Hurts, Manchester Academy, 8/02/11
Everything about Hurts is epic. Now I’m well aware that word went out of fashion some point in the history of the world, but Hurts are bringing it back and it’s dressed in a lovely suit too. The only way you could describe this; the last date of their tour in their home town of Manchester, is as epic.
It’s only right then that one of the breakthrough bands of last year be supported by some of 2011’s hottest new talent, Clare Maguire. Maguire sadly is anything but epic. You can’t dislike her, but there just doesn’t seem to be enough passion in the world for me to even care about her. Dull is the word that comes to mind and onstage she is exactly this. She has a great voice and can belt out a tune there’s no denying, but then so can anyone from the over 25’s category on the x-factor. If you lived through the 90’s then you will be able to instantly conjure up what she sounds like by thinking of anyone who had a vaguely popular single that year. She did however wear a nice floaty dress in which you could see her underwear, so that’s something at least, she then proceeded to prance around the stage extending her arms at every available opportunity and waving them around. The audience obviously loved it because they are well dressed cutting edge indie folk who probably saw her perform in the café down the road from them while you were still an embryo.
I should probably now apologise to Clare Maguire and her fans for that sewage that just spewed from my fingers please feel free to leave horrible comments below.
Hurts. Luckily the main attraction offers up a much more delectable product for us to tap our collective and well styled feet to. With not much more than an albums worth of songs to offer up the set started with album opener and synth heavy ‘Silver Lining’ setting the chorus chanting tone of the gig. It’s hard to pick the biggest song of the night when all the songs are this big, but ‘Wonderful Life’ is a strong contender and the audience were always eager to please these local lads. Theo is possibly the best frontman around right now and works the mic-stand like nobody else; it was part prop, crutch, and propeller and allowed for some brilliant leaning which only emphasised key changes and choruses. Not big on the talking crowd-banter was kept to a minimum and clichés somehow avoided, this from the band who sings about rain more than the chart top 100 put together, but when Theo did offer us some pearls of wisdom it came in a northern drawl you just can’t get your head around.
As I’m sure many fans were, like me, upset about the distinct lack of Kylie Minogue the boys decided to throw in a cover of ‘Confide In Me’ to show her what she was missing. It was a highlight of the gig and sounded excellent in a strange Depeche Mode sort of way. They can’t escape the 80’s and to be honest who would want them to. The best summation of the gig I can think of is “They covered Kylie and it was fucking awesome.”
With only a one song encore I had wondered what was left for them to play until ‘Better Than Love’ kicked in with its strong vocal “Every second is a life-time.” Hurts might be good on record, but they are and will become ever greater live; with all the components coming into play from dazzling light shows, sing-alongs, and stage presence working together to make them an unstoppable force.
With more material on the way Hurts are definitely one to watch.