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hans zimmer Live

LIVE: The World of Hans Zimmer @ Manchester Arena

WORDS BY LUKE LIDDLE  PHOTOS BY MANC WANDERER

35 years and over 150 films into his career, iconic German composer Hans Zimmer has curated a live symphonic retrospective of his vast body of work, which reached UK shores this week. Despite the fact that Zimmer himself is not a physical part of this tour, Manchester Arena, in its seated configuration is very close to being sold out, with a crowd from across the age spectrum coming to bask in some of the greatest ever celluloid soundtracks.

hans zimmer

As opposed to previous Zimmer-related tours, where individual songs from his films were performed, the pieces played this evening are mini-suites, starting with the themes from The Dark Knight and King Arthur. Zimmer himself appears in pre-recorded videos with a few of his film collaborators, including Ron Howard, who introduces selections from Rush and The Da Vinci Code. The latter is a sprawling mishmash of Zimmer’s ‘scrapbook’, his original ideas for the score, not all of which made it to the actual film. It twists and turns, by far the longest piece played throughout the night and somewhat overstaying its welcome.

After a 20 minute intermission, the mood changes significantly, with a joyous romp through some of the animated films that Zimmer has contributed to, from Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda to The Lion King, the latter proceeded by a video introduction featuring Lebo M, who provided the iconic chant at the start of the film. The feel-good factor is continued with excerpts from rom-com The Holiday, which takes on an almost rock flavour. The set then builds to a dramatic denouement, with Gladiator and Inception. Gladiator features the stunning vocals of Lisa Gerrard, the Australian artist who co-wrote some of the films’ work with Zimmer. The arena rises to its feet for an ovation, prompting a somewhat inevitable, yet thrilling, an encore of Pirates of the Caribbean.

‘The World of Hans Zimmer’ is a success as a production, a potent reminder of Zimmer’s vast influence across the world of film and music and a testament to the magic that he and his collaborators have created across the decades.

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LIVE: Ist Ist @ Gorilla

WORDS BY: NATHAN BAILEY      PHOTO BY: TRUST A FOX

One of them New fangled musical troops Ist Ist filled Gorilla on Saturday night on the penultimate leg of their spring tour. Like the daffodils they have been sprouting up across the country this past month, basking in the light of their latest EP Everything is Different Now. They also had some ‘Special Guests’, popular lads that they are.

Pick of the special guests’ bunch were Salfordians Red Light Effect, who were great value on the night. They had Corby trouser press crisp adult songwriting on offer, reminiscent of a pre-Daily Mail era Morrissey yet lathered in that gigantic expression pedal guitar sound you all know and love. Singer Ian Scott certainly cut a charismatic figure as he hollered above the snowdrifts of guitar delay, and with the aid of a mysterious box stuck halfway up the mic stand sounds an awful lot like some wonderful northern bird of paradise calling for a mate. Red Light Effect also wear great shoes! What’s not to like.

Now, let’s just say it. Ist Ist are a MOOD. They have the potential to unite unhappy teenagers and their “young in the eighties” parents in a way not seen since Rick Rolling appeared and the overwhelming verdict of a death penalty for Astley reached across the generational divide.

They begin their set brooding through Preachers Warning and I’m Not Here. Gorilla is tense. Tantalisingly so. The whole place is threatening to boil over, like a derby day nil-nil with blue touch paper teasing flame. Anti-guitar solos tinker with the central heating controls and it’s getting warmer as the band bring out one of their superior early numbers Silence. There is a solid tradition of artists sculpting into their work the dichotomy of sound and silence, Kierkegaard through John Cage via Paul Simon. You can add Ist Ist’s take to that list, it is a banger. Certainly more so than Kierkegaard ever was.

 

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Post-show, Sheffield… • 📸 – @malwhichelow

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For this EP Ist Ist added multi-instrumentalist Mat Peters to their ranks. whilst this tipped their new songs on a slightly different trajectory with keys heavy tracks like Jennifer’s Lips it has also given a symphonic slant to some of their older material which is most welcome. If this isn’t enough for you, he also happens to be a really nice guy, so there, have that.

At the core of the bands sound on the old stuff and the new is Adam Houghton’s wonderful voice. In the darker number’s such as the aptly named Black, Houghton gets positively subterranean. Such tones must be heard down in the ninth circle of Dante’s low register, along with Nick Cave, Mr Curtis and that bloke out of The National.

