I wasn’t going to talk about Brandy Clark in Manchester since I am reviewing and photographing her Gateshead show next Monday, but how could I not say something? In the centre of one of the UK’s busiest cities Brandy Clark captivated the audience and had them in the palm of her hand from the minute she walked on stage. The night began with duo Cross Atlantic, a group new to me made up of an Englishman James and Missouri native Karli. They started the night off well, the duo had chemistry as well as the ability to tell a good story through their songs and Karli in particular had really beautiful vocals. Their set consisted of a number of originals such as two is better, before they played it, they told the story of how they met. The pair both interacted with the crowd well with confidence, telling us stories and getting us to join in clicking and singing during one song. They also played their single Mercy which was the highlight of their set for me, the ballad really showcases their vocal technique and as James came closer to Karli to sing with her you could really feel the emotion of the song and the chemistry between the two.
Then it was time for the main event, as I said I wont go into too much detail in this review. Brandy took a different approach from a lot of other artists as she started the set off on her own and gradually built up from the slower songs to some of her more upbeat ones like Girl Next Door. All dressed in black with a guitar in hand and flanked by Miles Aubrey on an acoustic guitar and Vanessa McGowan on the double bass, Brandy began to play songs off 12 stories which was four years old that day and off her latest album Big Day in a Small Town, pausing every now and again to tell us stories behind the songs some of them were funny. The first time I saw Brandy was in Nashville in a round with Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne and I’m sure I’ve never laughed so hard as they all could be comedians! The arrangements of the songs were quite different to what we’ve heard before on the albums and when we’ve heard her live due to the addition of the double bass. There was a couple of new songs added into the set which seemed to go down very well with the crowd. As I said it was an intimate performance but when your songs are that good, that’s exactly how you need to hear them, stripped back and just let the audience hang on every word. Brandy said 12 stories was made up of songs rejected by the top artists in Nashville... yeah, it's crazy but I'm glad those artists passed on those songs and the World got to hear this unique, talented songwriter tell her own stories and make them come alive all around the World.
There are still a few tickets available for the last few dates of the tour I believe including the Gateshead date and stay tuned for a full review from there complete with photos!