Brendan Perry at Manchester Deaf Institute, 9th June 2010

I’m writing this in the train on the way down to London from Manchester. As I type, terraced houses clad in the English flag denote their occupants’ allegiance to the national team in the upcoming World Cup.

Here are some notes I scribbled down when I got back to the hotel last night after Brendan’s gig in Manchester.

Brendan Perry + Guests turned out to be + Ghosts: there was no support band this evening.

The Deaf Institute is a quirky, but very appealing venue. It did actually once serve as an institute for the deaf, but you could have been forgiven for thinking that someone had a wry sense of humour when they picked the monicker.

The venue positively oozes kitsch character with its burgundy patterned wallpaper and stepped, football terrace seating at the back. If you scoured England in search of another place just like it, I doubt you’d find one.

There’s a very inviting, though very warm downstairs bar with lots of couch seating and an excellent bar menu. I can attest to the quality of the bangers and mash, as well as the sticky toffee pudding.

This is the best kind of one-stop shopping: food, drink and a Brendan Perry concert; all in one place.

The sound tonight was excellent. The small, ceiling-mounted PA was adequate for the tiny upstairs room in which Brendan was performing.

The turnout for the gig was low, about 100 people, which I can no longer really say surprises me. It was a good crowd, though, enthusiastically applauding after the songs and, just as importantly, remaining silent during them.

There were a couple of technical hitches during the first half of the show. Brendan’s guitar wasn’t switched on for the start of The Arcane and Rachel’s bass buzzed, fizzed and eventually dropped out for most of A Passage In Time. A dodgy lead was found to be the problem and Peter Sheridan doubled as a roadie during the song to fix it.

The only set-list surprise this evening was that Dream Letter wasn’t played. Peter told me afterwards that it was felt that the set might flow better without it.

As in Galway, Severance was tacked onto the end of the first encore, making it the one and only of the evening.

I recorded the gig and hope to have it up on DIME late Friday evening or Saturday afternoon at the latest. The quality is superb. I’m listening to it now on the train.

Let’s hope tonight’s gig at London’s Union Chapel is as good as Manchester was.

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