Turin Brakes photo by Sarah Starkey

Turin Brakes photo by Sarah Starkey


Cast your mind back to the late 90s/early 00s and you might remember NME informing us that there was a new music scene erupting which they dubbed ‘The New Acoustic Movement’. Catchy, it included the likes of Starsailor, I Am Kloot and Turin Brakes. Since then, all these bands have gone on to have wide success both across the UK and Europe.

Turin Brakes comprises of long-term friends and co-founding members Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian, drummer Rob Allum and bassist Eddie Myer. Their biggest successes include being nominated for a Mercury Prize and having a number 5 single in the UK charts.

Currently touring their ninth album Lost Property with 19 live dates, their impressive Manchester sales found the The Ruby Lounge a sell out. It’s testimony to any band that after 16 years they are still able to bring in a full crowd.

I was a little dubious as to whether this band would still “have it”, or if it would be one of those gigs where an established band just appear to be going through the motions, just out to make a quick bit of cash because money has run out to pay for the next holiday to Tenerife. However, as they open with ‘96’ from the new album, sexy smooth guitar riffs entwined with Olly’s vocals fills the packed room, I quickly realise my fears were unjustified. His voice is just as strong, distinct and individual as it was the first time I ever heard it and before the first song has even come to an end, the audience are cheering and you can feel the warmth, like a reunion with old friends.

The new releases are sounding just as fresh as the songs from the back catalogue. ‘Keep Me Around’ is exceptionally catchy while ‘Save You’ and ‘Lost Property’ showcases a more mature side to the band, both beautiful heart rendering tracks, you can feel a wave of emotion cover everyone as they perform. Nonetheless, Olly makes it known when they are about to pull a hit out the bag ‘Who remembers the Optimistic LP?’ and a voice from the crowd shouts ‘My dad told me about it!’ Well, 2001 was a while ago, but, I don’t see anyone under the age of 20 in the place. Unsurprisingly so, it is these big hits that really uplift the crowd. ‘Emergency 72’ receives roars, screams of happiness coincide with the start of ‘Long Distance’ and ‘Painkiller’ and they deserve those cheers, I had forgotten how much I adore these songs; who could ever doubt any tune that includes the lyric ‘cycle on your bicycle’?

It’s been a while since I’ve witnessed 400 people singing together, not just the odd one or two, but, every single person in The Ruby Lounge is devoting themselves to this night. You get the sense that the audience is in complete awe of the band stood in front of them, and they realise it -‘Thanks for making this Thursday night feel like a Friday’ and it does, it’s buzzing.

The finale of the main set is the closer from the current album – ‘Black Rabbit’, a darker melancholy choice, this isn’t the end though, they come back for more. The initial encore includes their best song ‘Underdog’, which sees them throwing a rock interlude into the mix, but that isn’t the end either, after more cries for “more” they come back again and again, three encores! Now, Turin Brakes, you’re spoiling us.

Tonight, the joint appreciation between the audience and band needs no words, they may look like a group of slight misfits – four men just randomly placed together on stage, but the love between them, their insanely tight harmonies and music tells us otherwise.

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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.