Monday 29 January 2024

LIINES - Manchester New Century Hall - 26th January 2024

LIINES made their long-awaited and much-anticipated comeback on Friday night with a support slot with Ladytron at New Century Hall. Performing old favourites from their debut album Stop / Start as well as a bunch of new songs, they delighted those who'd scrambled for tickets after the recent announcement as well as winning over new fans from the Ladytron fan base.

It's two years since LIINES graced a stage and plenty might have been forgiven for thinking the band had come to a natural end, but like all independent bands these days the balancing act between music, and the seemingly full-time job that comes alongside being in a band when you're doing everything yourselves, and real life, the struggle is real. To make a statement return in front of an almost-full New Century Hall and to deliver a set that reminded us right from the opening bars of Shallow through to the closing ones of Wait why they're so loved by those in on their secret. There's no big statements, no bravado, no flashy solos and posturing, just good old traditional rock music delivered with their own personalities stamped across it.

With Ding on bass, someone whose own musical history, makes him a perfect foil for Zoe and Leila. LIINES have had many bass players over the years, Steph at the start, Tamsin whose off making new more experimental music and video with her Vice Vera and more recently Anna, each bringing their own influence to the music. Ding brings a raw edge to these songs, which are driven along by Leila's phenomenally powerful drums giving Zoe's often breathless but always emotionally invested vocals the room to let rip. It's a potent combination that works across both the older songs like Blackout and Sorry as well as Never There, still one of the greatest songs to come out of Manchester this century in our humble opinion, as well as the new material.

The new material very much possesses LIINES' DNA but develops it as they've evolved rather than ripped up their blueprint. Always The Same, These Days and Wait in particular have an air of familiarity about them, but have moved on from the raw gritty feel of the debut. There's plenty for those who've been on the journey with them so far, but also much to draw in those who are hearing them for the first time as evidenced by the growing roar from the crowd as the set progresses. Nerves banished, half an hour flies back and LIINES make a statement of intent for 2024 that they're going nowhere.

LIINES played Shallow, Go, Keep On Going, Always The Same, Never There, Never Wanted This, These Days, Blackout, Sorry and Wait.

LIINES' official website can be found here.  They are also on Twitter and Facebook


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