Lee Harman runs Warrington Music [WAM], a platform that supports grassroots artists and provides opportunities for them to play live

KING Monkey is back.

The rumours were true. Ian Brown, who spent his early years in Orford and now lives in Lymm will be headlining Neighbourhood Weekender in Victoria Park during the late May bank holiday weekend.

It’s his first solo show since The Stone Rose split and first in the town since 2007.

Don’t be surprised if we see him pop up beforehand for a warm-up.

It’s an exciting line-up for the Latchford festival in 2020 with many British artists in fast ascent on the bill. It was just over 12 months ago I was trying to get Sam Fender to play [WAM] Festival and now he’s playing stadiums with The Killers next year.

Sunday’s headliners, Catfish and the Bottlemen will hopefully remember the town well, having played Friars Court several times between 2012 and 2013, as they toured the UK ‘toilet venue’ circuit, handing out DIY demos on CDs after their set.

It was Simon Pugsley, the manager of Friars who said I needed to catch them the first time around and they were certainly ones to watch.

Warrington Guardian:

Fair to say I was suitably impressed. They even had Peter Crouch in the crowd for one of their sets back in day.

Back then they were playing for petrol money. Nowadays they fill arenas and their T-shirts are almost uniform for sixth form students.

There’s great value lower down the line-up too, and you don’t want to miss out on The Murder Capital from Dublin and Red Rum Club from Liverpool.

There’s also welcome returns for the likes of Fickle Friends and The Mysterines who played Rivfest in 2018 and also The Sherlocks, The Coral and Reverend and the Makers, who have played in Warrington in recent years.

Meanwhile, it has been sad to hear about the closure of Live Bar in Barbauld Street.

It was almost like it was over before it began for the dedicated music venue.

It had a rocky start before it even opened and it’s a terrible shame. Those running it loved music and wanted it to succeed.

It’s a shame it just never established itself and reading the Warrington Guardian’s Facebook feed, it seemed there was a long line of music fans who would be there, if only they knew it existed.

With that in mind, here’s a date for your diaries – Man and The Echo, Auction Rooms, Saturday, December 14. The [WAM] gig has moved venue from Live Bar to Auction Rooms in Legh Street and it’s a really exciting line-up.

Joining Birchwood’s finest are Saytr Play who blew us away at Rivfest in September and the night will also feature the debut hometown show of Uno Mas.

Let’s sell it out and support Warrington artists – see you there.

The talent is out there, you’ve just got to go out and look for it sometimes.

Case in point, congratulations to The Ks from Earlestown who have sold out their show out at The Ritz in Manchester several months early.

It’s going to be one to remember for them and the audience come January 25.

No doubt there’s going to be plenty of hustling by fans to get them on the main stage of Neighbourhood Weekender after attracting huge numbers last year.

I’d be shocked if they weren’t on the second wave of artists announced once that arrives and I would love it if they took pride of place at the top of the billing on the Viola Beach stage on either day.

It would be special to have The Ks headline a stage that remembers a trailblazer for the town that was taken too soon. Welcome to the Neighbourhood.

Tickets to Neighbourhood Weekender are available at nbhdweekender.com