I’d been looking forward to this gig since I’d heard tracks from Paradaeis’ EP ‘Suntrap’ so it was with a certain amount of excitement that I made my way to the Oporto through the Leeds’ Pride crowds. The gig also marked the release of joegarratt’s single ‘Swim Inside’ (Featuring Eskimoh on vocals).
There’s a man who sings softly over a synth, songs that are slow and strangely warped in places, and that’s Manny Bianco. And it’s fantastic.
And at times that synth sounds like a weirdly mutated 80s’ technology programme theme, and at times like some disco era big ballad, but it’s all off-kilter and slightly unsettling. It sounds like it shouldn’t work but it does. It’s compelling, mesmerising and engrossing. And sometimes it’s moving. And he produces these wonderful songs in a rather endearingly modest way.
I’m going to be honest, I had no idea what to expect and his first song had me rather confused as to what I was hearing but a few seconds into the second song and I was hooked, I spent the rest of his set totally immersed in the music he made. You must see Manny Bianco play, don’t expect a hugely visual performance, this is all about the music and the songs.
Having reviewed Paradaeis’ EP ‘Suntrap’ EP I was really looking forward to hearing her play live. She opened her set with the song ‘Hold On’ from the EP. She’s using a pre-recorded backing track but she’s solo up there, and it’s her voice that holds you. It’s a voice that draws you in and is frankly astounding.
Two rather dubby songs follow and these are lovely. It is at this point that my notes came to an end because I was totally hooked into what she was doing. She seems to immerse herself in her songs – she described some of them as a meditation on certain subjects – and that seems to drive that immersion. The song mix all sorts of styles – folk, synth pop, EDM, Arabian influences – into something that is uniquely her style. That with her voice makes her music beautiful.
The EP impressed me hugely and the songs I’d not heard before impressed me equally as well. Paradaeis is somebody you must see people.
joegarratt is new to me, I’d only heard the single he was launching at this gig before. So I didn’t know quite what to expect. He sings, and does something I don’t really know how to describe with pre-programmed tracks, backed by a keyboard player and sax player.
There is something of a moody darkness in his songs. There are hints of post-punk synth/electronica there. This started to catch my attention. His voice, which was fantastic, caught my attention more. The problem is that what he does isn’t really the sort of thing I like, for much of his set I switched between really liking it and not. Objectively I know it’s good – it has depth and feeling and passion, and is musically great – but this is not my ‘sort of thing’. The crowd loved his set, so I’m very much in the minority there.
Musing on his set as I made my way rather slowly through the post-Pride crowds to the station. I came to the conclusion that on balance I really need to see him play again, sometimes artists don’t grab me the first time I see them. But what I liked I liked enough to make me feel that I need to see him again, now I know what he does.
All photos on this page © Frank Roper Photography