Paul Morely writes in this Observer piece on the history of Manchester’s music scene about the nights that changed music as we know it–the Sex Pistols gig at the Lesser Free Trade Hall, June 4 and July 20, 1976.
Devoto, let’s just say, for the hell of it because the story has to start somewhere, with a bang, or a legendary punk gig, was the man who changed Manchester because he had an idea about what needed to happen at just the right time in just the right place. He arranged for the Sex Pistols to play in Manchester before the rest of the country had caught up with the idea that there was any such thing as a Sex Pistol. In the audience for the shows were Mark E Smith, Ian Curtis, Morrissey and Devoto himself, four of the greatest rock singers of all time, directly challenged to take things on. Johnny Rotten was like a psychotic lecturer explaining to these avant-garde music fans exactly what to do with their love for music, the things they wanted to say, and their unknown need to perform.
A good, short history for the uninitiated, filling in Liverpool’s punk history as well.