M People

Thetford Forest

Thetford Forest

Do you remember the late Eighties and early Nineties when Manchester boomed to the sound of rhythm and bass and half the best British bands seemed to grow there?

That was the beginning of the story for M People, whose first album, Northern Soul, hit the mood of the moment.

It's odd when you consider the seamy underworld from which the Manchester bands oozed, what a tinkly and innocent sound they mostly made - think James - but at least M People always boasted a truly gutsy lead singer in the form of Heather Small.

And time has not withered this lady's vocal charms. In fact, it's added a good deal of depth and a rough edge which makes them all the more appealing.

From the moment she hit the stage in her shocking pink satin glamour frock, it was as if she'd switched on a neon light in Thetford Forest.

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Songs like Colour My Life and Open Your Heart to Me came out with an individuality and energy that took me by surprise.

And there was something so unpretentious and friendly about the line-up, that you almost felt you were on stage with them.

I admit, I expected something tired and used up: another empty nostalgia trip for commercial ends. But this took me right back to the spirit of the party all those years ago up North.

And I loved it.

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