Tom Claxton's Manchester Mixtape

Featuring Oasis, Frankie Knuckles, LCD Soundsystem and more

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Tom Claxton, A Manchester Anthem
Photo by Alex Brenner
Published 19 Jul 2023

A heartwarming ode to music, A Manchester Anthem features actor Tom Claxton as working-class Mancunian Tommy, bidding a final farewell to his hometown before moving down south. Taking place over 24 hours to a backing track of classic house music, the show features various sounds from Manchester's musical history. In a nod to the show, we asked Tom to put together a playlist of Manchester bangers and he kindly obliged. 

Oasis – The Shock of the Lightning

Feels right to kick things off with some Oasis – and maybe their most criminally underrated song? It’s big, loud and brash, full of energy, and a tune that I begged to feature in the pre-show playlist. If you hear it before the show, know that I’ll be dancing about backstage to psych myself up!

The Verve – Bittersweet Symphony

One of my go-to morning songs for when I want to walk through town with my headphones on and feel like Richard Ashcroft in the iconic music video. 

Courteeners – Not Nineteen Forever 

The coming-of-age anthem for every indie kid growing up in the North, with the line “you’re not nineteen forever, pull yourself together” serving as a tongue in cheek instruction to a generation resisting change. 

The Smiths – This Charming Man

Continuing the Manchester theme with The Smiths. With so many great songs in their back catalogue it’s hard to choose just one, but This Charming Man felt the most relevant – “I would go out tonight but I haven’t got a stitch to wear”.

Elbow – Mirrorball

The score to maybe my favourite moment in the whole show. Marking the midpoint, night turns into day, the city comes to life, and we follow Tommy as he embarks on his big night out. It’s also the moment where I get to have a tiny break and chug some water!

N Joi – Anthem

The central song of A Manchester Anthem. I couldn’t make this playlist and not include it. It’s impossible to resist the swelling synths, bouncing piano and jangly hi-hats, and, of course, it’s a special and sentimental song for Tommy – but you’ll have to watch the play to find out why!

V.I.M. – Maggie’s Last Party (Oak Lawn Mix)

From the initial conversations with Nick [Dawkins, writer] leading to the play’s conception, to discussions with Charlie throughout the rehearsal process, a focus on class has always been at the forefront. Nobody is more central to this conversation as Margaret Thatcher. This 1991 track throws lines from the then-PM’s speeches over some slowly evolving acid house, mocking the government’s tough line on illegal raves. It’s also incredibly catchy. 

Frankie Knuckles – Your Love

Arpeggiated synths and a thick baseline that captures the spirit of 80s acid house, and a nod to Manchester’s Hacienda scene.  And the backing track to a fun but knackering choreographed dance / slo-motion sequence.

New Order – Temptation (2011 Version)

A perfect, uplifting, end-of-the-night song, by one of Manchester’s most influential bands. “Tonight I think I’ll walk alone, I’ll find my soul as I go home”. Stunning.

LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends

Ending the playlist with my absolute favourite song of all time. All My Friends is an almost eight minute slow build about self reflection, disconnection, and navigating the minefield of adulthood. It’s beautiful and nostalgic and hopeful, leaving you desperate for companionship as the final refrain repeats and repeats – “If I could see all my friends tonight…”