Aziz Ibrahim made a triumphal and long overdue return to his hometown, Manchester, a couple of days ago, playing to a packed Roadhouse full of old fans and new enthusiasts. Louder Than War were in the audience and here’s our review.
Performing as AZIZ but with Dalbir Singh Rattan accompanying, he first had some fun with Johnny Jay and Denise Johnson (Primal Scream), scratching his guitar through various numbers while they worked the decks, before moving on to the beautiful and moving Xen and Now, interacting with his rapt audience in a relaxed and intimate manner that demonstrated just how comfortable he is back on home turf. The atmosphere was electric.
Middle Road and Kills Me led on to Morassi – a song Aziz wrote about his father’s reluctance to accept that a career as a guitarist could do his son any good – with My Star and The Other Side completing a magical set that at times had the crowd visibly swooning.
The guys from Wonderland Trip did their best to sing along with Hey Jude, having played a cracker of a support set earlier that evening (with other local bands Rawcuss and More Trees Please also on the bill).
Dalbir Singh Rattan, the other half of the AZIZ band – aka the punk rocker of tabla – held up his end through the evening with some mesmerising rhythms, perfectly matching Aziz’s hypnotic, exhilarating guitar.
The proof of the evening was by the usual measure: the broad smiles on faces as people went home, happy to have witnessed something that’s been missing from the Manchester scene for too long.