Amy MacDonald

– THE BRIDGEWATER HALL, MANCHESTER –

The last time I was at The Bridgewater Hall was well over half a decade ago for my graduation, so it feels like a special occasion of sorts. It doesn’t look too much different from what I remember – and I don’t remember much, I hardly remember it being a venue for music, but here I am and it seems the perfect fit. I like the sound (or acoustics as people would so call it), the layout, the set up, the atmosphere, the people. It seems it’s the lesser version of The RNCM, but in a better way – I never came across one snobby person for one, which is what I like. It’s a laid back atmosphere, which is reflective of both the sit-down venue and the people within it, and for tonight its artists. Showing us their uvulas tonight are Newton Faulkner and Amy MacDonald. What a treat (said in Glaswegian).

I had no idea that Newton Faulkner was the support until the day before the show, but it was a surprise which I enjoyed. He was amazing, he played old songs and new songs alike, tested out raw half-formed material, and ended his set with a perfect rendition, though possibly with a few discrepancies, of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, that earned him a standing ovation, which he left to. My favourite song, apart from the obvious ‘Dream Catch Me’, was ‘Clouds’: it felt loud, in your face, and inspiring. Though he was one man on a stage, as a main act’s support, he held his own, and filled the room with his voice and his humour, believing that it was only an “abuse of power”. A star in his own right, five albums in and a sixth due for release soon, from this performance the man could command anything and anyone at will to do his bidding.

So onto the force to be reckoned with that is Amy MacDonald, who started us off with ‘Don’t Tell Me That It’s Over’; again it’s loud, it’s in your face, and it has awoken me from my mini break between artists. She’s rock and roll pop with a little folk thrown in for good measure, to me anyway. She’s impressive that’s for sure with such a big voice, I was kind of blown away, just by how big a voice she actually has live. She reminds me a little of Amy Lee from Evanescence in many ways – she could blow away the room even without a microphone, with perfectly formed big hitters with big notes. So I’m holding onto my seat. You know just in case.

Amy tells us it’s Roadie Friday, the day before a day off, which is to say they can let go, throw caution to the wind and go crazy. But she’s drinking tea and water only. Somebody must explain the concept of Roadie Friday, because tea and water only seems a little cautious to me. Nevertheless there are plenty here that are drinking something a little heavier, which might amount to the joyous heckling from the crowd, and the stink of wine heavy in the air. I did mention that it was the lesser, better version of The RNCM, didn’t I. Not deterred Amy sends retorts back to the crowd, and is well at ease – she even states Manchester is much like her hometown of Glasgow, so all seems good, she’s probably used to it. With everyone sat down, and the energy rising, the whole venue stands up as if on cue to ‘Mr. Rock & Roll’. Continuing on to ‘Love Love’ and new songs from her latest album including ‘The Rise & Fall’.

I have many a girl crush, I had one on Kate Stable of This Is The Kit, one on Kate Nash, and now Amy MacDonald. I’m perfectly straight, but to me they just possess such quality and power that you can aspire to, and be inspired by. Amy states, when asked in interviews what inspires her, it’s usually anything – the TV even. But to others she is just as inspiring: writing ‘Youth Of Today’ at 15, and now more than a decade later still young at 29 and still in love with what she does, that’s inspiring. It also helps that her music is upbeat and makes you want to move, which is exactly what we all did tonight. So here’s to keeping on dancing and keeping on moving. Here’s to Amy, catch her when you can!

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