Of course, despite all the brooding that exudes from a lot of Ist Ist’s more melancholic work, a maudlin nil-nil this is not. They offer up surprisingly catchy stripped back little number I want to disappear. This is followed swiftly after by a wondrous end to the set where they kindly smash up all that tension lest anyone have to split a taxi home with it. Renditions of Nights arm and Diversion kick all this to pieces, along with any lingering eagerness from the audience to compare Ist Ist wearily to a certain Manchester band from days yonder. Thumping through these tunes you would say they were more reminiscent of The Editors at the 2005 Munich best. That’s a bloody good compliment in case you were wondering.

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LIVE: Sleaford Mods @ Manchester O2 Academy

WORDS BY NATHAN BAILEY         PHOTO BY VISION HAUS MUSIC

A rather well dressed Parisian man once told me that he liked Sleaford Mods because they talk about real life. It is anyone’s guess what Messrs Fearn and Williamson would have to say about reflecting life in the city of light. However its probably a safe bet that, like most things they do, it would be worth listening to. Last weekend at the O2 Academy they certainly were.

Before the Mods took to the stage however, we are treated to post-punk pontiffs LIINES who have been supporting them on this tour, how nice of them. I first saw LIINES in the wonderful Ferret in Preston. Rather amazingly, if memory serves, they were on first in the little gem of a pub. They absolutely battered it in the Ferret and the big step-up in size here did not seem to daunt them one bit.

They were perfectly at home on the O2 Academy stage, fringes all to the left saluting the flag, dressed in funeral black. I’m not sure who’s funeral it was but judging by LIINES performance they must have had a keen ear for hell for leather drum beats and riffs that make you want to do that half jump thing when you’re on your tiptoes at gigs. You know the one.

Angry and sophisticated, their set is a fitting birthday present to singer Zoe McVeigh’s dad, how sweet. A highlight of their set was the last song on the night: Never There. It’s got this strange tough-but-catchy quality to it, like a big concrete net. The whole of last years debut Stop-Start is, in fact, a big concrete net. Go and throw yourself in.

And so it was. There we were. Full speed ahead for the Sleaford Mods. They are the best double act since Torvill and Dean and you know what, they have got better moves too. Andrew Fearn trots on stage wide-grinned with the oversized backpack of a graffiti vandal and his now, surely certified ICONIC baseball cap. We couldn’t spot the Guinness officials but Andrew waves his way through the quickest soundcheck of all time as he plucks his computer out of his bag and (presumably) crosses off all them annoying McAfee ‘EXPIRED!’ warnings. He briefly disappears only to return with Jason and off they go galivanting through Into The Payzone, Subtraction and Flipside, all from their fantastic latest offering Eton Alive. 

Williamson is immense through all of this. He can-cans about like Liza Minelli’s edgier brother, leans out over his microphone stand like Raw Power-era Iggy Pop, and dances gracefully like a young Brazilian Ronaldo’s harder twin, bearing down on the defence.

It’s easy to forget when listening to the serious subject matters and snarly interviews what a laugh Sleaford Mods are. But that is the point of them. They are a band of contradictions. Their set contains genuine Saturday night spinners like BHS and Tied up in Notts as well as swear-hinged toasts to kebabs. Sleaford Mods openly bear disdain for music with a ‘social conscience’ whilst having a go at it themselves. Don’t like punk but they have a go at it themselves. They have a go at themselves.

 

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Cheer up @sleaford_mods, you played a frigging blinder last night #manchester #workingclasselectronics

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Their songs are lacing social satires and personal tales of addiction healing at once and then neither. Sleaford Mods seem to have that intangible quality of a band you can’t ignore but make it look as though they couldn’t ‘give a monkeys’ if they did. They scream for your attention as sneer mongers and then pat you on the back for giving to charity. They claim they’re influenced by the Pet Shop Boys! They’ve got your head in a vice and they’re not letting go. If you’re feeling tense then fear not as one look at Andrew, seemingly the happiest man alive, will put you at ease. Good Cop Bad Cop anyone?

