THE ENEMY @ THE RITZ – 17/11/15

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Coventry’s The Enemy released their fourth album ‘It’s Automatic’ in October of this year. Describing the songs on the new record as “some of the best I’ve ever written”, lead vocalist Tom Clarke promises something new and exciting for the fans. The band recently embarked on an 11 date tour across the UK, where they will visit venues in Leeds, London and Sheffield to name a few. Last night, the fourth night of the tour, the band ventured up north to Manchester, as it was The Ritz’s turn to party, supported by local band The Tapestry and rapper Franko Fraize.

At 7.30pm, Manchester band The Tapestry took to the stage to fans filling the venue. The four piece, made up of Liam (lead vocalist and guitar), Katy (bass), Zara (drums) and Dyna (guitar), also joined The Enemy’s tour last week in Yeovil. The band erupted into a chorus of heavy electric guitar and punchy vocals for ‘Look Out’, which instantly had the growing crowd dancing along. Comparable to the likes of Kaiser Chiefs and The Fratellis, and having been recognised by Liam Gallagher, the indie pop band were welcomed by The Ritz. The applause got louder after each record including ‘Right as rain’ and ‘Catacombs’, before they encouraged those who were enjoying it to watch them at Islington Mill, Salford next month for their last show of the year. The band finished with their latest single ‘Infatuation’ and ‘Rode your luck’, both proving to be crowd favourites.

Franko Fraize (Frankie Dean), who had performed at The Ritz with Reverend and The Makers four nights before, greeted the crowd with his signature saying “Oi, Oi!” before kicking off his set with the upbeat ‘Underdog’, which was championed by Zane Lowe when released last year. His first night as support for The Enemy saw the crowd firmly in the hands of the upcoming rapper from Thetford. Before performing ‘Treasures’, Fraize confessed his growing love for the city “I love the people and the vibe up here”, which was acknowledged by the lively crowd with a loud “Oi! Oi!” Fraize introduced a trumpet into the mix for the next song intended to get everyone warmed up “before the boys come out”. The penultimate song of the set was ‘Running’, one of the tracks championed by BBC Music and BBC Introducing. Fraize finished his set with ‘Oi Oi’ which is now available on Itunes.

The Ritz was treated to a DJ set before The Enemy arrived, which included indie favourites such as The Courteeners, Joy Division and Catfish and The Bottlemen. This succeeded in getting everyone dancing and ready for the headliners, who took to the stage at 9.40pm.

The band opened with the title track of their latest album released on Warner Records, ‘It’s Automatic’, enveloping the audience in The Enemy’s signature style, before welcoming the crowd to the party “Hello Manchester!” The band’s infectious energy continued through to ‘Had Enough’, ‘Everybody Needs Someone’ and ‘No Time for Tears’, a single from their second album ‘Music for the People’, released the same year that Tom, Liam and Andy supported Oasis on the ‘Dig Out Your Soul’ tour. Tom addressed the crowd after a fight broke out during ‘Magic’, a stance which was received with cheers and a round of applause. The band jumped straight into Technodanceaphobic off their debut album ‘We’ll Live and Die in These Towns’, released in 2007. ‘Be Somebody’ was welcomed with a roar from the crowd who continued to jump with beers in hand and open up mosh pits. ‘Saturday’, ‘Some Things’ and new song ‘Superhero’, which already had everyone on the floor and balcony singing the lyrics back, were to follow. ‘Away From Here’, the band’s debut single and first to break the top ten of the UK singles chart, came next, with Tom Clarke shouting “sing it Manchester!” The crowd cheered as the band entered into the euphoric ‘This Song’, which saw people on other’s shoulders and crowd surfing to get closer to the band. The band left the stage halfway through the song as the audience proved louder than their microphones, a special moment which highlighted how much support they have and how far the band have come. They returned to the stage to finish the song, before playing ‘Aggro’, ‘Don’t Let Nothing Get in the Way’ (the first single from the new album), ‘Happy Birthday Jane’ and the hit We’ll Live and Die in These Towns.  The band finished with ‘You’re not alone’, where Tom encouraged the crowd to keep crowd surfing “in true Manchester style.” The Enemy left the stage to a satisfied crowd chanting “Manchester la la la!”

