I’ve possibly not listened to Ladyhawke in about 5 years or more, not because I stopped liking her music or because she had stopped releasing music, it was just that it hadn’t appeared on my radar and I’d kind of forgotten about her. But Ladyhawke, or ‘Pip’ Brown, has in fact recently released her third album, Wild Things, and back in June 2016 the album was gonged with a BBC 6 Music “album of the day.”

Now in the middle of her ‘Let it Roll’ UK tour, tonight Ladyhawke is headlining The Academy 3 in Manchester supported by two-man Scottish band Isle. Despite some issues with power, ironically after they commented that “Leeds were a louder crowd”, and then using some drum solos as filler, they seem like they were made to play before or alongside her. They have indisputably taken inspiration from the Ladyhawke sound: their synths, electro beats and backing tracks could have been created in collaboration. They are a decent warm up for the main act, but it’s their earthy vocals and track ‘Luna’ that really stand out.

As Ladyhawke and her band appear on stage, her mic stand wrapped in luminous green cable, an upbeat energy fills the room and with opening track ‘The River’ sharing robotic beats and light vocals it delivers an instant warmth. Leading into hits from her debut album, including my favourite ‘Back of the Van’ and the party pleaser ‘Dusk til Dawn’, we are reminded of how good Ladyhawke is at creating great pop songs. As the set continues I feel increasingly transported to an 80s disco – the electro synth current runs throughout, and it’s songs from most recent album Wild Things that heighten this feeling. Both ‘Sweet Fascination’, which could easily have been taken from a ‘Now That’s What I Call Music: The 80s’ album, and ‘Golden Girl’, which distinctly reminds me of Katy Perry’s ‘Friday Night’, cause a rippling of skipping and dancing across the room. However, it’s ‘Let it Roll’ which sounds the strongest from the new album and it’s the nearest thing we get to a mellow track.  Noticeably, she seems to avoid 2012’s album Anxiety except for one quick nod to it with the song ‘Blue Eyes’, which is slightly grungier than anything else we hear this evening. The performance continuously showcases that the latest release is a catchy fun pop album, an ideal start to a Saturday night.

As the gig nears its end, Ladyhawke explains that she will be pretending it’s over, walking off stage and then coming back to play two more songs – promising an encore before it even happens. When she returns, we hear ‘A Love Song’ which I think could have been skipped, but all is not lost, as we end on a high with her most successful song, the utterly brilliant ‘My Delirium’. The new album release may not be groundbreaking, or especially memorable, but this doesn’t take away from this bright and joyful evening of glorious pop. Tonight, Ladyhawke has put a smile on all our faces, and sometimes that’s what matters most.

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Sarah Starkey

I am a Freelance Writer who is a bit music obsessive. Previously written for the likes of Music Vita and Planet Ivy. Life highlights include winning £2.50 on the Euro-millions.