Night Time Economy

19 April
Levenshulme Old Library

Elbow once played in the now-closed Cine City cinema in Withington. Beth Ditto and her cohorts in The Gossip played in a subterranean club serving soft drinks only - The Cyprus Tavern. Both are examples of venues that don’t have to be the scale of the Apollo, but places where the atmosphere and intimacy can envelop those present.

Under the banner of ‘Night Time Economy’, Caoilfhionn Rose, her father, fellow musician Rich Williams, and a friend, Brigid, have put on gigs elsewhere, including the Klondyke Club, a venue that will again in June, host the Summer of Lev fest.

This time, the former Levenshulme Carnegie library, which closed in 2016 and has since reopened as an arts and media centre plays host to four artists varying in style and texture.

First up was Midge (Imogen) Ryall, a poet who turns her everyday experience into her art. Often there is a sense of mischievous humour in her approach and her open letter to ‘David Craig’ superbly hits the target. If diplomacy is the art of telling someone to go to hell in such a way the person looks forward to the journey, Midge has it in oodles. It would be great to know what Mr Craig thinks of the "tribute".

The performance area was dressed in white linen to create a tee-pee-like structure, lit with a series of small bulbs to create a warm, intimate atmosphere.

By the time Marco Woolf moved into the tee-pee, chairs and beanbags had been filled. Appropriately for a warm, summery day, Woolf and his band delivered a wonderfully woozy and laidback jazz-tinged affair. His collection of songs is based around a character, Francine, matching the ups and downs of the paths of love. With his long, curly, Robert Plantian mane, Kristian Harting also possesses a voice that's crystal clear and pure in tone. Armed with a set of pedals, loops and guitars, he pursues a darker path than the other performers. "You are troubled? / I'm troubled to," he sang.

Things have changed in the library since my last visit, when "The wheels on the bus go round and round" was being chanted.

When you’ve organised the evening, you can headline as well, but before Caoilfhionn opened her set, she was surprised by a chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’ to mark her celebration. With that pleasantly out of the way, her performance began. Showing no signs of tiredness that would be understandable after travelling the 120+ miles from a performance in Hartlepool the previous evening, she delivered an engaging display.

Her vocal style is gentle and soft, seemingly demanding attention by default. Her delicate style was perfectly matched by the subtle notes from Rich Williams (guitar) and Josh Cavanagh (bass).

The set list draws primarily from her new album, Awaken. The light, airy, feel to ‘Wild Anemones’ is at odds with the topic it addresses, namely her grandmother’s dealings with Alzheimer's disease: “Awakening old memories, there’s no room in my mind for new dreams”.

"I like being a human," she gently recited, from ‘Being Human’. The crowd just liked her being there.

Ged Camera

Image inset by Ged Camera.