LIVE REVIEW: Yann Tiersen, Manchester Cathedral, 29.10.10

It has been a long, long time since I was looking forward to a gig as much as I was Yann Tiersen at Manchester Cathedral. Tiersen’s music can not fail to lift a mood and inspire anyone to go out foraging for berries or wear their favourite, most horrible, winter coat. It is truly music for the spirit. So it was in that frame of mind that I joined the long line of other Tiersen fan’s snaking its way around the beautiful lit-up Manchester Cathedral on a bitterly cold and delightfully crisp autumn evening.

Support for this gig came from Berlin based electro-acoustic band Lonski and Classen. I did not have high hopes for this set, having given them a whirl a few times before the gig but was pleasantly surprised to see them in action. These two performed their nice, fun songs well and had, and I think made, a few fans in the audience.

But it was the main event that thrilled the most. Yann Tiersen has taken to the road to tour his new album Dust Lane, so those expecting the crescendo’s and emotion of his former albums, or to hear something straight from the playlist of Amelie were going to be disappointed. This gig definitely has a rockier edge to it. I strongly got the impression that Yann was playing what he wanted to hear, and not necessarily what the audience wanted to hear.

To say it wasn’t precisely what I was expecting is an under-statement. Gone were the dramatic violin build-ups and the crashing piano’s and nor was there a sniff of an accordion or a female vocalist. All of these things could be said to be Yann’s ‘sound’. Instead these instruments were replaced with guitars, bass guitars, drums and keyboards. And on hindsight, the gig didn’t even particularly stay true to the new album either. There seemed to be a lot of going off on a tangent and bringing it back in for a conclusion. There was a point too that no one seemed to be sure what was going on stage as five band members were playing quite calmly whilst the bass guitarist was wrestling with his guitar, throwing shapes about the stage, wriggling on the floor, whilst not appearing to play any particularly dramatic chords.

To say this wasn’t an enjoyable gig, however, would be wrong. The very fact it was Yann Tiersen on the stage, and that he at least played one of the old favourites Sur le Fil, combined with the perfect and atmospheric lighting and that this gig was in one of Manchester’s most beautiful buildings made the evening one to remember, even if everyone was left without their fix of modern French folk through the medium of piano.

Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Hugh Hamill

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