The set was an absolute stormer, a great selection of the newer tunes and a healthy dose of the classics. What a joyous world we live in where there is classic Sleaford Mods. This review could have gone on and on happily but Sleaford Mods reminded us that ‘it’s just new music magazines lying to us’, so like Jason we will leave you as he left us pirouetting proudly off the stage like Nijinsky. Go and have a McFlurry.

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LIVE: James Chance and Die Contortions @ Soup Kitchen, Manchester

WORDS BY: PATRICK PRESTON

It’s quite the ‘chance’ encounter – best to get that out of the way early – to have the no wave legend and jazz-punk curmudgeon on these shores, let alone in the stark basement of the Northern Quarter’s Soup Kitchen. Many of tonight’s gig-goers, themselves possibly survivors from the scene’s experimental ‘80s heyday, seem aware of the bill’s implausibility, as well as highly discerning – so particular is Chance and his Contortions’ smoky jazz-bar vibe that it calls for a support act that’s similarly fully-realised, which on this occasion is found in Glaswegian six-piece KAPUTT. Featuring sharp saxophone and two intertwining percussionists, it’s an intriguing set-up, which suddenly jerks into life with blocky beats and a tangle of summery guitars.

A wiry, besuited front man holds the crowd’s sway with nonsensical barking, propping up demented instrumentals with a vintage swagger; his coarse, repeated vocal stabs play off the anxious-sounding melodies, and pleasurably interlock with the skittery dual percussion. Pleasingly, the song Highlight lives up to its name, leaving tonight’s most gratifying impression with its wobbly bass line, jumpy cowbell and frantically-traded vocal parts (“Highlight”/”HIGHLIGHT!”). Long before the group’s set ends, the audience act as visibly enraptured as their wildly hopping saxophonist, finding a shared joyousness in the bouncy, yet deeply cerebral grooves.

Soon enough, the crowd’s eagerness becomes palpable, with masses huddling to the front of the stage to catch a glimpse of Chance’s diminutive, scowling figure. Suddenly, the world-weary Contortions are finger-snapped into a rigid post-punk beat, which supports Chance’s own strangled lounge-singer yelps, and instantly showcases the group’s skilfully layered percussion, elastic-sounding bass and a mesmerising guitar talent. Following this is the menacing, yet measured Gil Scott-Heron cover Home is Where the Hatred Is, which leads with Chance’s deftly slinking saxophone, and builds over a strutting bass foundation; at his signal, the shrill instrumentation slowly fades to just a passage of muted percussion, heightening the existing tension and forcing the crowd’s focus onto his eerie, confrontational lyrics, before slicing through the atmosphere with razor-like sax parts. The set then swerves into dissonant organ jamming – a genuine vintage Hammond, as I’m reliably informed by my companion – before settling at the darkened crawl of the provocatively-named Sax Maniac, whose relatively thin structure carefully reinforces its unsettling nature.

Chance masterfully controls his band’s flow throughout wildly expansive and more restrained sections, sometimes multiple times in the same song, yanking it back with a snarling ‘c’mon fellas.’ It’s at the point of lovelorn ballad The Days of Wine and Roses – which plays off the guitarist’s busy, effortless chords with the mournful leading sax – that my friend most feels like he’s walked into an episode of Twin Peaks, and with good reason; the song’s vintage instrumentation and tender crooning truly encapsulates the mood of an intangible bygone era, and its dedication to Chance’s wife Judy, who ‘sadly couldn’t be here tonight’, only adds to its emotive charm. Further pushing this energy is a smouldering Sinatra cover of That’s Life, which abandons all of its original triumphant melody for a disaffected and dissonant post-punk interpretation.

A broken guitar string threatens to halt the night’s simmering tension, but stands no chance against Chance’s signature track (and most well-known ‘hit’) Contort Yourself, which harks back to his explosive no wave bandleader days – its paranoid, jerky grooves elicit the greatest amount of recognition and movement from the audience, who exude a relief that the night ends with a bang, rather than a whimper.

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LIVE: Self Esteem @ YES

WORDS BY: MATTHEW PYWELL     PHOTOS BY: JOANNA BRADTKE

Due to growing frustrations and worries of a career seemingly stalling, Rebecca Taylor, formerly one half of Slow Club, left behind folk to create a pop/R&B music project. Thus, Self Esteem was born, with Rebecca releasing her debut album Compliments Please on March 1st, to critical acclaim.

