Tindersticks - Bridgewater Hall,Manchester, 4/10/2008

  by Dixie Ernill

published: 28 / 10 / 2008

Tindersticks - Bridgewater Hall,Manchester, 4/10/2008

At an extraordinaru show at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester, Dixie Ernill witnesses Tindersticks play one of the greatest concerts he has seen in nearly 20 years of regular gig going


Back in the early 1990’s I saw the Tindersticks play at Manchester University and by sheer fluke met their manager in the venue and ended up backstage in a cramped dressing room discussing whether or not the lyrics of 'City Sickness' include a veiled reference to masturbation – "hands beating with love for you"- with founder members Dave Boulter and Stuart Staples. Nearly 14 years on I am backstage in a small conference room at the posh Bridgewater Hall in Manchester rubbing shoulders with the band, their close friends and family, a few famous faces and one or two fellow reviewers. There is a fine array of wines and beers for all to help themselves to. Indeed the whole arrangement is a million miles from that first meeting. But the above serve merely as footnotes at the end of a truly memorable concert that starts with just pianist Boulter, tickling out the first notes of instrumental opener, 'Introduction' as each member of the 12 strong ensemble take to the stage and add to the sound. Singer Staples is last to arrive as the song draws to a close and the band move quickly into 'Yesterday's Tomorrows' one of many highlights from current long player ‘The Hungry Saw’. Next up is the somewhat jaunty pop gem, 'The Flicker Of A Little Girl' closely followed by 'Come Feel The Sun' and it becomes apparent that the Tindersticks are playing 'The Hungry Saw’ in order when the brilliant 'E-type' and the haunting 'The Other Side Of The World', which takes me back to the month I spent in Australia last Xmas, are unveiled. Staples leaves the stage as Dave Boutler again takes the spotlight on second instrumental 'The Organist Entertains', before returning for a pleasing trip through the band’s extensive and rather special back-catalogue. An achingly sad 'Dying Slowly' from the underrated ‘Can Our Love’ album is simply spell-binding, while Townes Van Zandt cover, '16 Summers And 15 Falls', is quite beautiful. 'Say Goodbye To The City' features the wonderful trumpet work of long time band associate, Terry Edwards. wrestling the attention briefly away from Staples’ superb vocal. Early favourites, 'She’s Gone' and 'Sleepy Song', are well received, but classic single 'Travelling Light' tops the lot as Staples stumbles around the stage like a punch drunk boxer staggering around the ring. Sadly it’s not performed as its usual duet, but such is the power of the song that it hardly seems to matter. The band then revert back to working through ‘The Hungry Saw’ by playing the title track, which allows playful interaction between the string section as they take up various percussion instruments to give the song additional beauty. 'Mother Dear' is the only song they don’t play from the LP as current single “Boobar Come Back To Me” weaves its magic throughout the audience. 'All The Love' and 'The Turns We Took' then bring the show to a fitting close but the band soon return to satisfy the demands for an encore and serve up three more slices of back catalogue pie in the shape of reworked disco standard, 'If You’re Looking For A Way Out', 'Her', with its brilliant guitar work leaving Neil Fraser wringing his hands, and, introduced by Staples as "one we first recorded back in Nottingham", the heart breaking 'The Not Knowing'. It was raining heavily outside, but I hardly noticed as I’d just witnessed one of the greatest concerts I’d seen in nearly 20 years of regular gig going.

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Tindersticks - Bridgewater Hall,Manchester, 4/10/2008

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Interview (2008)
Tindersticks - Interview
Melancholicists Tindersticks are returning in April with their first new studio album in five years, 'The Hungry Saw'. Anthony Strutt speaks to frontman Stuart Staples about it and why the band stripped down from a six piece to a three piece for its making

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