I just found out the The Situation will be playing at the TLA on March 10th with the very cool band, Hot Hot Heat! We go on first, so, if you’re planning on attending, get there early and dress to impress. We’ll also be performing the following night at the Khyber in Philly – so why not make a weekend out of it?

I have to go to traffic court this afternoon to fight a parking ticket. Everyone who knows me knows how much I dislike the PPA so, to get myself psyched up for my battle with “the man,” I’ve been listening to nothing but The Clash and Peter Tosh. Wish me luck! Hopefully, I’ll be able to drive a stake into the heart of the vampire that is this babylon system. If not, then I’ll just have to suck it up and shell out the $43. Either way, this cliffhanger will have to wait until Monday – so tune in to find out if our hero survives!

Finally, in honor of Ian Brown’s show tomorrow night at Webster Hall in NYC, this week’s Top Five comes from ex-Starter Culture guitarist, Justin Clowes:

Justin’s Top Five Bands From Manchester

1. The Smiths
Morrissey’s memorable lyrics and Marr’s guitar wizardry made the Smiths an interesting proposition. Every alienated kid had something to feel a part of, all the cool kids wanted to know what all the fuss was about. You need to take Mozzer with a pinch of salt at times, but he’s well worth it. His bravado combined with Marr’s talent made the Smiths one of England’s most influential bands. Smack in the rhythm section showed some warning signs, but in the end Morrissey and Marr couldn’t set their egos aside.

2. New Order
Formed from what was left of Joy Division, New Order went for that homo- electro sound. The DJ’s still spin them week in week out. Blue Monday was a huge 12″ (no pun intended). It took New Order some time to step out of the shadow cast by Joy Division, but by using drum machines and actively pursuing dance rhythms, they can be credited with a good part of what became known as “Madchester”

3. The Stone Roses
Their first album and the leftovers (B side collection) were enough to establish their legacy. Lyrically, musically and groove wise they were “What the world is waiting for”. Their combination of Indie Rock and E textured dance grooves made them irresistible to many young Mancunians. Things took a turn for the worse with legal entanglements, mounting drug use and the Brown/Squire writing partnership dissolving. “Second Coming” while having its moments left many disappointed. With Brown blaming the demise on squire’s vacuum cleaner cocaine habit and Squire calling Brown “…a tuneless knob”, the band was as good as finished before the record’s release.

4. Happy Mondays
Hovering around for a while putting out a lot of mediocre fair, Shaun and Bez were out making headlines for smoking crack. Their drug use and willingness to flaunt it made them outrageous. The sleaze funk of “Pills, Thrills and Bellyaches” solidified their place in Brit Pop history and makes anybody that listens to it feel like a bad ass. Try putting on “Bob’s yer Uncle” next time you bring somebody home. They’ll either run for the hills or it’ll be the best night of your life…

5. Oasis
Hmm… where have I heard that riff before ? With no originality, they summed up what Manchester had become. There was no artistic edge like the Smiths or the Roses. Instead they relied on hype and swagger. After reading about the Gallaghers every week in the British music press and hearing of packed to capacity stateside shows, I got sucked in. Songs like the working man’s anthem “Cigarettes and Alcohol” gave them the cred, while “Slide Away” and “Live Forever” confirmed them as non-pretenders. The slew of quality b-sides made it all the better with new material appearing by the boatload. When “Morning glory” dropped, the first chink was already in the armor. Yes, “Champagne Supernova” made it all go away and it was a long way down… But with Liam being a prat, a horrendous MTV unplugged and the ubiquitous cocaine being blamed for all manner of mishaps, they started the long slide down into line up changes, kids, divorces, getting clean etc… Their later work patchy but not without merit, the band’s early catalogue keeps the crowds coming back for more.

Thanks Justin. That’s all for today – have a great weekend.