Posts Tagged ‘Manchester’

Aggressive, venomous & repulsively sweet. 


Over on BBC interactive [red button] Elbow are playing an exclusive live session at Manchester Cathedral. Accompanied by the Hallé Youth Choir, the Mercury prize winners of 2008 are treating an intimate congregation to an eight-song serenade. 

Three songs in and lead singer Guy Garvey is already perspiring like a member of the St Paul’s clergy. Aptly the fresh-faced choir boys and girls join in proceedings on the soothing Lippy Kids, taken off their latest critically-acclaimed album Build a Rocket Boys!

Crowd-pleasing frontman - Elbow's Guy Garvey. Photo: MrsWoman @ Flickr

Cathedral venues always have an eerie, mystical property to them; a trait exploited by gospel-influenced alternative acts such as Arcade Fire

In between footage sees the Bury boys visit their local Temple Bar and the Soundhouse: scene of their triumphant debut gig witnessed by 355 individuals. 

Elbow are celebrating their 20th birthday this year, a stint that has spawned five terrific records – consistently awarded 9/10 by the NME.


Grounds For Divorce

The Night Will Always Win

Lippy Kids

Weather To Fly

Station Approach

Scattered Black and Whites

Open Arms

One Day Like This

Watch the concert highlights here: and see the BBC Radio 2 webpage for more clips.

Echo & The Bunnymen have a legacy. Evidently this is something Ian McCulloch needs to learn and not ruin. “We think it’s important to keep coming back” the gruff, notoriously uncompromising vocalist tells this evening’s all-seater audience. The lavish decor of Manchester’s Palace Theatre provides suitable backrest for the ageing crowd, 80% of which I hazard are 40-plus somethings. “Anyone got verrrtigo?” he quizzes the third tier, accentuating his Liverpudlian Rs.

Echo & The Bunnymen – Ocean Rain (cover art)

Arctic Monkeys poster – coincidence or influence?

Musically, The Doors-inspired Bunnymen are a hard band to define. A swift tour of the venue leaves me equally befuddled after spotting fans exhibiting a collection of Ramones, Cribs and Avril Lavigne shirts. A post-punk classification perhaps?

Tonight Echo are back to showcase in full their flagship album Ocean Rain; released in 1984 at the height of their powers. The addition of strings makes it an extra bit special. In a warming introduction, the string sextet treats us to a version of Love Will Tear Us Apart (always a winner in Manchester).

The first Bunnymen half of the evening is a greatest hits rendition. Initially I’m more blown away by the relentless outgassing of dry ice. McCulloch’s chronic croakiness is probably a symptom. Rescue and Never Stop rouse the restless when the Scouse singer unexpectedly harmonises with a throng of boisterous mid-tier Geordies.

After the interval we return for the Ocean Rain run-through. Immediately the beautiful Silver sparkles, inspiring outbursts of “la la la la las” and “ti ti ti ti tips”. The supplementary strings add powerful backing to Nocturnal Me and the stirring Thorn of Crowns.

The Bunnymen are riding a wave once The Killing Moon has set, and it heightens after navigating the glorious Seven Seas. All waves have to crash however and when a crowd disturbance first curtails Ocean Rain, McCulloch’s own tempestuous nature is provoked.

The Ocean Rain interruption doesn’t leave us entirely drenched with disappointment. An encore of Nothing Lasts Forever and Lips Like Sugar go some way towards sweetening the sour taste.

Today the Echo influence manifests perhaps most closely in the 4th album material of Arctic Monkeys – who were dubbed their ‘spiritual heirs’ by The Guardian. Comparisons are futile though as Echo have carved out an uncontested niche for themselves over the years. Through the haze and controversy aside this was a close to triumphant performance of their best.