TheLeisureSociety58_448090a[1]

– THE RUBY LOUNGE, MANCHESTER –

Tonight is one of those nights when there are two gigs on at two different venues that you don’t want to miss. Fortunately for me, the first band I wanted to see is due to play at eight fifteen and the second at nine thirty. So I am glad to say that after a hurried walk from one end of town to the other, I am in plenty of time to get to my second intended destination, meet up with a couple of friends, purchase myself a drink and get a decent vantage point before the band take up their positions.

The original venue for tonight was meant to be part of a charity gig at Salford’s Trinity Church, but for some unknown reason this event was cancelled. Thankfully though, rather than having to postpone to a later date, The Leisure Society managed to relocate tonight’s show to The Ruby Lounge.

Singer and multi-instrumentalist Nick Hemming started his musical career in Burton-Upon-Trent in a band that included Shane Meadows and Paddy Considine. After the two aforementioned members left to head into their now well chosen paths. Hemming moved to London in 2006 to join forces with another fantastic multi-instrumentalist Christian Hardy, where they then proceeded to build today’s current line up of talented musicians.

Onstage and on time, Hemming is sat on his stool centre stage and looking very dapper indeed. Other members may not be as well turned out, but you do get a feeling of typical Englishness, even when looking over to the area inhabited by the string section, where a bearded bloke is sat wearing a checked shirt and a Trilby hat with a feather tucked into it, the only thing he is short of is a piece of straw freshly picked from a grain field protruding from the corner of his mouth.

As soon as the first notes of “Love’s Enormous Wings”, which is the closing track on the debut album “The Sleeper”, emanate from the stage, you are immediately transported to a more tranquil place. The next song “Darkest Place”, we are informed is about depression, but the way it is put across in music, gives the total opposite feeling.

Next is a cover of Gary Numan’s eighties electro hit “Cars”. You would expect a version of this without any synths or more modern forms of technology to not really work, but this could not be further from the truth, as it is transformed into a beautiful and calming moment.

When the intro to last years single “The Last Of The Melting Snow” starts, the whole of the crowd (which includes The Housemartins/Beautiful South’s very own Paul Heaton) goes deathly silent with anticipation of hearing this sublimely gorgeous song, and to say the hairs on my arms stood on end would not be a lie.

Others taken from album are the title track “The Sleeper” and “A Short Weekend Begins With Longing”, and to see us on our way tonight is the new single “A Matter Of Time” which is yet more of their uplifting sensibility.

The whole of their set gives a feeling of floating on air which does not cease as they leave the stage. No matter what your musical tastes, The Leisure Society are a band that I defy anyone not to like.

Simon Zaccagni

‘Accidental Editor’ None of this was planned; I’ve never been in a band, never been part of the ‘music scene’ and never expected to be the gaffer of a music website with loads of dedicated music loving writers. I bought my first record when I was 8 and haven’t stopped buying since. I love crate digging for bizarre and weird stuff, but equally happy ploughing through press releases looking/listening for something I’ve never heard before.