Manu Delago

The Capstone Theatre, Liverpool
19th April 2013

Reviewed by Joe Coventry

Just over half way through his tour of Austria, Germany and the UK Manu Delago's troupe of musical and light show practitioners turned up at the Capstone for what was to be an extraordinary night out.

Manu was gobsmacked himself; the concert had got under way in bright sunshine and he thanked the small but enlightened audience that had turned up for eshewing the life giving rays and coming to see him instead.

As part of the 'Bigger Than Home Tour' the hang and drummer's line-up comprised Isa Kurz (vocals, piano and violin), Philipp Moll (bass and synth). Chris Norz (drums, fx and light) and there was to be a special appearance.

The hang is a sophisticated cross between a wok and a dimpled bin lid. The range of timbre and hand caressed notes he can produce has made Delago the instrument's leading performer, good enough to accompany Bjork on her world tour.

Manual dexterity also came from the drumming and brilliant lighting skills of Norz; a Berlin-esque warehouse explosion of garishly outlined soloists, thrashing out a pulsating rhythm was mesmerising. He was also no slouch on stick beaten tubular bell and had the panache to coax a tintinnabulation of miniature chimes in quieter mode.

Coincidence perhaps, but Kurz's vocal skills instinctively brought to mind the Icelandic diva. Her piano and violin dexterity complementing Moll's idiosyncratic bass playing (which was more off or around the strings than on them at times), added texture and colour.

It was riveting stuff and the seventy minute show came to an end all too quickly. The staccato 'Metronome Disease'.'Ice Cream Van' complete with jingle and 'Medina I & II' held the audience in thrall, the latter hinting of the Kasbah. Nor was that all. Stuart McCullum, of Cinematic Orchestra fame, guested on electronic guitar adding to the jazz fest or synthesised striving back beat. What a shame there were not more there to see it all. The jostling crowd at the CD counter afterwards bore testimony to just how good it had been. See them if you can.

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