Yann Tierson


Yann Tiersen must have taken quite a fancy to Manchester Cathedral. 3 years after his Dust Lane tour, he has returned to the enchanting venue that befits him so perfectly. His latest album Infinity, has been labelled an experimental ‘mini masterpiece’ and whilst at first listen it may seem sporadic and jumbled, the Cathedral setting translates it in a way that no home stereo ever could.

Walking out to the thick spoken word of ‘Meteorites,’ a Tiersen – induced hush washes over the room. The normal babbling and whispering stops as it is clear that nobody knows quite how to react to the massive presence that has just dominated the room. At a tiny 5’4, I can’t see him over the sea of heads in front of me, but I know from the eerily over sized silhouettes flitting against the Cathedral walls that he is there.

The set list is very Infinity heavy. Inspired by his Breton roots, the album wriggles free from the comfort of his previous film soundtracks, instead presenting a vast, sometimes bleak clashing of sounds. The stage sees more instruments than a branch of Dawsons, but this is where Tiersen is obviously in his element. Applying a punk-inspired, chaotic ethos to a base of children’s instruments and off -the-wall violin, he rattles off the evocative, breezy ‘Midsummer Evening,’ ‘The Crossing’ and ‘In Our Minds.’

He revisits ‘Dust Lane,’ via ‘Dark Stuff’ and ‘Palestine’ which is preoccupied with its obvious concepts of mortality and soft simmering dark undertones. It is clear when the first notes of ‘La Dispute’ chime out that it is his globally recognised ‘Amélie’ soundtrack that everyone is here for. Glances are exchanged and shoulders nudged as everyone settles in for a journey through a Parisian fantasy. Despite this, and the rapturous reaction to the reappearance of what feels like an old friend, we’re only offered this glimmer of a couple of ‘Amélie’ songs.

Perhaps his wildly contrasting new album is a statement to distance himself from the remnants of Amélie. From the man who claims Paris is one of the ‘worst European cities’ and labels it ‘ugly’ (Sacrebleu!) it seems he has ignored how charming and fondly remembered this period of his career is by the audience in front of him.

Whilst his versatility ensures that a set spanning both old and new is greatly received, it is the cosiness and familiarity of his most famous work that leaves people dabbing their eyes.

As he finishes, alone at his piano, I’m convinced he will return for a second encore but bam. Lights up, coats on and I’m left standing, squawking ‘NO! NO! That can’t be it?!’ It’s then that I realise ‘Amélie’ is now a distant memory and Tiersen has moved on, but I’m not convinced that his crowd are ready to depart with him.

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