An Evening With Harry Manx
20-22 Mount Pleasant, Bilston, Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, WV14 7LJ
Approx. capacity: 700
The Robin 2 in Bilston is an excellent live music venue with a capacity of 700, and draws appreciative crowds to see some unexpected big names, local bands and tribute acts. At the front of the club, Noddy's Bar - named after the Slade frontman - is an excellent place to meet for a drink before the gig. The Robin provides a refreshing alternative for those who like to listen to good live music at a reasonable price. The Robin 2 is unique in the fact that it is also a hotel. The Robin 2 hotel has been inundated with bookings since it's opening in May 2008. The 500,000 pounds hotel is aimed at giving concert-goers the chance to enjoy a drink and have a bed nearby for convenience. The old building next to the Mount Pleasant music venue was gutted and transformed into the new attraction as part of a 12 week renovation project. The hotel was built during celebrations to mark the 10th anniversary of the music venue. Each of the eight sound-proofed rooms are fitted out with en-suite bathroom, tea and coffee machines and digital televisions.
Bilston Central Tram Link stops close to the venue.
Direction From M6: -At M6 Junction 10, exit onto A454 heading to A463/Wolverhampton/Dudley -Continue on A463/Black Country Route -Go through 2 roundabouts -At Oxford St take the 4th exit onto A41/Oxford St -Continue to follow A41 -Turn right at Mount Pleasant
On site parking - There is a large car park at the rear of the venue. 20-22 Mount Pleasant Bilston Wolverhampton West Midlands WV14 7LJ
Please contact the venue on 01902 401211.
General Access Info
Please contact the venue on 01902 401211.
Doors Open: 7:30PM
14+ only. 14s to 17s must be accompanied by an adult. No refunds will be given for incorrectly booked tickets.
More information about An Evening With Harry Manx tickets
Plus special guest Jack Omer
“Mysticssippi” blues man Harry Manx has been called an “essential link” between the music of East and West, creating musical short stories that combine the tradition of the blues with the depth of classical Indian ragas. He has created a unique sound that is hard to forget and deliciously addictive to listen to.
Harry forged this distinctive style by studying at the feet of the masters, first as a sound man in his formative years in the blues clubs of Toronto doing sound for the likes of Junior Wells, Buddy Guy and Willie Dixon, then under a rigorous five-year tutelage with Vishwa Mohan Bhatt in India. Bhatt, whose guru was the late, great Ravi Shankar, is the inventor of the 20-stringed mohan veena, which has become Harry’s signature instrument. Bhatt is best known for his collaboration on the Grammy Award-winning album “A Meeting By The River” with Ry Cooder.
Manx’s musical journey has seen him busking in the streets of Europe, playing in Japanese shopping malls, and even a time when he regularly bumped into none other than John Lennon for three months, on a daily basis as Manx took a job in a New York City studio where Lennon was recording his album “Mind Games”.
As fate would have it, it was while Manx was busking in the aforementioned Japanese mall that he first heard the sound of a mohan veena being played on an instrumental Indian album in a small record store. The guy in the store told him it was Vishwa Mohan Bhatt playing, and there began Harry’s journey to go to India find Bhatt.
Even though he had played slide guitar for many years before arriving in India, Manx started back at the beginning under Bhatt’s tutelage, even re-learning how to hold the bar. From there, Manx learned Eastern scales and eventually ragas, deceptively complex and regimented musical patterns that form the basis of Indian composition.
He spent three to four hours each morning practicing in Bhatt’s home before returning that evening for a jam session with the tutor, his sons and various other fellow musicians. “Sometimes I’d throw in some blues licks in the middle,” he says, “and everyone would fall over laughing and enjoying themselves. And I thought if I can get Indian people to enjoy Western music like that, then maybe I could get Westerners to enjoy Indian music, too.”
Harry decided to explore this thread of connection between the two musical traditions.
His signature style follows in the footsteps of such pioneering work as that of Joe Harriott and John Mayer and their Indo-jazz fusions in the '60s, John McLaughlin’s work with Shakti in the 70s, and Ashwin Batish’s innovative raga-rock hybrid Sitar Power in 1987. But Manx’s own indo-blues fusion seems destined to be the most universally appealing yet.
Born on the Isle of Man, Manx immigrated to Ontario with his parents when he was six years old. He started doing sound at age 15 and gradually worked his way up to becoming a regular soundman at the well-known El Mocambo club in Toronto, where he worked with a slew of blues legends. While Manx doesn’t consider himself to be a blues artist per se, he does admit that blues is at the heart of much of his work. “I’ve always had one foot in the blues from those days," he says. "What I got from those artists is a groove that’s fairly similar to theirs. That’s what I’m particularly interested in, the groove, and that’s the way I play blues today.
“I went to Europe when I was 20 and started making money as a busker,” recalls Manx. “I’ve worked only as a musician since then. Few people know that I was actually a one-man band with a drum-and-bass feel to my sound. I still have that one-man-band sound.”
Much of Manx’s time in India was spent meditating with different masters, which in turn has imbued his music with an intangible spiritual quality. “I always cloak my messages with inspirational ideas in a story,” Harry explains. “I also try and reach the listeners’ hearts rather than their minds. With the mind, there’s always a filtering of ‘I agree’ or ‘I don’t agree.’ I like to engage people’s hearts. I’ve always had more interest in my own development as a person than I had in my music. I think my music has done well partly as a result of my years of meditation. I can’t take complete responsibility. My songs are a synthesis of everything I’ve absorbed. We’re the sum of all of our experiences.”
Those years of busking on the street in various locations around the world taught him how to truly connect with and move an audience. His training in India allowed him to approach music from a different perspective, where the focus is on the song and on the transfer of energy between the performer and the listener. What makes Harry an exceptional performer is his ability to completely give himself over to the song in the moment, creating a deep well of emotion for the audience to draw from. It’s in the live setting, Manx says, that a bridge between “heavenly” India and “earthy” American blues is most effectively built.
“Indian music moves inward,” he explains. “It’s traditionally used in religious ceremonies and meditation, because it puts you into this whole other place. But Western music has the ability to move out, into celebration and dance. There are ragas that sound bluesy, and there are ways to bend strings while playing blues that sound Indian. I may be forcing the relationship between the two musical cultures, but I keep thinking they were made for each other.