Now, in the game we sometime journalists like to call reviewing, you get to see your fair share of great live music. Manchester has been graceful enough to open its doors time and time again, allowing us folk of the Internet press to scrutinise and swoon over the sublime and the surreal. And tonight’s entertainment? Let’s just say that any gig that you leave clutching a plethora of C.D’s and merch is usually a good indicator of how much you enjoyed the show…

With their fresh faces and a support slot most acts would give their right hand for, The Sundowners (fronted by Fiona Skelly and featuring brother Alfie on lead guitar) could be accused of riding on the coat tails of their older brother’s success with The Coral. Five minutes basking in the warm, summery sound of The Sundowners however is sure to blow away any accusations of nepotism lurking at the back of even the most cynical critic’s mind. Stepping boldly out of their sibling’s shadow, The Sundowners transported The Ruby Lounge faithful into the heady surroundings of late 60’s Laurel canyon, guitars jangling and harmonies intertwining magnificently to warrant comparisons with Fleetwood Mac or Crosby Stills and Nash. ‘Sea Of Tears’ lilts along on mellow vibes while ‘Role The Dice’ packs a punch that demands your attention. Expect to see this band lining the pages of the NME and adorning an array of festival line-ups in the coming year.

With the room already in high spirits, Ian Skelly took to the stage with his band for the night (featuring another certain Skelly) to a deafening round of applause, matched only by the applause given when 45 spell-binding minutes later they again left the stage. With Skelly and his assembled crew of musicians, with the songs taking on a life of their own, flowing with a fluidity and breadth of vision that can only be experienced live. The intense jamming sessions in between songs avoided the self-indulgence that can often arise in such situations, only seeking to further highlight the talent on display to an overwhelmingly appreciative audience.

World, get wise to the happenings on the Wirral.

Words by Jonny Lewis


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