Sunday 21 April 2024

Personal Trainer - Manchester Academy 3 - 20th April 2024

Personal Trainer headlined a sold out sauna-like Academy 3 in Manchester on Saturday night as the 6 Music favourites delivered an upbeat set taken from their debut album Big Love Blanket as well as singles and new material.

As we enter Academy 3 just before Personal Trainer take to the stage the first thing that hits us is the heat. Two songs in and front man Willem, head of the collective of musicians, seven of whom are on stage, has removed his shirt. It gets hotter as the crowd bounce along to Buildings, which dates back to Willem’s collaboration in The Industry, which also featured Pip Blom, and their latest single Intangible. The latter’s two minutes summarises just why this crowd love the band. Joyfully loose and upbeat, not taking quite the obvious turn, and making full use of the seven musicians on stage. Laden with infectious hooks and an indefatigable energy, it’s almost impossible not to warm to them on a personal level as opposed to the thermometer, Willem’s charming Dutch accent and manner insistent that you like them. At one point he references Miles Davis, Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Cameo at the start of a song and you can see how all those artists have infused themselves into Personal Trainer's sound.

Across fifteen songs and the hour they’re on stage there’s much more of the same, the quirks and the musicianship always ensuring though that it’s not rinse and repeat. Texas In The Kitchen, Key Of Ego and the new song Brand New Feeling, being played live for only the second time, are the standouts, but in reality the standard never really drops as it often can with radio championed bands. The penultimate song You Better Start Scrubbing is a chaotic bundle of joyous energy that has the crowd demanding a big finale. That they don’t somehow doesn’t surprise us from what we’ve gleaned so far. The unreleased Still Willing slows everything down, calms the crowd, teases moments where you think the song might take off, particularly given what’s gone before, but doesn’t. It doesn’t dim the adulating roar that sends them into the night.

Personal Trainer's website can be found here and they are on Facebook and Twitter.  Their tour continues at Leeds Wardrobe (April 23), Bristol Beacon (24), London Electric Ballroom (25) and Brighton Concorde 2 (26).


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