LIVE: The Secret Handshake @ Academy 2, Manchester (02/02/2008)

Date: February 2nd, 2008
Venue: Academy 2, Manchester
Support: Between The Trees


The main act for tonight’s show, The Rocket Summer, sadly had to cancel their performance due to the one and only member Bryce becoming too ill to perform. However, those who are fans of support acts Between The Trees and The Secret Handshake weren’t to walk away disappointed, as they still played… and for free too.

After a short speech by a representative of the charity group To Write Love On Her Arms was over, the opening act took to the stage. One of the main supporters of To Write Love On Her Arms, Between The Trees provide a melodic alternative rock sound using a small range of instruments to hide the trouble lyrics sung within their set. At one moment during their set the band states that any jewellery thrown at them will be sported by the group, and soon after they’re faced with a barrage of necklaces and bracelets. Throughout their performance the band play a range of both old and new songs including ‘Words’ and their more popular piece ‘The Way That She Feels’, warming the crowd up for the next performer during their slightly extended set.

The Secret Handshake soon comes on after the first support band flee the stage, and instantly has the crowd jumping up and down, with his blend of synthesised beats and melodies, and the support of a touring guitarist and drummer to bring his musical performance to life. Although Luis‘ voice goes a little out of tune here and there, the crowd aren’t the slightest bit bothered, and are gleefully enjoying the sound of his voice through the vocoder through tracks like ‘Midnight Movie’ and ‘Summer Of ’98’. His showcase of ‘Too Young’ is a spectacular one, adding a little medley after the first verse or so to spice things up a little bit, and brings the crowd jumping into an explosion of dancing mayhem. For a young solo musician, Luis has a rather impressive skill with entertaining and getting the crowd going, and though the most part of his music is a bit repetitive, it’s fun throughout and everyone’s enjoying themselves. He ends the set off with a short and comic cover of ‘Believe’ by Cher, which a fair few people didn’t work out was a cover until he had ended the set.

It was a shame to hear The Rocket Summer had to cancel, and hopefully he recovers and returns to Manchester. For a free show though, people don’t have much right to complain about the performance and Bryce pulling out.

Written by Zach Redrup