LIVE: Dave McPherson @ Jabez Clegg, Manchester (10/03/2011)

Date: March 10th, 2011
Venue: Jabez Clegg, Manchester
Support: Jimmy Holland, Howard James Kenny
Website: None available


Dave McPherson is certainly one of the hardest working artists around. When not fronting Essex rock quartet InMe or working on various techno projects such as Primordial Soup – Listen Closely, he’s working on his solo acoustic project. Dave is almost permanently on tour playing from university venues to pub function rooms, promoting his solo work. On this Hardship Diaries Tour, promoting his upcoming album of the same name, Dave plays in the back room at Jabez Clegg in Manchester, a room about the size of your average classroom, the perfect size for an intimate acoustic gig.

A nervous start from the first local support Jimmy Holland (***), as he timidly gazed into the crowd, but as soon as he struck the first chord he was transformed into a confident performer. Although the crowd are a tad inconsiderate at first, Jimmy soon grabs their attention with his 80s-esque vocals and powerful lyrics from songs like ‘Fire At Will’. After this, he has everyone nodding along to his emotive anthems with well earned approval.

Following was Howard James Kenny (****), and it’s here that something strange happened. Never before have I witnessed a crowd fall silent at a support act, you could literally hear a pin drop. Howard opens up with ‘Insects’, a song that should belong in the game Braid. With its tranquil intro and soothing vocals, the audience was transported to some blissful haven for 5 minutes, before being returned back to the room with a thunderous applause. Howard‘s set was a masterpiece of calming, acoustic ballads and an outstanding cover of Massive Attack‘s classic ‘Teardrop’. Quite possibly one of the best support acts I have ever seen.

Only one criticism resides within Dave McPherson‘s (****) performance tonight, it was far too short. Now this may be one of two reasons, either Dave made an hour feel like a few short minutes or my concept of time has completely gone out of the window. Never the less, however long the show seemed it was far from boring. Opening with ‘Winter: Hibernation’ and ‘Spring: Hearts Need Blood’ (songs from the upcoming ‘The Hardship Diaries’), he has the crowd captivated in awe.

Dave‘s set was phenomenal, full of incredible covers such as ‘My Stupid Mouth’ by John Mayer, and a flawless rendition of ‘Boom Shake The Room’ by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. To his credit, Dave knows what the people want, and doesnt do just one but three InMe covers. ‘Turbulence’ and ‘I Will Honour You’ certainly sound amazing stripped bare, but it was the rendition of ‘Faster The Chase’ that truly stole the show for the crowd. Having grown up with this anthem, hearing it in from another perspective was simply sublime and a perfect end to a perfect show.

Written by Andy Roberts