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Snow Patrol review from G-Mex Manchester 2006

SNOW PATROL


Manchester G-Mex
Friday December 15th, 2006

Snow Patrol image:live in concert 2006

Snow Patrol Live
Review from
G-Mex Manchester
December 06


IT’S amazing, considering just how long Snow Patrol have been around, that their astonishing leap into music’s “A-list mainstream” seems to have occurred merely in the blink of an eye. Having paddled comfortably in the shallows of MOR indie waters whilst bigger playmates such as Coldplay tackled the perilous depths of notoriety and global domination, it seemed for all the world like Snow Patrol were contentedly sticking with their lot. Until - to everyone’s surprise and carried on a tide that has risen ever bigger - they made their break for the big-time with Final Straw in 2003.
 

 

 

And how they succeeded. Not only is tonight’s gig a sell-out – no mean feat given the venue’s overwhelming standing capacity – but what’s more is that the gig comes hot on the heels of another outing in the city just two weeks previously at the MEN Arena. Mind you, kicking a gig off with a song as mind-blowing as Spitting Games is always going to guarantee bums on seats, isn’t it?


Snow Patrol live at G-Mex 2006It is a situation which appears to come across as a little strange to front man Gary Lightbody, as Spitting Games gives way to a three-song intro which begins with a cacophonous medley and stadium-style light display and ends with play-list stalwart Final Straw and the singer professing his love of playing before Manchester’s audiences. Rightly so. Here, they gave him the welcome befitting a prodigal son, to which – at times - he seemed genuinely overwhelmed at the end of How To Be Dead, the classic song of argument and make up and, ultimately, break up.


Before an illuminated backdrop of moving screens, flashing lights and dry ice, Snow Patrol conduct a show worthy of its venue and use Lightbody’s obvious charisma to the Max, as he chats to the crowd, telling anecdotes and asking if the crowd believe in love, before introducing the biggest selling single of the year, Chasing Cars, the most moving song on the album, Eyes Open, by far.


The set list also offers older, more obscure songs like Starfighter but wherever they came from and no matter how old the songs were, they’re all so well executed with an irrepressible energy that saw Lightbody bopping around the stage like an excited schoolboy with a freshly strung tennis racket in his hands, who knows full well Mum and Dad are out for the night and all with the captivating ability of managing to remain in control of both guitar and voice.


Concert photograph of Snow Patrol liveMost recent single, the ridiculously brilliant Set The Fire To The Third Bar, sees Lisa Hannigan step into the absent Martha Wainwright’s shoes; a role she fills with all the poise and sheer talent for which she is renowned. Which is only bettered by the strongest new album track of the night, Make This Go On Forever, which is just, well, is sublime too light a word for such mastery?


Yet the highlight of the show, for all of its energy, gusto, creativity and excitement, is not this but rather a superlative rendition of Run, which makes an appearance just before the encore. What a song this is. Moving, empathic and, certainly not to overstate its case, iconic, Run is destined to become one of those songs everybody knows where they were when they first heard it, surely, and Lightbody’s vocal – which has, in previous times, struggled with the low register of this track – is flawless tonight. Not that it would matter anyway. The crowd sing loud enough to carry the song right to the end, in a magical conclusion befitting of a sterling performance.


Stage view of Manchester G-Mex Arena 2006Closing on the rhythmic humping and dumping of You’re All I Have and Open Your Eyes left the assembled eleven thousand, as they should be, that is to say begging for more, after an hour and three-quarters of top class entertainment.


One more thing. This is only the second gig to be held at the G-Mex in ten years and previous visits – notably to see Phil Collins and Sting in the early nineties – brought fears that the gig would be ruined by crap acoustics, over zealous security guards and – simply – bad management. Not a bit of it. The venue has come on leaps and bounds and it is with expectancy rather than trepidation that gigs should be anticipated in future.


This was one solid night out from start to finish with, clearly, the most exciting band of the moment.
9/10

 

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