They band come out and go straight in to Rollout, the stage is lit in a radiant red and so are the band in all red top/trouser combinations. Every member apart from Rebecca is wearing a t-shirt with the phrase, “believe in women” and female empowerment is a key theme throughout the set. Rollout sees Rebecca assert a dominant stage presence, she is front and centre, as they begin going through choreographed dance sections, that aren’t exactly strenuous but none the less are perfect visual aids to the grooves of the songs. It was interesting to note that when the backing singers weren’t needed, they stood perfectly still and expressionless, as if they were androids in low power mode. This suited the mix of electronic R&B on wrestling perfectly.

The longer the set went on, the more endearing Taylor became, her sense of sarcastic humour winning over the crowd by being naturally disarming. At one point saying, “this is the Self Esteem live experience, lets keep doing it I suppose”. At one point she notes that she’s been going through the set too quickly, so resorts to asking the crowd what they for tea. Out of the various answers, Risotto is the answer that strikes her as the oddest, the whole moment feeling like a off-kilter fourth wall break.

Taylor still hasn’t quite left behind all of her folk roots, the track Girl Crush sees the singers lay down finger clicks as a kind of makeshift bass line, mixed with some soaring fiddle parts in the backing track. A lot of the tracks off of Compliments Please dealt with Taylor‘s sense of identity, in both a sense of doubt and contrastingly in a sense of self-positivity. Self Esteem‘s live show focuses more on the positive aspects, in fact it is an experience of unbridled joy.

The performance of In Time is a monumental moment of bliss. Rebecca‘s vocals are completely transparent, she sings with a booming, crystal clear clarity. A singalong starts and Taylor breaks her composure occasionally to laugh in disbelief at the overwhelmingly positive reception from the crowd. “I feel like Robbie Williams“, she exclaims before starting The Best. There are further moments of disbelief and outbursts of laughter before they go off for the encore. The reciprocal joy felt between both audience and artist was quite remarkable to behold.

Taylor comes back, almost in tears and says, “is this what getting married feels like?”, the first track in the encore is Favourite Problem, which has a gloriously anthemic chorus, especially with the triple threat of the vocalists in full swing. The highlight of the night was the final song, I’m Shy, which was performed in the middle of the crowd acoustically. It was a truly special moment to end a special night, a real focus on mesmeric vocal highs that brought the room to a standstill. The band members form a makeshift conga line and leave the room. It was a stunning set that gathered more and more joyous momentum the longer it went on, it was a shame that they had to end their set.

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LIVE: Maribou State @ The Albert Hall

WORDS BY: TIM MOONEY         PHOTOS BY: SAM NEILL AT BRIXTON ACADEMY

The Manchester Albert Hall was a lost venue until it reopened back in 2013. The refurbished Wesleyan chapel now provides a unique environment for some of the bigger bands and artists who take their tours to Manchester, and its vintage, somewhat eerie setting matched perfectly with the bold and euphoric sounds of Maribou State at the weekend.

Celebrating the release of their third Studio album which surfaced in September 2018, Maribou State have been touring America and Europe ever since, and their sold out Manchester show was met with great anticipation from fans. After arriving at the venue and finding a spot close to the stage, which was at the time kitted out with the bands impressive range of performance equipment, my attention turned to the supporting DJ, Earlyham Mystics.

He provided an eclectic mix of ambient and uplifting tracks (similar to what you may expect to hear from artists like George Fitzgerald or even Bonobo at times) and did a great job of lifting the mood and keeping people dancing as the audience started to flood in and fill the hall. Earlyham Mystics ended his set at around 20:45 to a ripple of applause and general appreciation from the crowd before departing for the main act.

On reflection, I feel he could have continued his set for longer, as by the end the crowd was much larger than it had been midway through his set, and I felt he was deserving of a larger audience. In addition, Maribou State came out slightly later than scheduled, around 20 minutes later, meaning the mood of the crowd had started to dwindle slightly during the long break between performances. Nonetheless, when the lights dimmed and Maribou State took to the stage to perform opening track Home, the restlessness of the crowd was immediately forgotten as we became soothed by the ambient yet powerful sounds of their arrival.

