Gigs in Churches are the new black.

Sacred Trinity nestled on the cusp of Manchester, on Salford’s Chapel Street – which is now getting quite a reputation, of the good kind. Bang in the middle of this new creative cluster, round the corner from Islington Mill, the uber top Kings Arms, Blueprint Studios and all those other ‘another city’ places, is the venue for tonight’s giggage. Although the church is not jumping on the band- wagon, it’s been here since 1653, the first church in the city mind you, so all the rest are just pure trail blazers.

I enjoy a handshake on the entrance to a gig, I do think, from hence forth, that all bands should make you feel this welcome when you arrive. Brownie points +1

With a spot of Bob Dylan ringing through the hall to warm up the service, the lovely Ruby Anne Patterson opens the nights proceedings, with a very apt tinkering of ‘Summertime’ – on this big sunny evening as the Salfordian sun sets, piercing through the gorgeous stained glass windows.

Billed as ‘Special Guests’, Monroe Hips take to the altar, by this point the pews are starting to hurt my arse. But they are dead handy, you can put your drink in the little hymn book shelf.

For those that had taken a pew, soon rise for the headline act I Am Blackbird.

Heading in with ‘Long Time Coming’, which the trumpeter was, wandering in to join the band halfway through the service, seemingly forgetting he had a big do tonight.

Blackbird slip into ‘Last Thing on Your Mind’, with the set list getting a hefty old mix up and at only the second song in the raucous crowd start shouting good natured heckles and mild-banter.

The 6-piece are looking pretty squished on the tiny stage, as the next number kicks off with Estelle Malm’s sublime cello solo, who’d have thought a trumpet and cello would a good band make?

By the fourth track ‘What the Heck?’ the Blackbird’s start to sound like they are proper enjoying themselves, and all look well happy to be there.

Joe Gibson on keys flits between the keyboard and church piano, well when in Rome. The Blackbirds are getting used to their holy settings, head choirboy Jonny Baldwin directs a beautiful guitar-led number. (But as the set list is shot to shit, I don’t catch the title) Well it would have been heartfelt, if it wasn’t for the audience, Jesus. STFU!  ‘Can You hear my call?’, soz no cus everyone’s talking about what they had for tea.

Now the crowd had seemingly got that out their system, un-nerved, Blackbird play ‘Setting Sun’ that has echoes of a fellow Mancunian, Cherry Ghost.  

To the shouts from the audience of ‘wooo you’re dead good’ ,drummer Charlie Garson heads solo into the cracking ‘This Town’, setting the march-like pace for this memorable tune, a definite future single.  The song’s available on Facebook as a free download, get it. Now.

The last track ‘I Just Called to Say Your Great and Sexy’ (is it just me, or did anyone else swoon at the title of that song?) is one big massive thumping bass and drum sound ,courtesy of Ben Price on bass, who throughout the night has had a content little smile on his face.  Best track of the night by far, I dare you not to start dancing, but not like how the crazy man in the front is.

When the vicar himself forbids an encore, you can truly say that by Gods Devine intervention the gig is over. A magical night had by all, and a bloody polite lot too, hats off to Ma and Pa Blackbird.

Finally, I Am Blackbird, a Manchester band to get excited about. About fucking time if you ask me.


PS: Get your website working I Am Blackbird. The internet’s well popular nowadays and people want to see your faces.


Co-founder, Producer and Presenter of the weekly Silent Radio show. Part of the Silent family since 2010.Over 10 years experience of working with national, award-winning youth charities and in the creative industries. She’s the former Deputy Director of NOISEfestival.com, Europe’s leading promoter of emerging creative talent. Here she helped secure new creatives secure massive media exposure (BBC R1, 1Xtra…), showcases at mega impressive locations (Downing Street, V&A...) and kudos from the best in the business (Brian Eno, Boiler Room, Peter Saville…).She also flies the flag for women in the media as Director of Manchester’s independent music website Silent Radio and co-Founder, Exec Producer and Presenter of the Silent Radio show on MCR.Live; Further radio includes BBC 5Live, BBC Radio Manchester, plus the odd bit of TV Production Management with international broadcast credits (BBC, ZDF / Arte, Smithsonian…), she also dabbles with playing records to people and her first podcast is currently in pre-production.Bestest gigs: Pulp, Sheffield Arena, ’12 | Micah P Hinson, Sheffield Lantern Theatre, ’12 | Dream Themes, Manchester Star & Garter, ’14 | Patrick Watson, Manchester Gorilla, ’15 | Less Than Jake, Nottingham Rock City, ‘01 | Frightened Rabbit, Manchester Deaf Institute, ’12 | The Decemberists, Manchester Academy, ‘11 | Passion Pit, Manchester Academy 2, ‘09 | Iron and Wine, The Ritz, Manchester, ‘08 | The Verve (with Beck), Wigan Haigh Hall, ‘98 | Take That, Manchester Eastlands Stadium, ‘11 |Worst gig: Fall Out Boy, Manchester Roadhouse ’05 (subject to change)