Roisin Murphy - Manchester academy © Melanie Smith

Roisin Murphy - Manchester academy © Melanie Smith Roisin Murphy
Manchester Academy
Sept 17th 2021

Roisin Murphy has been at the forefront of the club and dance music scene since the 1990s and last night Louder Than War’s Martin Mathews and photographer Melanie Smith were at her sold-out Academy Manchester gig to witness her enforcing Murphy’s Law…

Shortly after 9pm the unmistakable voice of Roisin Murphy filled the Manchester Academy, the stage was in darkness and there was no band, but we could hear Roisin singing Jealousy from her 2020 album Roisin Machine. Suddenly she appeared centre stage on the giant video screen somewhere in the corridors backstage being filmed as she made her way to the stage where on arrival she was greeted with a deafening roar from the crowd as she swirled her lime green coat like a matador, whipping the crowd into a frenzy.

Roisin Murphy 2- Manchester academy © Melanie Smith

The setlist for this show was understandably heavy with songs from her most recent album (which was 10 years in the making and released during lockdown) but there was also songs from across her career such as Overpowered and Let Me Know as well as a couple of Moloko songs. Roisin was vocally flawless, that distinctive voice of hers that we first heard on Moloko’s HUGE hit Sing it Back in 1999 has lost none of its charm, depth or power. She strutted, she danced, she posed and did some gravity-defying high kicks in a sensational pair of Maroon platform boots and she was clearly enjoying herself!

Roisin Murphy 1 - Manchester academy © Melanie Smith

And let’s not forget there were costume changes LOTS of costume changes, jackets on jackets off, kooky headdresses, hats, sunglasses, capes, feathers, sparkles and leather.  The crowd were loving it, we danced and partied hard, this was, after all, Friday night in Manchester and after the past couple of years, this was exactly what was needed!

Enjoy life” Roisin proclaimed and enjoy it we did. She delivered an exceptional and thoroughly enjoyable two-hour show with such charisma, energy and talent. The show ended with an acoustic stripped back rendition of Familiar Feeling and Roisin then led her four piece band off the stage like a fabulously dressed pied piper still singing and the show ended as it started we could hear her but not see her…

Thank you, Manchester, until next time!

Please note: Use of these images in any form without permission is illegal. If you wish to contact the photographer please email:

Set list 

Something more
Let me know
Forever more
Shellfish Mademoiselle
We got together
Murphy’s law
Flash of light
Cannot contain this
Golden Era
Familiar Feeling

Follow Roisin on Facebook, and Twitter and her website is here.

Words by Martin Mathews, you can find more at his Author profile and you can follow his tweets here

Photos by Melanie Smith. More work by Mel on Louder Than War can be found at her author’s archive. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Photography portfolio can be found here

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Bearded artist, model, lover of Kylie, pop music, leather & dogs. Random, quirky and not to be taken seriously, call me anything but normal!


  1. Waited 18months for a live show… Last gig was Chemical Brothers in Manchester.
    You could sense the anticipation / excitement in the crowd on the night-everyone was out to party… Roisin proper owned the Academy Fri night… Great show Great atmosphere… Would definitely see again… My first time since her Moloko days… First class

  2. Must have a better sound system there than what we were subjected to last night in London. Roisin was working her arse off but the vocals were inaudible and the backing band reduced to little but bass. A crushing disappointment.


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