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Starsailor - Ritz, Manchester, 24/10/2017

  by Dixie Ernill

published: 23 / 12 / 2017

Starsailor - Ritz, Manchester, 24/10/2017


Dixie Ernill enjoys his first Starsailor gig, despite a lack of air con at the Ritz in Manchester.

Since I first saw Starsailor performing their debut single, 'Fever', on some morning TV show in early 2001 I have liked the band, but, despite purchasing all their albums along the way, have never until now seen them play live. Even though it is late October in Manchester, the temperature inside the Ritz reaches near-sauna proportions, and even in the bar area looking down on the stage there are respectable middle-aged women with sweat trickling across their made-up faces and husbands with moist shirts. It doesn’t help that the band have followed up fine opener 'Listen To Your Heart', from their current album 'All This Life', with a couple of their best known singles ('Alcoholic' and 'Poor Misguided Fool') to ensure the assembled crowd is far from still, thus generating even more heat. In front of me, perched on a couch, a young lady alternates between playing air piano and screaming key lyrics into her bemused boyfriend’s face. I had always viewed Starsailor as a band people liked, but were never anyone’s favourite. Tonight this lady and no doubt countless others down below prove me wrong. Thankfully for the boyfriend, there is a lull in the set as the band run through some less obvious tracks, and the young lady is less animated, culminating in singer James Walsh paying a touching tribute to the recently departed Tom Petty. After the brilliant 'Sunday Best', a triumph from the latest album, the band tuck into a run of crowd pleasers including an excellent cover of The Stone Roses' 'Waterfall', before ending on a trio of hits in the shape of 'Tell Me It’s Not Over', 'Four To The Floor' and a spine-tingling 'Silence Is Easy'. The boyfriend is under siege throughout. The encore begins with another current album track,'FIA (Fuck It All)', before arguably the best song of the band’s career, 'Good Souls', sends the crowd into another frenzy. I feel genuinely sorry for the boyfriend, but he can breathe again as the song merges into a cover of Fatboy Slim’s 'Praise You' and the concert comes to an end. Outside, the Manchester drizzle is, for once, a relief from the heat inside.

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Starsailor - Ritz, Manchester, 24/10/2017

Starsailor - Ritz, Manchester, 24/10/2017

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