A weekend of free corporate shindigs

It must be world cup season, or pre-festival season, or something. Last weekend I experienced a lot of food, music and , umm, an even larger amount of free booze. Friday evening was the Umbro: Tailored in Manchester party and Saturday was the Adidas Originals party. Both invite-only corporate shoomoozy affairs, but surprisingly not full of nasty looking people. Here’s a breakdown, from what I can remember:

Umbro: Tailored in Manchester

This party was held in the Umbro shop off Newton St. Never been in here before but quite liked the layout. Not quire sure what the ‘South African inspired’ buffet was all about, as it consisted mainly of (really delicious) lamb kebabs, frikadellen and hummous. So, that’s everywhere apart from South Africa then. Still, who cares when there’s music and enough free booze to drown yourself in, right.

On to the music. Playing were 1913, Orphan Boy, Run Toto Run and the mighty Mancunian ‘next big thing’ Dutch Uncles.

I’d never seen 1913 before, only heard the odd demo so was quite pleased when I found out they were on. Energetic, catchy, full of memorable hooks and a band that should do well if they play their cards right. Orphan Boy, however, are a band I’ve seen before and am really not a fan at all. I find their music dull and uninspiring. I’m sure they’re great lads and all, and enough people seem to think they’re ace so perhaps I’m missing something. I went to the bar at this point. This is round about where my memory goes squiffy.

next up, Run Toto Run, a decent electro-retro-folk pop band. Again, they don’t set my world alight but hardly offensive either. I spent their set mingling around and chatting to strangers.

Dutch Uncles are another story altogether. There’s no way I was going to miss this. They are absolutely brilliant. One of the best bands playing in Manchester at the moment and they really will make it big. Deservedly so.

The night ended with me falling asleep on the night fright bus and waking up, lost, in Stockport. Happy days.

Adidas Originals

I almost didn’t make it to this. After a shocking, body crunching hangover I just wanted to go to bed. However, I was convinced to brave it and go. I’m very glad I did. The evening started quite well, with a nice shandy at Common before heading to the ‘secret’ locations. After a while of walking around lost, we found the location – a security gate round the back of Granada TV studios. After numerous security checks, guestlist cross-referencing, document signing and accreditation (this was a cross between checking in at JFK airport and Glastonbury) we were allowed in. First stage was a red carpet area covered in Adidas branding and a few free vodkas, courtesy of VitaminWater (oh dear). After hanging around for a while we were escorted to a street familiar to millions – the set of Coronation St. Yes, a party on Coronation Street. A World War 2 style street party, with cocktails in teacups, sandwiches, salads and cake! Beautiful:

It all started in a very civilized manner. In fact the tea/cocktail party was delightful. Then came the seemingly bottomless free bar. Again.

As the night went on, music came in the form of Mancunian electro heroes The Whip (who also played the JD Set a week earlier), everyone’s favourite lover of daft hats Badly Drawn Boy and total legends New Order Bad Lieutenant.

I love New Order. Love them a ridiculous amount. However, that night I just found it all a bit cringeworthy. Now Hooky’s off endorsing compilation albums and running his student theme park The Factory, remaning members Stephen Morris and Bernard Sumner and performing under the name Bad Lieutenant. While they call it a new band, it really isn’t. Most of the set consisted of New Order tracks, with some other guy hiding at the back playing bass. Seeing Sumner jump around the stage in a gold Adidas tshirt just didn’t do it for me. Really sad as I was hoping I’d love it. Ah well… everyone gets old I guess.

A great weekend was had in all. Both Umbro and Adidas know how to throw one hell of a party.

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