Wednesday 6 March 2024

Neon Waltz - Manchester Castle Hotel - 5th March 2024

Neon Waltz's postponed tour in support of their second album Honey Now finally rolled into Manchester on Tuesday night into a swelteringly hot and sold out Castle Hotel. A fourteen song set pulled from Honey Now as well as old favourites from their debut Strange Hymns and points in between the two records.

It's one of music's unfathomable mysteries why Neon Waltz are not treading bigger stages than this small one in The Castle that barely fits the six of them, so much so that Jordan's arse knocks into the keyboards at one point and sends them awry. Perhaps it's their remote location in John O'Groats and their refusal to move to London to make their dream a reality, but which makes any touring an adventure - it's two and a half years since they last played Manchester for example - or their muted presence on social media, but it certainly isn't their music. 

For seventy minutes they remind us of their ability to create melodic songs about daily life tinged with a romanticised yet cautious optimism. The early singles that brought them their first wave of attention are piled towards the end of the set, finishing on a trio of Perfect Frame, Bring Me To Light and Dreamers that are fit for encores in bigger halls, but which give tonight's set a final lift and confirmation of Neon Waltz's status as one of the, if not the most, under-rated bands around. 

Before that they take us through six of Honey Now's seven tracks, surprisingly omitting key single When All Is Said And Done, a record that has seen them evolve their sound into something more focused and targeted without losing that impeccable ear for an understated hook that gently takes your hand and holds it firm rather than bowling you over. They also cover Sinead O'Connor's Black Boys On Mopeds, making the song their own without disrespecting the original's beauty or message.

Neon Waltz aren't about a big show of ego, yet in front man Jordan they have a leader with a quite charisma that's quite charming to behold. He jokes about drummer Darren having the hairiest chest in Manchester tonight and teases him to take his shirt off, which there's no chance will happen. They're a tight knit bunch through over a decade together as a band and this shines through in the way the songs simply flow beautifully together and there's a real understated joy that emanates from the stage and fills the room with warmth, as if we needed any more of it as the cold temperatures outside are replaced by the heat of the show. 

As Dreamers finishes the message of "you should do what you love while you can" echoes around The Castle's intimate music room it sends us out into the cold Manchester night with a warm feeling where it matters most. Neon Waltz are an absolute joy to watch, a band doing it for the love of the music who could have jacked it in years ago but continue with an unflinching conviction about what they're doing. 
Neon Waltz played Friends Who Lost Control, All I Need, Thoughts / Dreams / Regrets, Barewood Aisles, Strung Up, Black Boys On Mopeds, Stranger Things, A Million People, Heavy Heartless, Honey Now, As Good As Gone, Perfect Frame, Bring Me To Light and Dreamers.

Neon Waltz's official website can be found here and they are on Twitter and Facebook.

They play Glasgow King Tut's Wah Wah Hut (March 6), Edinburgh Mash House (7), London Camden Assembly (8), SXSW (14-16), Kyle Of Lochlash Skye Bridge Studios (April 19), Dunkeld Birnam Arts Centre (20), Inverness Upstairs (25) and Stornoway An Lanntair (26).

Follow Even The Stars on Twitter at @eventhestarsuk and like our Facebook page for all the latest updates

No comments:

Post a Comment