I first read about Money about six months ago in the music press. There seemed to be a buzz about the potential of this five piece from Manchester, renowned for holding exhibitions in unusual buildings around town, and being artists as well as musicians. So when they popped up on the bill at Manchester International Festival, I felt it was time to investigate the hype.

After braving the searing temperatures of Manchester all afternoon, it seemed a shame to be heading for a small blacked out marque in Albert Square but I wasn’t to be disappointed.

We were treated to a short set from local duo Bernard and Edith, fresh from their appearance at Rock The Dock only a couple of weeks earlier at Media City. I had heard on the radio a few days ago that they were to be supported by a transvestite choir, but this appears to have just been lead singer Jamie Lee pulling Messrs Radcliffe & Marconi’s leg, as there was just the one introducing the band.

It wasn’t a full venue as the lights went down, which is a shame, as most bands need a responsive crowd to bounce off but this one doesn’t! The crowd were silent, anticipating a band about to walk on stage and it didn’t. A shriek from the very back of the marque, and the crowd turn, to see a smiling Jamie Lee, singing solo while wandering through the crowd, shaking hands, embracing, hugging and kissing the crowd. He even gifted one lucky punter a bottle of red wine which he was carrying, but soon took it back after he had finished delivering the opening track, stood smack bang in the middle of the crowd. At this point he still didn’t head for the stage, but instead headed for the back corner near the sound desk, where there was an upright piano, which was the accompaniment for the next track.

Move over Chris Martin, this boy can play.

I would love now to give you all a track listing of the ensuing show, but only having heard their latest single, ‘Bluebell Fields’, and  I am in the dark over the titles of the tracks I heard. All I can say is that they were all differing in styles, sounds and genres but all excellent. The only other constant throughout the set was the front man. Chatting to the crowd, swigging from his vino rouge bottle, climbing onto amplifiers, kicking bottles off amplifiers, jumping up and shouting into a microphone that was at least 9′ high, and generally having a ball. At one point he was about to crowd surf, but at the last minute realised there wasn’t actually a solid enough group of people in front of the stage. Both mesmerising and endearing, this is a band I too am now anticipating great things of. Their first album due out at the end of August, is now on my wish list.

The set drew to a close with the singer back in the middle of the audience, but this time with his microphone and a backing band. When the band headed off, Lee once again headed for the piano at the back, to deliver one final perfectly crafted piano performance. He then walked off through the crowd and stood, shirtless in the entrance to the tent. I was the first one to follow him out and shake his hand and congratulate him on a great show before I headed off, and I suspect everyone else leaving the tent did the same. Some will have got hugs, some will have got kisses.

Roll on 27th August when the album is released on Bella Union records.