Review by Hetty Dillon
Following the release of his latest album ‘The Princess’, Austrian DJ Parov Stelar and his band have embarked upon a European tour which stopped at Manchester Academy on the 30th May. Their live sound fuses modern digital electro beats with the old vinyl sound of classic jazz and soul and led to the whole crowd jumping and dancing to their captivating performance.
The crowd was a mixed group of young and old fans, with a large portion of Erasmus students (who clearly were fully fledged fans of Parov Stelar from his wider success on the continent) in attendance. From the very first song, not one body was motionless and every person seemed to be caught up in the music. It was an amazing atmosphere and it seemed everyone was united in dancing to the all-consuming sound of the electro swing music. This was nothing less than was expected, as Parov Stelar has experienced such a reception in countries across Europe and further afield prior to this gig in Manchester.
After a great show by support act ‘Razzmatazz’, the Parov Stelar Band’s performance told the history of the band as they began with their earlier and more widely recognised songs such as ‘Catgroove’ and ‘Chambermaid Swing’ which were thrilling live renditions. Other songs like ‘The Modjo Radio Gang’ and ‘Baska Brother’ were also particularly well received and Cleo Panther’s powerful vocals kept the crowd engaged all night. Later, the band focussed on new material from the recently released ‘The Invisible Girl’ EP.
Contrary to what one might expect at this point of a concert, it was not a case of the audience waiting for the next track they recognised to be played. Parov Stelar and his band’s music is the exceptional kind that does not need to be listened to more than once to be able to engage the attention and appreciation of an audience. Furthermore, Max the Sax (the resident saxophone player) was no less than brilliant, a definite crowd pleaser and his saxophone solo was a highlight of the evening, leading to cheers for an encore, which the band seemed more than happy to deliver.
It was certainly a very successful night for the Parov Stelar Band which bodes well for the rest of their tour.
Many a new fan was made on the 30th of May in Manchester, so it would be worth anyone’s while to keep an eye out for when the Parov Stelar Band next perform in England. Catch them in July at Womad Festival in Wiltshire and then in August at Boomtown Fair in Winchester.
The Parov Stelar Band performed at Manchester Academy 1 on Thursday 30th May 2013.