The Pat McManus Band brought Cambridge Rock Festival to its feet in joyous celebration and then to its knees in respect as the powerhouse trio, led by the eternally energetic and charismatic guitarist and fiddle player, journeyed through hard rock and blues with a dash of acoustic, all seasoned with the most impeccable grooves.
Liz Medhurst: Photos by Noel Buckey
I managed to catch Pat for a brief word after the set and he was charming and positively bursting with the kind of bright energy that only comes from being immersed in something you are born to do.
That was an incredible, emotional tribute to both Rory Gallagher (‘Return Of The G-Man’) and Gary Moore (‘Belfast Boy’) in your set there.
“It comes from the folk tradition. I was very aware growing up, that for years there was an established tradition on paying homage to those that had gone before, their skills, their stories, and I wanted to keep this going, bring it forward into the rock world.
“It’s about real emotions that move people so I’m paying tribute to people and music I love.”
Will this carry on in the next album?
“Yes, in keeping with the traditional theme, I’ve got some Northern Irish pipes and proper Lambeg drums on the next album, all played by the authentic local musicians.
“It’s sounding great so far, we are still in the recording process, which will hopefully be completed later this summer and it would be great to get it out in the autumn.”
“That’s when you have to go through all the rigmarole with the record companies, which is necessary but isn’t quite so much fun. When I was younger I was scared shitless with all the stuff going on around it, I can’t imagine just starting out and having to get used to all that again.”
Crowdfunding such as Kickstarter, is becoming more popular with artists who don’t want to or are unable to go down the record company route.
“Yes, but I’m so doggedly independent I don’t know if I could even do that! Hahaha! I need to pay the bills, and if I can do that then I’m happy.
“I don’t really have a proper rock and roll lifestyle, I live in a little hamlet with my wife Sally, and sometimes when I come in at four or five in the morning, the neighbours just look out from behind their curtains and say ‘oh it’s just Pat coming home after more Rock and Roll’.”
You gave us a masterclass in heavy rock guitar and performance earlier, how easy is it to keep up the standard every year?
“Well it’s just that I love it. I love doing it all, love playing, love performing, and I want to keep doing it as long as I possibly can.”