Manchester’s Fair Play Festival Previewed by Slow Cooked, the hardest working cellist in DIY showbiz

With only a couple of weeks to go before Fair Play Festival gets underway, we asked Slow Cooked for his preview of this grand musical day out in Manchester.  

Photos: Martha Treves | Additional Words: Lloyd Bolton

We can’t wait to get to Manchester’s Fair Play Festival on 1st April, with one act we are especially looking forward to being Slow Cooked (the moniker of the hardest working cellist in DIY showbusiness, Louie Barby). Slow Cooked is known for a unique, groovy brand of cello-led music, which backs bitterly sarcastic and very funny monologues parodying professional bullshit (“I negotiated a shirtless contract / So I can look sexy when I’m at my desk”). He also regularly pops up in a range of bands on the London scene including that of Platonica Erotica, who also features at the festival. We got him to provide some musical tips for the festival and a bit of not-quite-local knowledge about the city to help guide us through the day.

This is this first Slow Cooked festival outing, right? How does the new setting affect the Slow Cooked set? Have you got your big sing-along/clap-along sections planned?

Yes this is the first SC festival outing, and I’m going to play them the hits! Putting together a setlist for this is nice because I’ll have the surprise element and I can recycle my jokes. I usually throw in a cover or a costume change to keep the stans (my lovely dedicated friends) appeased, but I think we’re just going to work on strengthening the set and making the Slow Cooked experience as tight and explosive as possible. I’m tempted to do at least one verse of ‘Wonderwall’, although I bet Scalping are already planning to cover this and wouldn’t want to encroach.

I’m also very excited because lots of our family and friends will be there and many of them haven’t seen the current iteration of the project. My Dad is often my litmus test for music, so this really could make or break Slow Cooked…

Have you been to Manchester before? What are your top tips for places to go eat/drink/dance there? 

Plenty of times. I’m from Holmfirth, near Huddersfield, so it’s just over the moors! In my family it’s considered a place to do some clothes shopping, to see an arty film that isn’t being shown at Hudders Odeon or just for a day out on birthdays for good food (see below).

I actually saw my first ever gig in Manchester with my Dad, The Magic Numbers. Between 15-18 me and my mates would often head on excursions to Manchester to gigs to feel like real adults.

My biggest recommendation in Manchester is a small but legendary curry house in the Northern Quarter called ‘This and That’. It’s been around since the 80s and serves absolutely delicious curries in a no-nonsense canteen format. Get yourself a ‘Rice and 3’ and you will be thanking me later.

What will you be doing between performances? 

Obviously, I need to slip a This and That in somewhere as a priority, but I could perhaps try and do this before the drive back on Sunday.

I’m playing at the Night and Day café, first as Slow Cooked and then again later with Platonica Erotica. I’ll need to have a good study of the stage times to see who I can squeeze in between these sets as it’s a pretty mouth-watering line up! You can certainly count on me being at Scalping and Grove til late and catching up with friends. 

Who are you most excited about on the bill?

Oh man, it’s such eclectic and diverse line up – so buzzing to be part of it! I’ve whittled it down to 5:

Naima Bock – Gasping to finally see Naima, this is the biggest recommendation for my Dad too (you’ll love it Dad). Her music is so beautiful and her voice so grounding, plus my friend Fran (heka) will be joining her band for this which is a dangerous prospect.

Robbie and Mona – I am yet to see R&M but love their vibe and world-building. They’ve just brought out a pretty gorgeous album out so I’m really hoping I get to see them bring that to life!

Keg – You ever seen anyone shred a conch?! I love these boys, they have mastered the art of live entertainment. They’re a must see.

Scalping and Grove –Two acts I’ve wanted to see for a while. Scalping is the kind of music you want to get really sweaty to and Grove’s live shows look like pure energy.

And finally…. definitely come and see Platonica Erotica! I’m extremely biased because I play in the band, but I wish I could just watch sometimes because Hannah is a genius and so captivating.

Fair Play Festival takes place on Saturday 1st April. Fourth Release tickets are available here for £30.80. We’ll see you there!

Check out Slow Cooked on Soundcloud here.