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The Carrivick Sisters, The Guildhall, Lichfield

  • Published in Live

With their virtuoso blend of musicianship and strong vocal harmonies, the sibling duo The Carrivick Sisters turn the grandeur of Lichfield’s Guildhall in to a Bluegrass club.

Twins Laura (dobro, violin and guitar) and Charlotte (banjo, guitar and mandolin) play a selection of music from their five album career, with the lion’s share of it coming from their most recent release Over the Edge. Acclaimed by a number of famous musicians and the music press the sisters are still only in their early twenties, and yet much of their music had a sound that sounded both modern and traditional.

Their sound ranges from plaintive, country and western to dazzling instrumentals that show off their dexterity. Their vocal blend has something of The Everly Brothers with the emotional ache of Emmylou Harris, whilst their versions of songs by James Taylor, Gillian Welch, and a number of traditional sources take their bare structure and added new flesh to the old bones.

Most of their music is self-penned, and looked at subjects from love and friendship, to war and about songs that escape before they are written down.

The first set includes the clever instrumental ‘Making Horses’ with its changes in time signature, whilst ‘Over the Edge’ is a political song protesting against change. Two songs by Gillian Welch are haunting treatments, the highlight of which is ‘Annabel’, whilst Laura shows her prowess on dobro during ‘Song of the Night’. The traditional ‘Pretty Fair Damsel’ is a fine fit for the duo’s vocal skills, whilst set closer was the twisted love song ‘Dear Someone’.

The second half of the show is started with a fine dobro enhanced ‘Darling Corey’ whilst the jokey song ‘If you asked me’ looks at the unreasonable requests that exist within many love songs. ‘Lady Howard’ is another reading that is full of brooding atmospherics and murderous intent, whilst some light relief is provided by James Taylor’s ‘Sweet Baby James’. ‘Wargames’ is a mature reflection on war, and how boys play with guns, and the old time song ‘Lazy Joe’ was a fine showcase for the mandolin talents of Charlotte.


Tonight was a fine concert, delivered by two talented musicians who have already given much, and have much more to give.


Manchester Orchestra, The Ritz, Manchester

  • Published in Live

Photos: Lee Hammond

Words: Adam Long

Tonight we're here at the Ritz in Manchester for well- established indie rockers Manchester Orchestra. They’ve been touring their arses off in support of their latest album Cope and its subsequent acoustic iteration, Hope; the receptions their live shows have been recently receiving, proving their hard work is paying off.

At first glance the venue doesn't appear as full as we expect, but there's still a sizeable crowd. With the band previously touring earlier in the year it isn't all that surprising they haven't filled the venue, but tonight still proves they have some core fans in the city. Before they take to the stage however, we've the pleasure of Kevin Devine, complete with his full band, though they do have to borrow Manchester’s Orchestra's bass player for a reason we still don’t quite know? But all the same they play a great set, if at times sounding a little samey with minimal crowd interaction. One thing we would mention was their choice of finisher, their whole set was full of energy and pace but towards the end the last few songs dropped off and become a bore for us, and from my observation, everyone else too.

With the support over it's time for Manchester Orchestra who come to the stage locked and loaded with the meaty riff of 'Pride' shredding us to the very core. They instantly grab our attention from the word go. A few crowd-pleasing oldies in, they began reeling off with their latest singles, including 'Every Stone' and 'The Ocean'. These tracks may only have been out a few months but trust me this crowd knows every single word. There's unfortunately a moment at the start of “I Can Barely Breath” in which the crowd were somewhat rude, as the song's played acoustic, and Andy Hull's vocals were lost buried under all the chit chat of the crowd.

After that solitary sour note, the rest of the set continues to twist and change with a good mix between acoustic and powering riffs. By the end we're truly left stunned at such an awesome set. The sound's been brilliant all night and Andy’s vocals spot on. Despite the new album not doing brilliantly with critics and fans alike, their newer material mixes perfectly tonight, showing a band at their strongest and preparing to take over the world. If you thought that wasn’t enough then their encore is the cherry on the top; an acoustic cover of the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” which was just sublime, played with supporting artist Kevine Devine back on stage for added vocal harmonies. It was fresh and inventive not to mention nostalgic and a perfect way to end a near perfect night.

All in all it was a real shame it wasn’t sold out, as those in that venue witnessed one of those rare sets. Those sets where the sound is bang on, the band are loving it and everyone's locked in and note-perfect. It showcased exactly why these guys are where they are, and you should go and catch them on this tour before it’s too late.

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