HISTORY - FAGIN'S / ROCKWORLD
Jilly's Rockworld is not only todays No.1
Rock/Alternative club in Manchester, but also has a long and illustrious
history indeed. The club is the second oldest in Manchester. Originally
called Fagin's, it was a well-known caberet club throughout the
seventies and eighties where many of the top stars of the day,
such as Scott Walker, Cliff Richard, Lulu, Tommy Cooper, appeared.
Fagin's first opened it's doors in 1970, with the downstairs club
openning 18 months later in 1971. Now known as The Music Box the
downstairs was then called Rafters. Throughout the eighties Fagins
continued very much as a cabaret venue, but also would put on various
rock gigs with bands such as Hawkwind and Thunder, and artists
like Sade and Pigbag. In 1981 a seperate disco room was created
called Funnies - later becoming the Fishbowl.
By the end of the eighties the old vangaurd of cabaret was
beginning to dwindle. So in 1990 Fagins was renamed Rockworld
and started a new era with a complete changeover
of music policy which saw the club become Manchester's premier rock
club. Our legendary Friday Allnighter was introduced at this time with
DJ John Gannon arriving from The Banshee and The Ritz. At that time
both upstairs and downstairs were made into one club. Then 1996 Rockworld's
upstairs were split further to create the new room 1, whilst downstairs
was seperated to create the MusicBox. A new venue for gigs and special
events like the many regular dance nights held there. Whilst
the upstairs now incorporated the Jilly's name. In March 2003 Room
4 was opened to further increase Rockworlds variety. Continously updating
it's seen many changes and styles in rock and continues to be at the
forefront of the rock scene.
/ JILLY'S / MUSICBOX
Rafters was a originally a disco and live
venue. Soon after opening it hosted the first singles nights in
Manchester on Monday and Wenesday nights. Whilst Tuesday it hosted
a Folk night. By the mid seventies the venue was putting on more
and more live gigs. As the punk scene began to flourish in 1976/77
it proved to be a vital venue for many of the new bands. This was
the beginning of the clubs move towards an increasing rock based
venue. That period of the late seventies and early eighties saw
a great many bands make early appearances before going on to greater
success. Bands such Joy Division, Depeche Mode and Bauhaus all
played there during that time.
In 1977, Paul Young of Sad Café and Dougie James
had began promoting at Rafters in Manchester, whilst
Rob Gretton had become a central figure in the Manchester
punk scene with his involvement with Slaughter & the
Dogs, his management of The Panik, and his dj sets at
Rafters. Mick Middles first met Gretton at this point
in his life: “To be honest, I have nothing but
fond memories of Rob Gretton. By chance, I knew him before
his days running bands, clubs and terrorising journalists.
It was 1977, Gretton, just back from a mind-swelling
spell in a Kibbutz, was trying to write a fanzine about
his local glam rock punk band, 'Slaughter and the Dogs'.
It's odd to recall him as a young man. Same glasses,
smaller frame, curiously reverential attitude. As I had
scaled the dizzying heights of actually producing the
kind of wholly illiterate, appallingly written, indecipherable
drivel that passed for a fanzine in those days, (Rob)
Gretton clung to my coat tails - literally - during interviews
with sundry fallen legends, The Drones and Slaughter
and the Dogs"
At the Stiff Records Test / Chiswick Challenge at Rafters
on April 14th 1978, the band Joy Division had an opportunity
to impress not only Rob Gretton but also Tony Wilson,
already a well-known presenter on Granada TV. Joy Division
were scheduled to appear last on a bill of seventeen
bands. As a result the band were so wound up that Tony
Wilson and Rob Gretton were won over by the sheer energy
of their performance. Gretton is reported to have said,
after their 3 or 4 song set: "So they went on
about ten to two and they were blazing madmen. And I
just went and watched them. Great! Best band I've ever
seen – and they sent a tingle up my spine. And
I was dancing all over...I went up telling them - at
the end - telling them how brilliant I thought it was...And
I went raving about them all next day" Gretton had
previously encountered the band under the name Warsaw
when he was dj-ing at Rafters in June 1977. At that time
he thought that they looked a little weird but also that: “they
were the best band [I’d] ever seen."
Also during that time friday and saturday nights were
given over to soul nights as DJ Colin Curtis recalls,
"The Mecca had run its course. It was the end of
an era. Where do you go from here? So, I’d been
to Birmingham and Wolverhampton looking at clubs and
thinking, well, I dunno… Kev Edwards who worked
behind counter at Spin Inn in Manchester, he phoned me
and said, ‘I’m going to Angels in Burnley
tonight can I have a word with you?’ Angels was
more of a Mecca spin-off and Richard Searling used to
play there on a Wednesday, so it was a good chill-out
place. He said, ‘I want you want to meet this guy
in Manchester, I want you to meet him and do something
here’. About a month later, in 1978, I drove into
Manchester to meet this guy called John Grant in a pub.