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JACK SAVORETTI @ THE RITZ – 20/10/15

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AFTER a triumphant return to music, the release of ‘Written In Scars’ earlier this year left Jack Savoretti fans eager for a chance to hear the songwriter’s soul soaked vocals live. The first of the 32 year olds records to be released by a major label, BMG Chrysalis, the album boasts lyrics which have their roots in a feeling of defiance, and triumph over difficulty, a poignant reminder of Savoretti’s battle with the music industry. October sees Jack and his band play seven sold out shows across the UK, and tonight it’s Manchester’s turn to host the Italian English talent.

At 7.45pm, the Ritz welcomed Max Jury on stage. The American, fresh from supporting Circa Waves at the Q Awards the previous evening, enjoyed a round of applause as he sat down at his keyboard to sing. Opening with ‘All I want’, Max’s relaxing vocals contrasted the buzz of the crowd, and the single spotlight on stage reflected the beautiful simplicity of his forthcoming set. The end of each song was met with applause from the audience, as Jury joined in with the growing anticipation for the headline act, admitting that it was “a treat being on tour with Jack”. Prior to performing the tune ‘Black Metal’, Max told the audience the origins of the song, and how it was about an unsuccessful date he went on with a girl. Before closing with ‘Home’, Jury told the crowd he would be available for a chat at the back of the venue as he was selling copies of his CD, a reminder of the personal relationship independent artists can have with their fans.

Jack Savoretti and his band burst on to the stage at 8.45pm with an eruption of Spanish style guitar, as the singer welcomed the crowd to the party. The energy was felt immediately, as he opened his set with the single ‘Written in Scars’, which had the audience bopping along to the beat. The intimacy of the venue, although at capacity, lent itself to Savoretti’s relaxed style of performance. The following tracks ‘Back to me’ and ‘Fight ‘Til the End’ had everyone clapping and singing along, before Jack introduced ‘Breaking the Rules’, released in 2012. He continued to thank the Manchester fans after each song, “You don’t know how much this means” and repeatedly expressed his love for the city, admitting that it’s his “second home in the UK”.

Jack’s refreshing approach to live performance demonstrated a genuine love for music. His energy was unmistakeable whilst sustaining an immense stage presence, diving into the anthemic ‘Home’ which is due to be released as a single in the future. Savoretti’s husky vocals sailed through a cover of Bob Dylan’s unreleased ‘Nothing ‘Cept You’. Jack put down his guitar for this track and let his voice take centre stage. He explained how he discovered the song whilst writing his second album, ‘Harder than Easy’, and how it kept him going through the toughest times. The emotive lyrics coupled with Savoretti’s remarkable voice had the Ritz silent as the notes echoed around the venue.

Although most phones were in pockets, a rarity at most gigs nowadays, Savoretti addressed those who were filming their favourite songs, jokingly stating “It like talking to witness protection!” The band continued to have the audience dancing, with crowd favourites ‘The Other Side of Love’, ‘For the Last Time’ and ‘Tie Me Down’ – the first single to be released from ‘Written in Scars’ and one which many, according to Jack, think is based on 50 Shades of Grey.

The band left the stage to roaring applause and cheers as the crowd demanded more, “We want Jack! We want Jack!” After a quick pause, they returned to perform two final songs. The band took different roles for ‘Dreamers’ from Savoretti’s debut album, ‘Between the minds‘. It was evident throughout the gig that the band had a close relationship, and as Savoretti introduced each member to the audience at the end of the night, this was confirmed. “My Irish lucky charm… the best drummer I ever met… a fine English gentleman on keys… and one of my oldest friends on guitar”.

Savoretti finished with an energetic performance of the single ‘Back Where I Belong’, leaving the crowd buzzing and surely eager to return next time he visits Manchester.