I will always be slightly biased toward bands that show a range of musical talents and switch seamlessly between instruments during a performance, therefore, Maribou State have my complete gratitude. Each member had a range of keyboards, sample pads, guitars and synthesizers at their fingertips and alternated their use of each piece of equipment throughout their tracks. And as if there wasn’t already enough for the eye to take in, their touring vocalist Holly Walker took to the stage for their third track Steal. This added a whole new dimension to the performance which previously had no obvious leading member, but now Holly was able to address the hall from her position as front woman, and the crowd absolutely loved it.

The smooth transitions between each track meant there wasn’t a real need for the band to talk in-between songs, so instead they did so during tracks, or to motivate on the build-up to a big chorus. From start to end, they provided a constant flow of music that fluctuated perfectly between mellow breaks and explosive, stadium-worthy choruses, all performed before a vintage-esque, summery backdrop that could have had even the frowniest gig-goer in the hall smiling peacefully. Maribou State closed the show with Turnmills, a personal favourite of mine lifted from their most recent album, and the crowd were sad to see them go after a mesmerising performance.

All in all, Maribou State’s performance felt like a breath of fresh air and frenzy of dance all in one, and I hope to catch them again at a festival this summer.

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LIVE: Saint Raymond @ Gorilla

WORDS BY: DOM TAYLOR

After nearly 4 years since his hit debut albumYoung Blood Callum Burrows, AKA Saint Raymond, is back and better than ever.

With a new album promised to be on the way, Saint Raymond embarked on a mini tour of the UK, playing his classic brand of sing-along-able, upbeat, indie tunes from his debut record, interspersed with the singles he released in 2018. His time away from gigging seemingly didn’t lose him any fans, as he performed to a loving crowd at a packed out Gorilla.

 

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finally got to see my favourite song live after 5 years 🎉 thanks 4 the anniversary present @mr_ticklee love u x

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Going through his discography from breakout hits such as Everything She Wants, to the more recent crowd favourite Nightcrawler, his and his bands infectious enthusiasm resonated with everyone in attendance. Throughout the set the crowd knew every word to every song, and blasted them out with beaming joy.

In the encore we were treated to a solo performance from Callum – an intimate interlude which saw him perform some of his slower jams, with the audience once again passionately singing his lyrics back to him. A truly beautiful and heartwarming moment of the night. His band returned for the last few tunes seeing out the night the way it started – up tempo and high energy.

Considering his music is arguably hard to dislike, with its catchy melodies and easy to remember lyrics, Saint Raymond has his fair share of critics. Cynics argue his music is safe and forgettable. Of course like anything, his music is not to everyone’s taste, but to label it safe and forgettable takes away from the quality with which his music is produced.

 

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Bristol and Manchester, you were a dream. Thanks so much to everyone for coming out on this tour. I’ll be back very soon 😛

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Every song is slick and fun, most of which you can see yourself sat on the grass at a festival with your mates and a pint. Saint Raymond isn’t trying to be the next Morrissey and he doesn’t need to be. His songs are made with passion and that comes shining through when seeing him perform. His music mirrors his personality – authentic, fun and carefree.

If the reaction and turnout for his gig is any indication of his future success, expect a big comeback from Saint Raymond.

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LIVE: Deacon Brody @ Retro

WORDS BY BEN HAMLEN      PHOTOS BY ROMAN KUCHARSK

This is not the first time Deacon Brody have played in Manchester, but this time around they are playing their very own headline show at Retro (formerly known as Hive) on Sackville Street, in a small but intimate basement with a surprisingly good sound system. Deacon Brody are an indie-rock band, named after a pub, hailing from the green hills of East Lancashire and at a point where they have sculpted their sound over two EPs and are now ready to unleash it on to the indie circuit.

Down in the basement, we were immediately branded with Deacon Brody stickers and swamped with a view of the DB paraphernalia filling the room. If you didn’t know who’s show this was, you sure as hell do now. They enter with all guns blazing with a energetic performance. A highlight of the set came from Live Forever which is the brand new single release: a lively, heartfelt track with a stadium-like breakdown which really gets the goosebumps tingling. Loving Night was another stand out track, splitting the crowd into a frenzy. Then they played Repair off there Vol.II EP and the crowd start lip-syncing every word.

