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Manchester reviewed
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Manchester music reviews

Holy Doom by Demob Happy

Holy Doom by Demob Happy

Reviewed by Andrew Marsden March 2018

 

Brighton based (but Newcastle formed) band Demob Happy’s second album, Holy Doom, is their first album as a three-piece, following the departure of lead guitarist Matthew Renforth in 2016. Although the band may have reduced in number, they most certainly have not reduced the impact of their scuzzy-grunge-psych rock.

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Manchester music reviews

John Bramwell on Tour

John Bramwell

at St Helens – Citadel

Reviewed by Jane Turner March 2018

 

Northerners get more than their fair share of bad press, with some think tanks writing off whole cities and Boris Johnson casually besmirching one city in a single sentence. This is usually done by those who never set foot much further north than Watford and who think we all live in an industrial and cultural wasteland, eat pies, vote Brexit and keep coal in the bath.

 

St. Helens, where 58% voted to leave the EU is on the face of it a typical working class northern town, and on a night when the local rugby league team ‘the Saints’ were at home, the pubs and streets were full of men, sporting their team colours and excitedly discussing their team prospects (it ended badly with a defeat by Leeds).

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Manchester music reviews

Un Chien Andalou

Luis Bunel’s Un Chien Andalou

at Royal Northern College of Music

Reviewed by Andrew Marsden February 2018

 

Looking at the surface, it does seem somewhat incongruous that the RNCM programmed an evening of four short Surrealist films on the evening of Valentine’s Day. But the Surrealists, in thrall to the unconscious mind, were all about delving beyond the surface. On a day traditionally associated with declarations of pure love, it was fitting that these films were screened. For many people, love is often chaotic, liberating, even Surreal.

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Manchester music reviews

RNCM Big Band with Steve Berry

RNCM Big Band with Steve Berry

at RNCM

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall February 2018

 

If names such as Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Benny Goodman are your thing, then perhaps tonight's concert would have been a bit of a disappointment. Big Band it most certainly was, but brought right up to date and, I have to be honest, a little too extemporary and contemporary for me.

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Manchester music reviews

risa-hall-an-introduction

Risa Hall - an introduction

by Matthew Dougall January 2018

 

It's funny but you never know who you are going to meet, and under what circumstances. I regularly review the public productions at The Arden Theatre School in Manchester, and whilst waiting for the auditorium to be opened one afternoon I found myself chatting to one of the teachers there, Risa Hall. Through the conversation it became clear that she was an extremely talented individual who has, to date, led quite an interesting and fulfilling life.

 

I have to be honest and say that the name Risa Hall meant absolutely nothing to me prior to this, despite having seen her at other Arden performances (she teaches voice there). However, I have now discovered that she is also a talented actress, voice-over artist, but mostly and primarily a singer / songwriter.

 

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Manchester music reviews

The Halle Orchestra with RNCM students

The Halle Orchestra with RNCM students

at RNCM

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall January 2018

 

'An Orchestral Concert to conclude the RNCM's String Festival' is a rather convoluted title, but quite a simple premise. A reduced size Halle Orchestra most graciously joined forces with students from the RNCM this evening to provide support, an invaluable opportunity and learning experience for those chosen few students to be able to play alongside one of the most renowned orchestras in the world. The string section of the orchestra therefore was half Halle and half RNCM students.

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Manchester music reviews

Bluebeard's Castle

Bluebeard's Castle

Winter Concert Tour by National Youth Orchestra

at The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall January 2018

 

2018 has started extremely well with my first review of the year, and the National Youth Orchestra's first concert of the year.

 

I have to be honest though, that when the idea of my reviewing this concert was first mooted I very nearly said no. I am no huge fan of opera at the best of times, and the idea of a concert opera written as a duologue between the two protagonists, with no peripheral visual stimulae, and no discernable harmonic and melodic arias and choruses did nothing to whet my appetite. However, I am always open to new experiences, and being a sterling advocate and supporter of all things youth, I decided I should attend.

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Manchester music reviews

MUMS Festive Concert

MUMS Festive Concert

at The Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall December 2017

 

For their final concert of 2017, the Manchester University Music Society (MUMS) chose a rather un-festive festive concert programme. I have to be honest, but when a concert advertises itself as 'festive' one immediately thinks of carols, Christmas songs and the like, and not of classical music spreading several centuries including operatic arias. This was a surprise.

 

However, the evening's programme was an interesting one and also very enjoyable. We started with three Baroque choral works sung by The Cosmo Singers, none of which were familiar to me, but I enjoyed listening to them greatly.

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Manchester music reviews

Cendrillon at RNCM

Cendrillon at RNCM

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall December 2017

 

French composer, Jules Massenet was a prolific opera composer, and so as part of the Royal Northern College of Music's French Connections Festival, what better way to celebrate the festive time than with his take on the seasonal classic, Cinderella (Cendrillon in French).

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Manchester music reviews

Carols By Candlelight

Carols By Candlelight

at Manchester Cathedral

Reviewed by Matthew Dougall December 2017

 

An annual charity event run by Henshaws, a charity which helps partially-sighted and blind people in Greater Manchester gathered a large crowd and support this evening for their Carols By Candlelight.

 

Set within the ancient splendour of Manchester Cathedral, the music sounded magnificent un-amplified, resounding off the high vaulted roof, especially now with their new show-piece Stoller organ, which I was hearing for the first time this evening.

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