Belle & Sebastian with support from Brakes
Manchester Ritz
Live Review

Belle And Sebastian

Super groups by their nature can be frivolous projects designed to show off and give the impression that the members of them, are only there to cash in on their reputation. However, when such an outfit is made up of the prominent parts of bands in their creative prime; British Sea Power, Electric Soft Parade and Tenderfoot then it is a mouth-watering prospect. The set by Brakes was a snappy affair with some of the numbers being so short that it was music's equivalent of being tangoed. 'Training' and 'N Y Pie' were cases in point, no sooner had the thundering riff and throaty vocals registered in your ear, then they had disappeared. The band's ability to carry a tune was also aptly demonstrated in the frenetic rocked up; 'Ring A Ding, Ding' that weighed in at a mammoth (well, for them anyway) two minutes, with the other longer tracks taking on a tingling country feel to give spice and authenticity to a snazzy set.

There is no better time to witness the Glaswegian tunesmiths who make up Belle & Sebastian than with the calming and almost serene atmosphere that attaches itself to a Sunday night. Forthcoming album; 'The Life Pursuit' has already been hailed as a sweeping success and is a celebration of the B & S way. This certainly rung true in the charming 'Another Sunny Day', the croaky and caressing previous single 'Funny Little Frog' and, such is the reputation of the throbbing and booming pop offering; 'White Collar Boy' that people were shouting it out, even though it is not yet in the public domain.

For the B & S faithful; a gripping and rejuvenated rendition of 'I Fought In A War' that sparked an almost choral and graceful sing-along, demonstrated that their forward thinking nature has not detracted fro their ability to give life to every song. Belle & Sebastian have always been the antithesis of Rock & Roll, so onlookers were shocked and must have thought a brawl was about to ensue, as front man Stuart Murdoch stopped playing keyboards and subsequently the whole song of 'The Fox In The Snow' because band members were obscuring his view of the crowd. When the obstructions were removed, Mr. Murdoch looked directly in the crowd and performed a shivering and personal rendition of the of the poetic offering..

An elevating and intimate set was completed by the lucidly genuine outfit and I don't think anyone really noticed too much that 'The Stars Of Track And Field' never made it onto the set list. Maybe this omission was due to the fact that Stuart did not want to disturb the tranquillity that had been created, by singing the following line to a Manchester audience?

"You went liberated the boy I never rated and now he's throwing discuss
for Liverpool & Widnes."

Belle & Sebastian certainly liberated music tonight!

David Adair

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