Deacon Brody end the set with an encore rendition of Nina Simone’s Feeling Good, as lead singer, Jayke, hits the high notes almost pitch-perfect throughout the set. When the “I’m feeling good” chorus drops the crowd bop harder and harder after every verse. 

One thing that was lacking was decent lighting to make it more of a spectacle but overall, the Deacon Brody lads have gone from strength to strength with each release getting better and better, filled with catchier hooks and a bigger sound. They put on an energetic show and perform with a passion that feeds the crowd. The next Deacon Brody gig is at Jimmy’s, supporting Indigo Lo, Friday 3rd May 2019. Be sure to check them out.

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LIVE: Augmented presents Kerri Chandler @ Gorilla

WORDS BY SAM KERSHAW

Kerri Chandler has been one of house music’s originators since the early nineties. That term originator gets bound around a little too flippantly these days but this is not one of those occasions. From his native New Jersey roots and a backdrop of soul, disco, and garage from his late great father who was also a DJ, Chandler has established himself as a true selector in every sense of the word. As an ambassador of the 4/4 beat, his sets champion a bold plethora of styles, genres and decades.

The most exciting thing about tonight is that Chandler is playing all night long to 600 people in a modest venue under the railway tracks of Whitworth Street West. To give this a little context, tomorrow night he will curate and headline his own show at the Printworks – a 5,000 capacity venue on the banks of Canada Water in London.

Tonight, he kicks off the first hour with some neo-soul and US vocal house followed by some mid-tempo chug, as the crowd bob and weave into their stride. Once he’s found his feet, we a treated to an up-tempo gospel-infused cut of Sister Sledge’s ‘Lost in Music’ and Uptown Funk Empire’s ‘You’ve Got To Have Freedom’. There is a slight lull in proceedings as he gets bogged down with the jazz piano and the atmosphere falls a tad flat. However, redemption is served via the broken beats of some New York garage and a heavy dose of meaty tech house. The latter incorporates the vocal from Loleatta Holloway’s ‘Love Sensation’, sending the crowd into a fever pitch.

The current musical climate is littered with amazing DJ’s come producers – Four Tet, Ben UFO, Floating Points – to name but a few, but Kerri Chandler feels like the engine room on the roster. There’s no effects unit, no all singing all dancing lighting rig, projector screens, lasers et al. It’s six hours of straight up, soulful house, disco and garage on two turntables and it has the clientele in Gorilla eating out of the palm of his hand.

For the pessimists that think that house music all sounds the same, they should let Kerri Chandler take them on a journey. It will make them take a step back and realise it’s time to have a quiet word with themselves.

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LIVE: The Paper Kites @ Manchester Academy

WORDS BY: MELISSA KAPLAN  PHOTOS BY: FELICITY DELL

What began as a harmonic duo-writing song team, Australian natives The Paper Kites have grown into a harmonic international band. They embarked on a tour, stopping by Manchester to a sold out crowd.

Much to the delight of the crowd, The Paper Kites performed live harmonies as they can also be heard on the recorded tracks as all 5 members add a different component to the vocals. While the band is promoting their new album On the Corner Where You Live (and On The Train Ride Home also released in 2018), the room really came alive when the band returned to form on the more acoustic and harmonic tracks.

The audience experience was elevated when the band requested the lights be turned off. The room went silent along with the heart-wrenching lyrics from the song Arms, “What can I give that is all for you? These arms are all I have. But I’ll hold you like I do love you.” There were a few moments you could see small amounts of tears in the eyes and streaming down faces in the crowd – a rarity in modern music.

When surveying the room, the most common theme was the feeling of comfort. The band poured their emotion our right into the audience from the first guitar strum and held on tight throughout the performance. The emotion shared wasn’t from fandom, but rather just the intensity of the melodies and lyrics hitting home.

During the encore the band returned to a similar form with one guitar and 5 vocals. They sang a cover of a traditional Irish folk song, with 3 different band members taking the lead on various verses of the song. The room sang along on the chorus, filling the space with the ambience of warm harmonies.

If you have not yet heard of this Aussie group, give them a listen. My personal recommendations being Bloom, Arms, and Paint. Let The Paper Kites 3 million plus monthly listener-ship on Spotify be validity of this modern band’s rad sound.

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