[b]nme.com[/b] is there to see [b]Gaz Whelan[/b] and [b]Paul Ryder[/b]'s new band [b]Buffalo 66[/b] play a secret gig in [b]Manchester[/b]...

Happy Mondays offshoot BUFFALO 66 made their live headlining debut last night (July 4) in their hometown of MANCHESTER at a secret gig.

The six-piece, featuring former Happy Mondays members Paul Ryder and Gaz Whelan, and who supported Ian Brown earlier this year, played to a capacity crowd at Manchester's Band On The Wall pub venue.

The performance came as the future of the reformed Happy Mondays remains in doubt after Paul Ryder quit the before the band played Glastonbury Festival last month (June 25). He was replaced by former Seahorses bassist Stuart Fletcher. During that show, Mondays lead singer Shaun Ryder also stormed offstage, but later claimed his disappearance was over frustration at a faulty autocue.

Billed by the venue as 'a special preview gig', the Buffalo 66 show lasted just half an hour with no encore, to a crowd containing famous local faces such as Gold Blade's John Robb and Twisted Nerve label head Andy Votel.

Opening with 'King Of The Sky', the band played all the songs on their debut 'Hunk Of Burning Love EP', as well as other new material, displaying their characteristic post-Madchester sound. Only vocalist Dennis Bourne addressed the crowd, asking, "Are you feeling alright yes? Are you feeling the vibe yes? We are coming to move, coming to groove yes!"

Speaking to nme.com after the show, Bourne seemed pleased with the results. He said: "I enjoyed it, you know what I mean, I had a good time out there, I saw a few people moving about, dancing having a good time. Everybody I've spoken to so far seemed to enjoy it, so it seems to have gone pretty well." He also admitted to feeling nervous about performing in his home city for the first time. He added: "You've got all your friends there and your family there so it does make it a bit more nerve wracking. We just go out and enjoy ourselves really, that's what we did tonight."

Despite selling out initial quantities of the self-financed 'Hunk Of Burning Love' and the interest generated by their heritage, drummer Whelan said that other than further possible support dates for Ian Brown, the group have not considered their future, stating, "We'll just see what happens, we've got no plans or anything."

Happy Mondays are still scheduled to support Oasis on their forthcoming sold-out UK dates at Bolton Reebok Stadium (July 15/16 ) along with Johnny Marr's new group Healers, Wembley Arena (July 21/ 22) and Edinburgh Murrayfield Stadium (29) both with Doves, and play their own headlining show at London Shepherd's Bush Empire on July 20.

For tickets to the Shepherd's Bush show, go to the nme.com Ticketshop - click here[/url]

Or call the NME 24-Hour Ticketline[/B] on 0870 1 663 663. Calls are charged at national standard rate.

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