Sunday 31 March 2024

Easter - Manchester Star And Garter - 29th March 2024

Easter launched their album Facsimile Of A Dream on Good Friday appropriately at The Star And Garter. Against a sombre backdrop of the venue's landlord passing away earlier in the day, they delivered a three quarters of an hour set of tracks from the album and their previous work.

Easter have been knocking around on the fringes of the Manchester scene for some time, headed by Tom Long and a bunch of musical accomplices, currently Paul Flieshman on drums, Gavin Clarke on guitars and Grey Blyth on bass. An accomplished set of musicians, they brought nine of the ten songs from Facsimile Of A Dream to life before finishing on old favourite Open Grave despite shouts for Holy Island. It's six years since their second album Meander Lines and a further six before that for the debut Innocence Man so the songs off the new record touch on themes from the intervening years, including of course lockdown which sits heavy on the songs that they recorded with Ding Archer who's in the crowd and gets a birthday shout out.

There's no big moments of show in their set, just a consistent powerful performance that really demonstrates the strength of the musicianship on show and the articulate nature of the lyrics that touch on topics we can all relate to. When they let go on Vapour Rub and the song ascends into a long instrumental break is when they fluorish. Tom's voice is warm and reassuring throughout. Like the rest of us they're shocked by the news of landlord Andy's sudden death earlier in the day and pay tribute to him in the only way they can by keeping the music going and recognising the contribution of one of Manchester's unsung good guys.There's little snips of humour, Paul teasing Tom that he's his own biggest critic when they stop a song a few bars in and he recalls his days at Johnny Roadhouse on the phones with annoyed customers.

Fascimile Of A Dream is a record that deserves some attention and tonight's show had us heading downstairs to buy a copy of it at the end. The type of songwriting that Easter represent is becoming a dying art in the days of trying to get a hit and then fill records with songs that don't matter to anyone other than the creator. The songs have a flow and a continuity to them without sounding the same or losing a listener's interest - and played by a talented bunch of four who clearly love and focus on what they do. 

Easter played Starry Eyed, Fresh Hell, Days (On Lockdown), Great North East, Linen Gauze, Vapour Rub, The Very Last, Saturday Morning, War Chest and Open Grave.

They are on Facebook and Twitter.  Facsimile Of A Smile and previous releases are available via their Bandcamp.


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