I had been looking forward to experiencing live performances from two new groups in two unfamiliar venues. A chilly windy Manchester evening was warmed by some first-class entertainment as we set out from The Old Monkey on Portland Street on Mission ‘One night – two gigs’.
First up it was a ‘virgin’ visit to Satan’s Hollow. That may sound ominous but the spooky decor was about as threatening as The Blackpool Dungeon and as tacky as the sticky floor!! But the ‘in the round’ stage setting was brilliant.
Standing in close proximity to nervy drummer Matt Harrison may not have been the ideal spot to hear the excellent Exploring Birdsong perform a very short set of songs from their recent EP, The Thing With Feathers (our album review here) but most of the prime viewing spots at the front seemed to be taken by family and friends (I assume this as they clearly didn’t look like regular Satan’s Hollow visitors!!).
Despite admitting to me of pre-performance wobbles, drummer Matt threw off his worries with a highly competent performance displaying a full range of his light and heavy drumming skills.
Although looking frail and unwell singer Lynsey Ward combatted the tricky sound conditions of the Hollow with aplomb and barefooted! (not recommended when feeling ill on a grimy surface…I sound like a concerned uncle!!). Jonny Knight led the band simultaneously playing keyboard and bass during the short half-hour which was clearly not long enough for anyone new to Exploring Birdsong to appreciate their full capabilities even though the resounding applause at the end was fully deserved.
Fortunately, I was able to unglue my feet from the ground even though I would have enjoyed being ‘stuck’ there longer on a more extended set, hopefully, they will tour again soon.
Definitely worth the detour into the Hollow.