In walked this guy with what looked like a Brillo pad
on his head – his hair – glasses, looked
like me dad. He’s got speakers under each arm.
Huge bloke. So he built this mobile disco while we drank
our Cokes and then proceeded to play the night… He
played similar to what we played at Blackpool but with
a black feel. He got a mixed crowd, but it was busy.
I spoke to him and we agreed to go and have a look at
a few venues. We looked at a club called Fagin’s
on Oxford Road. Fagin’s had been a rock club, loads
of bands had played there and it had mainly been frequented
by rockers. ......... I took one look at it and said,
no way. He said, ‘Look we’ll chuck £5
or £600 at it. ....I can put the sound in.’ Very
reluctantly, I agreed to get involved. Four weeks after
we opened there was 800 - 900 people there....
.....Rafters itself ran till about 83. We did Rafters
on Fridays and Saturdays. Fridays were more commercial,
not pop, but more commercial."
Mike Shaft, a key figure on the Manchester soul scene,
was also a DJ at Rafters during this time, his 'Takin'
Care of Business' show on Piccadilly Radio (1978-86)
was unmissable. He was then the driving force behind
Sunset Radio, keeping the faith, and broadcasting to
inner city Manchester in the early 1990s.
It was at the start of the eighties that
Rafters was renamed Jilly's. The original Jilly's had
been a small basement rock club near Piccadilly Station thoughout
the seventies. Now the time was right for the well-known and
well-loved rock club to be revived in it's new home, with its
brilliant rock nights.
Since bdecoming the MusicBox in 1993 club has continued to develop
and grow, and to be a home to established and new bands.
AT JILLYS ROCKWORLD:
|Throbbing Gristle -
TG+ [Limited Edition] [Box set] - The 10 final live shows by Throbbing
Gristle, as 10 cd's in one beautiful box. This box set covers the
period from March 1980 to the bands end, in San Francisco, May
1981. It includes some favourite shows, such as the one at The
Rafters Club in Manchester (4.12.1981) - this has only previously
been issued on cd as a poorly recorded (from vinyl) bootleg, but
now here it is in all its unblemished glory - and also featuring
about 8 minutes extra to that bootleg.
Ziggy Stardust 12" single contains live version of "Waiting
for my man" with Nico - recorded
29/10/82 FAGINS MANCHESTER
|THE FALL - Hex
Enduction Hour - 1982 album - Re-issue CD 2005 bonus disc
- "I'm into C.B. (Stars on 45 Version)" (Carroll, Scanlon,
Smith) – 3:14 live at Fagins, Manchester, September
|24 HOUR PARTY
PEOPLE - Used as a venue for the filming
of some the club scenes.
Advertising gigs at Rafters:
SOME PEOPLE HAVE SHARED:
"I remember seeing Gerry and the Pacemakers
at the Club in 1980, a couple of years before I met them at another
Cabaret Venue, Fagins on Oxford Street. But in those days, you
could get a night bus home seven days a week, whether you had been
for a night out, or whether you worked there. It didn't matter
whether you went to a Cabaret club like The Willows, Golden Garter
or Fagins, or if you went to see the Salford Jets in a late night
concert, you could always get transport home."
I have seen Chubby (Roy Chubby Brown) many times over the years and
he has never been better than the old days when he used to play Fagins
on Oxford Road..."
"Just reading your web page brought back fond memories
of Fagins. I saw the Grumble Weeds in 1977, Dougie James there
in December 1977, in fact one of the friends I was with
got us into Dougie James's dressing room after his show !
I had my hen night there in June 1978.My friends and I had some
good nights there during the seventies.
Regards Gill Drummond"
FEW GIG DATES OF INTEREST:
DEPECHE MODE 03/11/81 FAGINS
DEPECHE MODE 04/11/81 FAGINS MANCHESTER
DEPECHE MODE 15/08/81 RAFTERS MANCHESTER
BAUHAUS 22/10/80 RAFTERS MANCHESTER
BAUHAUS 20/08/81 RAFTERS MANCHESTER
THE FALL 30/09/81 Fagins, Manchester
ADAM & THE ANTS Apr 27th 1978 - Rafters, Manchester
WARSAW (JOY DIVISION) 31/5/77 RAFTERS
WARSAW (JOY DIVISION) 30/6/77 RAFTERS
WARSAW (JOY DIVISION) 13/10/77 RAFTERS
WARSAW (JOY DIVISION) 24/11/77 RAFTERS
JOY DIVISION 14/4/78 RAFTERS
THE SMIRKS 30/06/78 Rafters, Manchester (with Ed Banger) AD
XTC & FAST CARS 29/05/78
RAFTERS - POSTER SHOWN BELOW
If you have any memories,
relics or information you wish to share with us we would be very
pleaswed to hear from you! Please email email@example.com