform his set between each band.

Notsensibles, fresh out of retirement for this event, had a hit in 1979 with I’m in love with Margaret Thatcher, a tongue in cheek bit of fun about Thatcher’s Britain, a song they say that speaks about the social circumstances of that day and relevant of today.

The Drones are a punk rock band from Manchester who have been around since 1977 and for a period of time were produced and managed by Paul Morley.

Bonafide DIY three chord wonders were there at punks inception, Their song Lookalikes featured on one of punks earliest compilation albums Streets back in 1977.

The Distractions are a Manchester-based punk band who have been musically active between 1975 and the present day in a career that took them through several record labels including TJM, Factory, Island and Rough Trade.

Fast Cars were formed in Swinton in 1978 by brothers Steve and Stuart Murray. The band, whose line-up has been consistent throughout their career, released the anthem The Kids Just Wanna Dance back in 1979 and have shared the same billings as Buzzcocks, The Jam, XTC and The Rezillos.

The band have continued performing since 1978 in a career that even took them to Japan, Fast cars say they are honoured to be involved in the latest Pete Shelley memorial fund-raising event titled Ever Fallen in Love.

Benefit State will open the event. A Salford/Manchester-based punk band with an ever increasing army of followers and with many successful gigs under their belt. The band recently recorded the single Dirty Old Town with a video to accompany it.

Simon Williams, the award-winning Salford urban poet, will compere the evening as well as performing his own set between each band.

The Pete Shelley memorial campaign, formed over 12 months ago, has already raised over £6,000 for a permanent memorial of Pete, and have been involved with The Blue Plaque provided by Wigan Council in honour of Pete Shelley and the recent exhibition Understated that ran at The Turnpike for six weeks during November and December.

Alison Mckenzie-Folan, chief executive of the council, said: “Pete was one of the UK’s most influential musicians and we’re proud to honour his memory with this plaque in his hometown of Leigh.”

The campaigners are at present exploring registering as an official charity and hopefully will become the Pete Shelley foundation, a charity that will ensure Pete’s legacy and will continue to raise funds that will support music and arts in Leigh for the Leigh community.

The campaign formed in January 2019 with the intention to raise funds for a permanent memorial of Pete in his hometown of Leigh and is supported by Pete’s widow Greta and members of Pete’s family.

Tickets for the event are available at www.eventbrite.co.uk.