The Woodentops At Night and Day Manchester – 21st February 2024.





As long as you have ears to listen, you should listen to the music of The Woodentops.


In the mid to late 1980s, The Woodentops carved out a legacy as one of the most influential bands in the original independent  music scene and before it went mainstream, they were an independent band that actually encouraged you to dance. Led by the enigmatic Rolo McGinty, the band’s ground-breaking 1986 album Giant, fusing elements of post-punk, folk, and psychedelia quickly garnered the band a devoted following and critical acclaim for their unique sound and dynamic live performances. Wooden Foot Cops on the Highway followed in 1988, with the band still pushing musical boundaries, the grinding primitive dance floor classic ‘Wheels Turning’ without doubt influencing the upcoming Madchester music scene. In the last 35 years, despite line-up changes and periods of hiatus, the bands influence with those in the know has never waned and their music has continued to resonate with a new generation of fans and inspired countless artists and bands.

In 1986 I moved to Manchester in a bright yellow Ford Escort full of second-hand suede jackets, rolled up jeans and a fair few records. The stunning album Giant by The Woodentops being one of them. A record which documented the Summer of 1986 perfectly for me.  I can remember seeing the band for the first time supporting Echo and the Bunnymen in Liverpool back in the day and tonight they return to the North-West of England. This time a few miles down the East Lancs Road in Manchester for the first date of a short tour. The Woodentops have strong roots here in the North-West of England. Rolo was once part of Liverpool’s legendary The Wild Swans and bassist Frank de Freitas is the brother of the much-missed Pete, drummer with Echo and the Bunnymen.

Manchester is quiet tonight, but there is, as always, a welcoming orange glow on Oldham Street from Night and Day in the City’s Northern Quarter. Without Night and Day, there probably wouldn’t be a Northern Quarter to be honest and it’s going to be cool seeing the band in an intimate setting. Walking past the bands merch table I notice how cool and iconic the bands tribal artwork still is and I realise it’s been way too long since I’ve seen The Woodentops live. Way too long.

The eclectic sound, infectious energy and poetic lyricism from charismatic frontman, Rolo McGinty are the essence of The Woodentops tonight. The 1985 single, “It Will Come” and dancefloor favourite “Wheels Turning” are as good as ever and more frenetic than I remember, fusing jangly guitars and pulsating rhythms with post-punk fervour and folk and dub sensibilities. “It Will Come” showcasing the band’s knack for crafting anthemic melodies that stick with you long after a song ends. “Wheels Turning” bouncing with the swaying indie dance beat much beloved of the Madchester bands who came several years after the song’s inception. Rolo’s voice, weathered by time, adding a depth and authenticity to the songs that only seasoned musicians can provide.



Introspection, exhilaration and nostalgia are showcased with the stunning “Everything Breaks” and “Why?, Why?, Why?”. The songs effortlessly blending folk with a dance swagger to create a sound uniquely the bands own. “In a Dream” and “Love Train” showcase the band’s ability to shift seamlessly between moods, creating a dynamic and engaging setlist and with its rockabilly rhythm, “Love Train” lingers in the air long after the final notes fade away, resonating on the dimly lit dance floor. It isn’t all nostalgia however and as the set progresses, The Woodentops continue to dazzle with  latest single “Ride a Cloud” showing the band are not just the best soundtrack to the past you’ve ever heard, but a living, breathing musical force. One fan telling me “The new stuff sounds ace”. Something I wholeheartedly agree with mate.

As the night evolves, we are treated to bona-fide classics, “Get It On”, “Good Thing”, “Stop This Car” and “Give It Time”. The crowd, a sea of smiling faces, lost in the music, transported back in time, swaying and singing along, reflecting and appreciating these eternal classic songs. The triumphant crescendo of the night gives us “Move Me”, “Plenty” and “Conversations” bringing the evening to a poignant conclusion, The energy in the room reaching its peak, leaving the crowd applauding for more, a fitting tribute to a band that has stood the test of time and given us such amazing musical memories.

Here’s to many more years of timeless, infectious melodies, magnificent lyrics and electrifying rhythms from this iconic band. With a repertoire spanning decades tonight they reminded me why they’re legends of the indie music scene, their songs still revered as classics and their live performances as electrifying as ever. The Woodentops should be celebrated as pioneers of independent music and as long as you have ears to listen, you should listen to the music of The Woodentops. Get it on.




Too good to stay.

It will come.

Wheels turning.

Liquid thinking.

Don’t stop.

Everything breaks.

Why?, why?, why?


Dream on.

Ride a cloud.

Get it on.

Good thing.

In a dream.

Love train.

Stop this car.

Give it time.

Move me.




28th February 2024- The Forum, Tunbridge Wells

29th  February 2024 Nells, London