Monday 22 April 2024

English Teacher - Manchester Soup - 22nd April 2024

English Teacher concluded their record store / out store tour in support of their Top 10 album This Could Be Texas with a pared down set in the basement of Soup in Manchester in association with Leeds' Crash Records. Performing tracks from the album alongside a brand new song which was an impromptu addition to the setlist, they charmed a packed crowd as well as impressing with the way they adapted the songs to a less full-on performance.

English Teacher are a band in the real sense of the word. There's a bond and camaraderie evident throughout this intimate performance. Lily has a star quality about her, an aura that draws you in, a personality without any pretence who introduces each of the other members of the band - Lewis on guitar, Nick on bass and Douglas on keys rather than his usual drum kit - and gets them to talk to the crowd before the final song. Douglas is a bit overwhelmed by the number of people in the room, but it's something they have to get used to as they're playing The Ritz, roughly ten times the size of this room, in November after selling out Gorilla months in advance. The genuine astonishment and wonder they have playing a space where Lily and Lewis used to travel to from their teenage home in Colne is genuine and makes you warm to them more.

This isn't just a stripped down acoustic performance either, as one of my friends feared as they started the set seated. The songs they play are mostly the quieter moments of the record, but it's a million miles away from the acoustic performances that other bands put on. There are solos on guitar and keys, Lily's vocals are transformed through Lewis's pedals on the rare love song You Blister My Paint, including an amusing moment where Lily is talking about writing an album being like birthing a child and her words are layered with reverb and echo round the room much to her and our amusement. 

On other songs her voice is given space to breathe and allow us, thanks to an unusually attentive audience in this venue, to hear the detail in the voice and feel the emotion in the lyrics. This is most evident on Albert Road, a recollection of Lily's childhood growing up in Colne and the prejudices she faced but with an empathy towards them that people become what they're taught and how they're treated by society. The indecisiveness in Mastermind Specialism and the fuck you attitude of The World's Biggest Paving Slab hit differently, but no less harder.

When thanking us for buying the album and getting it into the top ten, Lily refers to them as pop stars. It's a label that might not sit comfortably with them, given their willingness to take chances like performing new song Billboards, which they haven't rehearsed "a million times", but there's something magically different about English Teacher that distinguishes them from the crowd of bands being pushed by industry labels, PRs and mainstream radio. They've made one of the year's best albums, debut or otherwise, and look set to grow and grow as their reputation precedes them.

English Teacher played Albatross, I'm Not Crying You're Crying, Mastermind Specialism, The World's Biggest Paving Slab, This Could Be Texas, You Blister My Paint, Billboards, Albert Road and Nearly Daffodils.

English Teacher's website can be found here and they are on Facebook and Twitter

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

No comments:

Post a Comment