Reviewer – Jonny Black
Manchester born singer-songwriter David Gray is one of those performers who seems to have wide ranging appeal. I wondered how full the theatre would be tonight as the tickets were a little on the expensive side. This was certainly not a concern, with the theatre packed with an excitable audience who are definitely up for a good time. This feels more like a Saturday night out in Blackpool rather than the intimate singer-songwriter gig I was expecting.
That being said, Gray puts on a slick show. Complete with a seven piece backing band and elaborate light show he storms through a two hour set of new songs and old classics. It’s hard to think that Gray’s breakthrough album ‘White Ladder’ was released as recently as 2000 as tracks like ‘My Oh My’, ‘Babylon’ and ‘This Year’s Love’ see to have been in our musical psyche for far longer. All these songs are performed tonight along with the uplifting ’Please Forgive me’ which was met with adoring approval.
However, this is not a purely retrospective night where he churns out his impressive back catalogue: Gray has an eye on the future and a new album to promote. His first since ‘Foundling’ in 2010, ‘Mutineers’ represents a musical departure for Gray. He has teamed up with Andy Barlow, a member the electro pop band Lamb, to create a more ‘spiritual’ and less sombre record.
He performs a lot of the new material here and on first listen the songs do not sound that different from his previous material. This could be partly due to Gray’s undisputed ability to craft extremely immediate and accessible ‘perfect’ pop. His voice soars with his trademark emotive vocals complimenting his equally impressive piano and guitar playing.
Ending with a raucous encore that gets us all on our feet, proving that despite the often melancholic lyrics and minor chords David Gray still knows how to put on a lively show!
Reviewed on 3rd July