Friday, November 9, 2012

Two gigs in Manchester

Before we left London Pip and I had bought a handful of tickets to gigs up here in Manchester. It was about three months between buying them and the gigs themselves and two of them fell just days apart.

First up was 'The Walkmen' at the HMV Ritz. First of all I love the venue, it's small but well laid out. It's a famous old place which has hosted gig for both The Beatles and The Smiths and has a spring dance floor. After waiting for over half an hour for a taxi, we burst through the front doors to find the room mostly empty. OK so we were a bit early, fortunately this meant we could get a drink and a seat which felt very close to the stage, we watched the gig from here too.

The opening band were OK but as I had been listening to their tracks on Spotify that day I must admit I was a little underwhelmed. The Walkmen themselves turned out to be a fantastic surprise. To sum them up in one sentence I would say: They are now one of my favorite bands. They were just 'that' good. The band were tight and well rehearsed in that size environment and the singer turned out to be an absolute master of his voice. I would say he must be professionally trained as his vocal control was amazing the whole time Pip and I sat in awe of him.

Gig number two was slightly less looked forward to because Muses' new album has seen them alienate us a wee bit. But for the old tunes and the always amazing live set they put on, we decided to head along. We were back at the M.E.N Arena again (Where we saw Morrissey).  We sat in the lower tier at the back but still felt close enough partly due to the stage setup which was slightly forward allowing the crowd to surround them. This was a different Muse to the one I saw at Big Day Out in 2009, this was more of a show which had been very carefully planned. The stage was amazing with a piano that was raised from the ground when needed, a morphing series of screens which resembled a pyramid that at one point ate Dom on his rotating drums. Matt spent more time with just a microphone than usual and although it was a fantastic spectacle (As usual), the Muse I love has moved on and fair enough from their point of view.

As one person put it as we walked home "They have a gone a little 'Boyband-ish'".

Next up is 'The Black Keys' with one of our live favorites 'The Maccabees'.