Manchester, Ruby Lounge
Following his successes with Razorlight, We Are Scientists, I Am Arrows and Smith & Burrows, Andy Burrows has returned to touring small venues to promote his latest album ‘Company’. Alana Turk reviews the show in Manchester for Louder Than War.
A buzz of excitement and anticipation echoes around The Ruby Lounge as the audience await the appearance of Andy Burrows. Following his successes with Razorlight, We Are Scientists, I Am Arrows and Smith & Burrows, he has returned to touring small venues to promote his latest album ‘Company’.
As the venue gets busier closer to stage time, I am surprised at the range of characters making up the audience, given it’s a Sunday evening. Fresh-faced looking student types mingled with older folk who are “going to regret that fifth pint in work tomorrow morning” – all share a common eagerness to hear Burrows play.
A backdrop of fairy lights, a screen of smoke and the switching on of a lamp signal Burrows’ cue. Without a word – just a modest smile – he sits at the piano and immediately gets stuck in, opening his set with crowd-pleaser ‘Because I Know That I Can’. Showing off his multi-talented musicianship, he switches to guitar for second track, ‘Shaking The Colour’. The tempo of the set slows right down for album title track, ‘Company’, during which Burrows proves that he’s not just skilled at playing the instruments he hides behind – he can really sing too. Tender yet strong vocal harmonies joined with delicate percussion and acoustic tones make for a striking performance.
The band strike up I Am Arrows’ ‘Another Picture Of You’, which energizes the crowd further and I watch heads of all heights bobbing up and down. After a stunning rendition of ‘Four Seasons In One Day’ by Crowded House, Burrows goes on to play ‘Light The Night’, the key single he penned from the soundtrack of The Snowman and the Snowdog. Proving to be an audience favourite, the track was performed beautifully, and would have sounded exactly like the recording had it not been for the crowd singalong.
Burrows’ vocals truly soared during second cover of the night, ‘Save It For A Rainy Day’ by The Jayhawks, before wowing the audience with the exquisite delivery of most recent single ‘Hometown’. He rounds off the set with a two-track encore – the performance of a second I Am Arrows track ‘Battle For Hearts & Minds’ brings forth a deadly silence apart from soft, distant murmurs of the bar staff. The audience appear stunned with both awe and respect. Burrows is stormed with screams, whistles and cheers as he finishes with the upbeat ‘Keep On Moving On’. He and the rest of the band are on top form and are undoubtedly enjoying themselves immensely – a feeling that is reciprocated by the crowd who dance as if it’s the beginning of the weekend, not a Sunday night – a good choice of song to end with.
Having previously been referred to as “the nicest man in the [music] industry”, I can now understand why. Burrows’ personal engagement with the crowd seems to be something of a rarity. His sense of charm, humour and constant interaction with the fans made for a very pleasant and intimate gig indeed. “I’m on a programme at the moment to try to curb my banter – I get into trouble for talking too much… I just like chatting and having a pint!” So do we, Andy. So do we.
All words by Alana Turk. More work by Alana on Louder Than War can be found here.