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Belle And Sebastian - Manchester Academy, Manchester, 21/7/2023

  by Amanda J. Window

published: 25 / 10 / 2023

Belle And Sebastian - Manchester Academy, Manchester, 21/7/2023

As Belle and Sebastian formed back in 1996, and they are one of my favourite bands, you'd have thought I would have seen them play (at least once) before now. Having just launched their latest album 'Late Developers’, Belle and Sebastian have been touring the UK since starting in Newcastle on 5th July. We caught them at their Manchester show, which was the second-to-last UK date before they headed off to sunnier climes to play some festivals. The band walked onto stage on time and to a huge applause from their rather mixed age audience. It was good to see fans that had followed them from their first album 'If You're Feeling Sinister', as well as young students that equally knew the words to every song. I took ally my photos before the 'dreaded red lighting' appeared which accompanied their fourth track 'She's Losing It’. Frontman Stuart Murdoch fondly shared his memories of the first time he played in Manchester back in 1997 at Manchester Town Hall before launching into their next track 'Dirty Dream'. The whole band had a lot of energy and you could see they were enjoying it as much as we were. “Did you enjoy Drug Store Romeos?” Murdoch asked about the support band who had been their companions for much of the tour. It was good to hear their singer Sarah Downe’s voice on a couple of tracks too – she has a beautiful voice and she's exceptionally multi-talented! The tour was in fact due to start earlier in the year, but was postponed as Stuart Murdoch had health issues. Having said that, he played brilliantly on stage and he put all his energy in to his performance. At one stage he jumped on top of the piano and did a rather familiar dance with his feet firmly together, before stating “I wasn't trying to do an Ian Curtis but you can't move your feet” – pointing at the top of the piano – his personal podium. The band played a good selection of songs and each interlude gave Murdoch the chance to chat with their fans. It was as if he was tantalising everyone before they played the next record. 'If You're Feeling Sinister' raised one of the biggest cheers (and everyone sang along), their earlier records having the most impact on tonight’s audience – with Murdoch, at this point, immersing himself into the mosh pit for a bit of crowd surfing! 'Fox in the Snow' was next and after this a fan leaned forward to offer Stuart a card with song titles on it. Sadly, I was too far back by then to see it properly! 'The Boy With The Arab Strap' was next up – another great hit and one I'm glad that I, eventually, got to see performed live. The tunes continued and keeping in with the 'Friday night dancing' theme members of the audience were invited onto the stage . Stuart didn't start singing until the last person walked on. The band sang 'The Blues Are Still Blue' and towards the end Murdoch (keeping us highly entertained) did yoga poses surrounded by around thirty dancing fans. God knows what the management thought – but everyone was having a great time up there! They finished the set with 'Me And The Major' and the lyrics “The snow is falling, falling, falling – Manchester's calling, calling calling.'' And those final words were my earworm for the whole weekend. It was an absolutely great show and I'm glad I went to see them. In fact I'd definitely go and see them again – What have I been missing? I only wish they'd played 'I Want The World To Stop' - but there's always next time... Set List: Nobody's Empire Allie So In The Moment She's Losing it Dirty Dream #2 Reclaim The Night Unnecessary Drama Piazza, New York Catcher If You're Feeling Sinister When You're Not With Me The Wrong Girl Your Cover's Blown/Sukie Fox In The Snow/Mary Jo The Boy With The Arab Strap The Blues Are Still Blue Me And The Major Photos by Amanda J Window www.amandajwindow.com

Also at Academy, Manchester

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Belle And Sebastian - Manchester Academy, Manchester, 21/7/2023

Belle And Sebastian - Manchester Academy, Manchester, 21/7/2023

Belle And Sebastian - Manchester Academy, Manchester, 21/7/2023

Belle And Sebastian - Manchester Academy, Manchester, 21/7/2023

Belle And Sebastian - Manchester Academy, Manchester, 21/7/2023

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Amanda J Window enjoys an exuberant set from Scottish indie pop outfit Belle and Sebastian at the Manchester Academy.


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