Natalie Findlay and her band have been causing quite a stir recently, being championed by 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq, featuring in The Sunday Times Culture magazine, going on tour with Jake Bugg, supporting The Courteeners at the MEN and playing XFM’s Winter Wonderland. Built on the back of scintillating live performances and tracks such as Your Sister and You Gave Me Grace which was an XFM Great X-Pectations of 2013 track.
Natalie may now resided in London but Manchester is still a home-town gig and tonight The Ruby Lounge is sold out for the triumphant return of this girl-done-good. There was a party atmosphere in the air, which could have something to do with the beer flowing on a Friday night but mainly down to the expectant arrival of Findlay in a small, dark venue celebrating the release of new EP Off & On.
Dressed in a full-length fur coat and followed by the rest of the band Natalie began the night with an acapella track, Sweetheart, backed only by a beat tapped out on the microphone, the audience quiet throughout before bursting into cheers and applause. The fur coat now came off (it really wasn’t fur coat weather in The Ruby Lounge!) and the guitars came out to blast into the opening riff of Fever to get the room dancing.
In the age of generic, manufactured pop puppets it’s refreshing to see a front-women strutting her stuff with unique style and boundless energy, completely captivating and mesmerising the audience with her facial expressions, and descriptive arms adding an extra dimension to the songs. The blues rock ride of Too Young is quickly followed by new single Off & On which provides the first sing-a-long of the night before descending into a riot of a riff that slays The Ruby Lounge into submission.
Findlay don’t employ a bass player on stage, which is certainly unusual but not something you notice with the two guitarists and drummer providing the perfect noise that backs the voice. Gin On The Jukebox is a great example of this with its garage rock and raw blues riffs complemented by some glass side work and interspersed with moments of subtle melody and groove providing the soundtrack for Natalie to work her magic over.
Infinite provided a brief interlude from the frantic pace which saw the drummer take up a glockenspiel, acoustic replace electric on the guitar and a smokey, sultry vocal. Normal service was resumed with the unmistakable souped up glam rock riff of Your Sister sending the throngs into overdrive before Had To Try It Once brought the set to a close leaving the masses begging for more. A blistering 40 minutes of raw rock and roll from a band and a girl you will be hearing a lot more from this year. My one minor complaint, no You Gave Me Grace, which is one of my favourite tracks. Maybe next time!
**All pictures courtesy of Matt Johnson Photography
Off & On
Stoned And Alone
Gin On The Jukebox
Had To Try It Once