The Sex Pistols' played the Electric Circus twice during December 1976 on the Anarchy tour, when most city councils had banned the group from playing in the UK. Located in Collyhurst outside of Manchester The Electric Circus started out as a heavy metal venue, but was hijacked by the punks who needed a venue to express their anxiety. They poured into this rough drab region of Manchester on a dreary Sunday evening in late August to see the The Adverts and 999 at the Circus. There was a buzz running through the crowd that the Pistols were going to drop by, after all this was their Manchester hang out.
As late in the scene as August 1977, punk shows were still considered less popular Sunday night gigs. This was metal and soul country and punk rockers were considered outrageous and their music was not really understood. They were a small group of regulars from Eric's in Liverpool and the Circus in Manchester that would show up weekly at each venue.
August 28th 1977
On September 1st 1977 at Rafter's Nightclub, in Manchester. The Buzzcocks headlined supported by The Prefects and the Distractions, Paul Morley was at the show.
The Distractions added Alec Sidebottom formally of the Purple Gang to drums later in 1977. After some performances where they supported most of Manchester's contemporary bands, and signed a contract with Tony Wilson of Factory Records in 1979, and released the double A side single "Time Goes By So Slow"/ "Pillow Fight". A move to Island Records and several releases failed to achieve success
but their first album Nobody's Perfect, did received significantly more media applause, the group split up in 1981. Mike Finney went on to work with the Secret Seven and the Art of Noise.
Joy Division/ The Distractions:
Electric Ballroom - 26th October 1979
No show for the Pistols on this night only a band named the Slugs that had fired off the evening.
The venue that the locals had taken over, lasted only 10 frantic months before being shut down by the authorities. Ian Curtis's band Warsaw played the clubs closing farewell show on 2 October 1977. But, creativity did not stand still in Manchester as the scene was only beginning to get much bigger.