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Band Of Holy Joy - Tiger Lounge, Manchester, 27/9/2014

  by Billy Seagrave

published: 14 / 11 / 2014



Band Of Holy Joy - Tiger Lounge, Manchester, 27/9/2014

intro

Bill Seagrave watches the Band of Holy Joy play an atmospheric and inventive set at the Tiger Lounge in Manchester


Nestled in a side street in the shadows of Manchester town hall, proudly stands tonight’s venue, the Tiger Lounge. Arriving at the venue brought an air of eager anticipation as well as a sense of excitement that something special was about to unfold. The intimate crowd duly filtered in and jostled for their positions. For those of you who are not fully acquainted with London based Band of Holy Joy, they have had a multitude of line-ups over the years, with two constants, enigmatic front man Johny Brown and the ability to magically transport a very fluid transient punk, folk contemporary culture into a complex yet simple layer of audacious, intoxicating inventiveness, delivered on a sound bed that takes you along the razor’s edge of anarchy, pain and joy. The band walked out on stage, to the BAND OF HOLY JOY projected onto a hastily erected white sheet that would be the backdrop for Inga Tillere’s visuals throughout the evening. “We love you,” is the cry from a voice in the audience. “We love you too,” was the warm reply from Johny, visibly grinning from ear to ear, who then retorted, “Fantastic to be back in Manchester, amongst so many familiar faces”. The Band settled in and the audience moved closer, introductions over; this had the feel of a very personal and intimate evening. The band instantly dropped into the opening song, ‘Real Beauty Passed Through’. From the outset Johny smiled grimly, yet open and warm. After a couple of minutes of the song he was delivering the splendid lyrics in his mono-tonal expressiveness, with a verve that truly captivated his audience. Brown reciprocated the warm welcome, and, acknowledging friends in the audience, he then invited us to ‘Open the Door to Your Heart’, a new song on their latest album entitled ‘Easy Listening,’ The album is a complex layer of beautiful, meandering lyrics, of love, hate, hope and aspiration. Honest and open, it is yet another intoxicating recording, a joy to behold. There was familiarity and comfort in the melodic and choppy rhythm of Stephen Finn on lead guitar, a retro funk/punk vibe that blended perfectly with the bass of Mark Beazley. The electronic harmonies were dynamically provided by Peter Smith on keyboards, whilst William Lewington distilled a sense of adrenalin-driven percussion, that dropped away to a mere hush to compliment the quieter moments in Brown’s vocals. The band knew how to layer their music perfectly to allow Brown to show case the eclectic vocals of a front man that is so comfortable in his own skin, and Inga’s stunning backdrop visuals complimented the entire set. ‘Mad Dot’ and ‘The Fall’ dropped seamlessly into place; there was a comfort and a sense of togetherness between band and the audience. Once again Brown acknowledged some familiar faces in the crowd, dedicating songs and reminiscing on time spent in Manchester way back in 1979, noting what a wonderful vibrant city it was. (Glad to see we have upheld that tradition.) He remembered being taken to clubs such as ‘Devilles’ and the Russell Club in Moss Side by one of his friends. ‘A Place Called Home’ the band’s latest single was introduced to the crowd who were now getting into the flow, many jumping and dancing along to our host. The song is a gritty, ballsy account of modern day England. Although based on London, it could be anywhere. There’s an awkwardness and truth throughout the lyrics, that makes this stand out as a modern day anthem, which was perfectly set up in harmonic layers by the band, vocally delivered in the manner that Johny so efficiently and effortlessly delivers. He intently stared at the crowd, wearing a steely long hard look, a whisky glass in hand. I’m sure everyone felt he was looking directly at them. No expression, no deviation from his fixed stare, whilst the band carefully built up the atmosphere, for Brown to launch back into his vocals as well as into the appreciative crowd, reaching out and going on bended knee before returning to the stage and his steely fixed stare. ‘Rosemary Smith’, ‘Capture My Soul’ ‘Tactless’ and the excellent ‘Land Of Holy Joy’ quickly followed. ‘Fishwives’ is delivered and accepted in all its vulnerability of distorted musical backbeat and hurdy gurdy vocals. Part way through Brown called Rikki Turner to the front, (Rikki being a member of the Paris Angels and lately the main writer of Mary Joanna and The Southern Electrikk). Rikki took the mic and thanked Brown and for his continued and mutual friendship, a touching moment on a very personal evening. The last song of the night had caught us out, straight into, ‘A Train Ride to Another Place’. Yet another vocal masterpiece delivered in seamless fashion. The band delivered what they promised and the audience got what they expected, a rapturous and an appreciative crowd bellowed on for more. The band duly accepted and we were treated to the final song ‘Claudia Dreams’. This did truly close the evening splintered with dramatic lyrics and sensual vocals with a crafted musical retrospective that could only be …the Band of Holy Joy. Photos by Melanie Smith www.mudkissphotography.co.uk



Article Links:-
http://www.mudkissphotography.co.uk


Band Links:-
http://www.bandofholyjoy.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/bandofholyjoy/
https://twitter.com/BandOfHolyJoy
https://bandofholyjoy.bandcamp.com/


Picture Gallery:-
Band Of Holy Joy - Tiger Lounge, Manchester, 27/9/2014


Band Of Holy Joy - Tiger Lounge, Manchester, 27/9/2014


Band Of Holy Joy - Tiger Lounge, Manchester, 27/9/2014


Band Of Holy Joy - Tiger Lounge, Manchester, 27/9/2014


Band Of Holy Joy - Tiger Lounge, Manchester, 27/9/2014



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In our fifth interview with them, John Clarkson talks to Johny Brown, Inga Tillere and James Stephen Finn from London-based alternative/indie rock band the Band of Holy Joy about their remarkable latest album, ‘Neon Primitives’.
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