Martin Minshall

Academy 3 and Me

Mon 9th Feb 2015
Academy 3 and Me | Martin Minshall

I like Academy 3. It's one of my favourite venues in Manchester. One thing that I don't like, though, is how far it is from the centre.

One of my favourite unsigned acts, Ash Before Oak, were performing there in support of The Dunwells on Saturday and I'd decided to go and watch them with a friend. We'd met a little bit early so that we could grab something to eat before the gig, and as we left to make our way to the venue one thing instantly hit us both: it was freezing outside!

The temperature must have dropped since we went inside because suddenly it felt unbearably cold.

This wasn't good. The venue was pretty far away and I'm not afraid to admit that I wasn't sure if I could make it.

We tried power walking but it was no good; I was too full to walk at a quick enough pace. There was only one thing that we could do.

The two of us made a quick detour into Costa coffee for some hot drinks to keep us warm on our journey. Minutes later we were on our way.

We battled the cold with the aid of our peppermint teas, and as we arrived at the venue a certain warmth hit me. It wasn't the heat from the building, but the realisation that I was once again in the venue where everything started, to watch one of the people that helped it happen.

The reason I'd come to know of Ash Before Oak is because Mark Armor, vocalist and bassist in the band, is also a promoter.

I've played at several gigs that Mark has promoted, including my most recent set at Night & Day Cafe in Manchester. More importantly, Mark was also the promoter who put on the first gig that I ever played. Now, I was at the very same venue to see his band perform.

As the band took to the stage it became clear that something wasn't quite right. Vocalist and guitarist, Pete, had a visible leg injury which left him seated throughout the band's set. Regardless, the band carried on and played through songs old and new, including a personal favourite, 'Lifetime', taken from their debut EP of the same name.

The band did incredibly well to go through with their set following Pete's injury. It certainly put my struggles of the walk to the venue into perspective.

Following the band's performance, I rushed to the train station to try and catch the next train, but didn't quite make it in time.

With plenty of time until the next one I thought back to that first gig at Academy 3. I remember vividly the exhilaration and the sense of accomplishment that I felt at the end of my set. It's no wonder that the venue is one of my favourites in Manchester. It's played such an integral part in my career so far, if only for being the beginning of it all. It's just a shame it's so far away from the centre!

To find out more about Ash Before Oak visit their website here.