Words by Wes Foster.

Man & the Echo opened proceedings with their lively pop/rock tracks that capture elements of soul. They’d hardly look out of place in a working men’s club with their mod style and stage presence. There’s a wall of sound tonality to their music, alongside very well written tracks that immediately get straight to the point.

As he comes onto the stage, Meilyr Jones seems slightly like a small child thrust into a spotlight. Despite touring for the last few weeks, he looks excitedly giddy. Unlike almost any other bands I’ve seen, there is no cynicism here, no reluctance, just someone who wants to be there for every track of every set. He owns the tiny spotlight in centre stage, and all eyes are on him.

This isn’t quite like anything you’ve ever seen before. This is music possible to sit down to, allowing it to wash over you while you take in every ounce of its matter. From the incredibly talented band with constant instrument swapping, to Jones’ penchant for removing the microphone, instead just singing acoustically to a pretty full Deaf Institute, something that makes the entire show something far more ambient, and far more intimate.

Whilst it is all about him, it isn’t about him. It’s about this moment, this collection of people, this shared time. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a gig that has a completely silent audience. Even in the song breaks, apart from applause, there wasn’t much muttering, only spectacle. During the last track, despite it being microphone-less, it was beautiful to see not one person holding up a small soft light as they record it. Instead, an entire audience was completely at one with what was happening.

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The gig took place at Deaf Institute on Tuesday 4 October, 2016, and was promoted by Hey! Manchester.

Man & The Echo return on Wednesday 23 November, playing at Soup Kitchen.

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