Findlay: Manchester Band On The Wall – live review


Manchester Band On The Wall

7th February 2014

Findlay returns back home to Manchester and charms a packed Band On The Wall.

Natalie Findlay has come a long way since the scratchy acoustic demos from a teenager that appeared on her myspace page many years ago. She’s a unique force in the music scene today, there’s no one like her in an industry that seems to be becoming more homogenised, where you have to fit a certain mould to fit in.  The fact that she’s been almost ignored in the Ones To Look Out for in 2014, along with the equally stunning Coves, is an indication that the industry in a deep rut.  The reaction she gets tonight though shows there’s still hope.

She starts with an acapella track, only accompanied by her banging her hand on the microphone before launching into a set that consists of her three huge full-on singles so far – Your Sister, the magnificent Off And On and Greasy Love – as well as a series of songs that will form the basis of her debut album, which shows she has a few more banging singles in her locker, particularly Gin and Fake Black Heart, as well as a few songs that demonstrate a more sensitive side to her craft.

What shines through tonight, apart from the strength of songs she’s crafted, is her personality.  She’s a perfect pop star without the pop.  The girls in the crowd all want to be her, the boys are captivated by the way she flips her tied up hair from side to side.  She engages with her audience, encouraging them to sing Happy Birthday to a friend of hers, winking and smiling at the crowd mid-song and coming out at the end to talk to her fans and jumping around to Iggy Pop’s Lust For Life.

The band she’s forged around her play their parts too.  They’re tight and they need to be as some of the songs leap from one idea to the next, without taking breath.  At points the whole thing powers along at breakneck speed and Natalie’s vocals get faster and faster as they build, without missing a word.

It’s been a joy to watch Findlay’s rise in the past twelve months and, on the strength of tonight, she’s still on a big upward trajectory, sounding louder and more purposeful each time she plays.  She’s got something to say and no one is going to get in her way. The whole place is bouncing for encore track Off And On and the whole of the Band On The Wall has fallen in love with her.   There’s a very few unique talents in the business today and Findlay is the brightest star of all of them.

She played:

  • Sweetheart
  • Your Sister
  • Gin
  • Stoned
  • Fever
  • Wolfback
  • Fake Black Heart
  • Try It Once
  • Grace
  • Greasy Love
  • Off And On

Findlay’s official site can be found here.   She is also on Facebook and Twitter.

All words and pictures by David Brown.  You can find more of his work for Louder Than War here.

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