Marissa's Manchester Comedy Festival Diary - Apotheca - 19th Oct

You think you know someone eh? Then it turns out back in their teens they were in a heavy metal band, signed to a major label and supported Motorhead and Ice T. Who da thought it?

Sam Avery has been around on the comedy scene for some time now, but his debut solo show reveals his showbiz secret - he was the bass player in the only slightly known but promising metallers dBh. Gaining notoriety before they'd even finished their A'levels, the youngsters found themselves catapulted into a rock 'n' rock lifestyle, then just as quickly after they were almost bottled off by punks they were dropped by the record label and fleeced by their manager. It's an engaging tale, entertainingly told and that he hopes to take to Edinburgh and possibly on tour but not with Ice T this time.

It's just one of the shows on a busy programme of events at Apotheca. The Northern Quarter bar proved a popular spot last year both for its shows and after-show drinks. This year looks to be no exception.

Scottish legend and the alter ego of Paul Sneddon, Vladimir McTavish was also on the bill the night I popped in and rounded off the evening with his latest solo show A Scotman's Guide to Betting. McTavish opens the show confessing that he's not a betting man, or at least he wasn't until a year ago when he discovered that bookies Paddy Power offer odds on almost anything. It got McTavish wondering if it was possible to win enough money to pay for his Edinburgh show this August. It's a great hook on which to hang some fine stand up on - the sheer diversity of those bets allows for plenty of scope on the material without ever actually straying off topics. A canny and gag filled move.

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