I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about this gig. But only because I had to leave a gig last week after being misgendered by a security guard on the door - that wasn't the whole reason that I left, but it made my anxiety much worse, so much so I had to leave.
Thankfully tonight this didn't happen and so it was already a better start!
Academy 3 is probably the smallest of the Academy venues, but there was still at least 100 in the venue and I'm becoming a real fan of the smaller venues in Manchester - fewer people means more intimacy with the music and that's what I love.
First up, Declan J Donovan.
I'd not listened to him before tonight (you know the pattern with me now) and he was actually really good! His 2nd guitarist/keyboard player bore a striking resemblance to Chris Martin of Coldplay and when he started singing the harmonies I had to use zoom on my phone, just to check it wasn't actually him! Anyway, Declan has a beautiful voice, his songs are very catchy and for someone I'd not heard before I did enjoy. He was pretty similar in style to Skinny Living and so he went down well with the crowd.
Skinny Living were up after a very short interval and I was eager with anticipation for this one.... I first encountered them doing a live video on Facebook just walking along and singing and I was absolutely blown away by their harmonies. I do love a good voice and these guys have the kind of harmonies that make you feel something special.
As soon as they came on stage a very excitable lady shouted she wanted to have Ryan's babies! I can understand why though. He's incredibly good looking, and his voice is something else.... I'll explain.
Some singers when you see them performing live, have the ability to transport you somewhere else; like it's just you and them in the room and no one else. You forget for a second where you are, who you are... it's like an outer body experience.
The last time this happened to me was seeing Ray La Montagne last year. This happened to me last night.
I experienced this when they sang the amazingly, emotively charged song Why.
It spoke to me.
It moved me.
I was crying - it was that powerful. That's what music is about. It touches your soul, so much more than any other art form.
Their set flew by so quickly and their encore involved Ryan sitting on the barrier, singing to those lucky enough to be on the front.
As small as the venue was, this was a very special gig. I felt blessed to have been there and share in their magic.
As always the pics and videos are my own.