Hiss Golden Messenger

Hiss Golden Messenger


Last time Hiss Golden Messenger (HGM) graced the stage in Manchester, it was MC Taylor alone on a Sunday night, pacing the stage like a pent up prisoner in front of a measly crowd.

Despite tonight’s venue being just a few minutes away from the Soup Kitchen basement, it feels a world away. Not only is Hiss Golden Messenger a full band tonight but more importantly the crowd is bustling; a telling barometer of the popularity of their latest album Lateness of Dancers.

However, tonight’s first song comes courtesy of their recently released EP Southern Grammar. A song that conjures up images of life-affirming trips where truck tyres flick up sand, ‘Brother, Do You Know the Road?’ is a near 7 minute epic and a highlight from HGM’s back catalogue. MC Taylor stands aside singing with no help from the microphone while his band harmonise beautifully, before the song catapults into action as a string off guitar solos show off the artists’ immense musicianship.

The latest album soon struts itself to the front of proceedings in the form of ‘Saturday’s Song’, HGM’s most instant song to date. This song most poignantly highlights the transformation in sound HGM have made from channelling doubts about faith and questioning the role of being a parent, to just wanting to dance the Saturday away after a hard week at work. No longer are they questioning how the stars align, they are just simply enjoying themselves.

And the funk continues, songs foxtrot into one another with the album’s title track the latest to send the disco ball spinning. A cover of James Taylor’s ‘Angry Blues’, which MC Taylor’s parents had on constant repeat on the car stereo, comes in next adding a slice of groove to the evening. A reworked version of ‘Blue Country Mystic’, a distant cousin to the original is then jazzy beyond belief, with keyboard solos laced over the top making for one of the songs of the evening.

To the joy of many, ‘I’m a Raven (Shake Children)’ is next on the agenda, again announcing loudly and proudly HGM’s latest mantra of simply having a good time. The final song, ‘Drum’, is more representative of the HGM we are so used to having soundtrack our late night bus journeys through the dark when you simply swoon to his acoustic guitar and velvet voice. However, this song still spreads joy and for this he stands in the crowd asking us to join in a choral cry. The call and response sees the crowd sing the words ‘take the good news and spirit it away, take the good news and carry it away’ helping to create a church like atmosphere, with religious messages encouraging attendees to go tell it on the mountain and a gospel choir in tow.

Tonight showcases in all its glory the versatility of HGM, their transformation from a providing a space for late night contemplation to rolling out the dance mat. While past records can easily soundtrack a night at home with candlelight, this is an album made to be played live and despite being away from family for long periods of time, travelling tirelessly on tour and living in one another’s pockets HGM truly know how to have a good time.

Hiss Golden Messenger  Facebook | Twitter

Paddy Kinsella

Hi all, my name is Paddy and I have a love for everything from African music to indie to house (basically anything other than heavy metal). Gigging and listening to albums are genuinely the things I most value and love doing.