Picture Book. Live at The Night & Day Café, Manchester. 01/12/2010

Review by David Stedman

As Tsar Nicholas II of Russia never said, life’s a funny old game. You arrive at Night & Day Café on the evening of December 1st, snow lying all around. There’s no heating. The headlining band you’ve risked a broken limb to see haven’t even made it, their corpses in all probability awaiting reclamation from the frozen wastes of Backwater County. Perched next to the bar, where icicles are hanging from the beer taps, you hunker down, pull on a third hat and pay respectful attention to a lucky dip of support acts, all summarily promoted a place up the bill. Indeed, the fare on offer could have been hand-picked by Tarantino to soundtrack his latest flick with signature irony. You begin to wonder if it’s worth it any longer; wonder if you should get a new hobby. A hobby with health benefits, at least. Then, and only at the moment you can stands no more, something fateful stirs.

Enter Picture Book.

Resplendent in a red dress, Greta and sidekicks Lorne and Dario immediately get down to business. The unlikely trio pack stomping beats, elevating synth and ethereal vocals. The room fills with light and warmth. People around you get to their feet and start to dance. The joy continues, and for some time. The frigid night thaws.

Highlights from the poppy, house-infused set — and there are many — include the buoyant ‘Explosions’, glowing ‘My Love’ and euphoric ‘Sunshine’. You realise that you are unexpectedly witnessing a dazzling live performance from the best new band you’ve seen in the last five years. (You’d say ten, but don’t want to admit to being that old.) Tears of gratitude in your eyes, you want to know where they’ve been all your life. (It was Liverpool, Singapore and the Faroe Islands, incidentally.) When the music is over, you think that you must have dreamt it.

But did you? Whatever the truth, this is without doubt as close as man ever came to a spiritual experience on Oldham Street, M1.

3 responses

9 12 2010
Denise Tench

Lovely stuff. I love the bit about being rescued from the gig-reviewer blues by an unexpectedly great band. The stuff of fairytales!

10 12 2010

this band are amazing live!

21 01 2011

Read more from David Stedman at Urban Masterplan Working Party: http://umwp.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @urbanmasterplan

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