LIVE: Dave McPherson @ Castle Hotel, Manchester (31/01/2012)

Date: January 31st, 2012
Venue: Castle Hotel, Manchester
Support: Richie Syrett, Greg Larkin, New Century Soul Club


So, if you don’t know who Dave McPherson is, no question about it, you should go look him up. When he’s not fronting his band InMe, he’s filling his time with touring or writing more music for his solo career. Last year, he did an almighty 163(ish) shows. Think that’s amazing? He did 189 shows the year before. So, in an ongoing quest to out-do himself, he’s squeezing in a small solo tour before embarking on a 50 date tour with InMe, as you do.

One of the good things about Dave is that he always brings along budding acoustic artists, giving them a chance to shine. Up first and playing to a nearly empty room is youngling Richie Syrett (****). It doesn’t take long for him to draw a sizeable crowd. He has a soft southern style to his voice, with a distinct Bob Dylan twang to it. This, coupled with his warm riffs and soothing harmonica tones, makes me think he is paying a tribute to some of the greats of the 60s era, like Willie Nelson. With a decent set of wonderful songs, such as ‘Sway’ and ‘Slipping’, Richie makes for the perfect opening act tonight.

Taking a colossal leap away from the norm is acoustic prodigy Greg Larkin (*****). Though the lack of vocals seems to confuse people a little, that confusion turns to fascination as soon as he starts playing. This guy is so talented, finger-tapping the fret board as if it were a keyboard. He has the spectacular ability to create the illusion that there are numerous guitars are playing at once, similar to the acoustic melodies of In Flames. Considering that he only has two hands, this is pretty chuffing impressive.

Up next are River Island enthusiasts New Century Soul Club (***). These guys sound like an acoustic version of Arctic Monkeys or early Oasis. The majority of their songs are pretty good, but I found the majority of the crowd drifting off and talking amongst themselves for some of their set. It doesn’t help matters that the majority of their harmonies were a tad off too. Never the less, it was a solid effort with a strong finish.

Man of the hour, Dave McPherson (*****), steps up and blows us all away. This small, intimate venue is packed to the brim, all eager to hear his wonderful acoustic melodies. His voice is so god damn powerful, mesmerizing everyone to the likes of ‘Spring – Hearts Need Blood’ and ‘Love Rats’. An entertainer through and through, he peppers his set with some of his best InMe songs like ‘I Will Honour You’ and the almighty ‘Turbulence’.

Dave adds this wonderful personal touch to every gig, joking with the crowd, taking requests and telling us about the inspirations behind the songs he played. Imagine all this with a few cheeky covers thrown in (such as Radiohead‘s ‘Creep’ and DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince‘s ‘Boom! Shake The Room’) and a substantial amount of drinking from Dave himself, you know it’s always a good night with him on the bill. I have never seen Dave put on a bad show, and I urge you to go see him next time he is in town (and trust me, he will be in your town, he is a touring machine).

Written by Andy Roberts