Gig Review by Jim Heru with Photography by Bianca Barrett
Warming up in the UK, Chelsea Wolfe added a few European shows around her performances at Roadburn, Hellfest, Dudefest, Smoke the Fuzz Festival, and Sideways Festival. Not one to complain about seeing Chelsea again, we went onto the 3rd show of the short tour in Manchester, which has the most about of homeless people in the space of 2 blocks I’ve ever seen… Very sad.
We didn’t catch the first band – King Woman, but did get into the fray (one hell of a packed room even early on!) during True Widow’s performance, which was pretty damn good! Their doom drenched post rock really caught my attention. The 3 person group consists of Dan Phillips, Nicole Estill and Timothy “Slim” Starks. A perfect way to get the crowd going and received a very good response along the way.
We hobbled through the crowd, edging through the deep sardine filled room, this crowd was set in their positions and wasn’t prepared to move for the one and only (my love) Chelsea.
One thing that did bother me was the merch table, unfortunately the exact same selection of goodies as when we saw Chelsea in Bristol in late 2015.
Albeit exactly the same I was merch’d up (super fan whoop!) and got into position for Chelsea. Coming on quite swiftly she got underway with… unfortunately the same set list we saw in Bristol… ‘Feral Love’ onto ‘Carrion Flowers’.
However as Chelsea can do no wrong, she was on form as expected, albeit the sound wasn’t, whether bad acoustics or bad positioning on my part, the quieter bits of Chelsea’s tracks was very muffled, but did get better later on thankfully.
One of the key points of the evening was Chelsea’s boost in confidence from previous performances, no longer sipping cheeky bottle of Jack after every song, she seemed to be more relaxed, even to talk to the crowd about Manchester being a good crowd to play for!
Let’s talk about the crowd, what a random assortment of faces and people, the front row and perhaps you could say second row, mainly taken up by a couple of grey warriors (60+) and amateur photographers. Looking around the room, I believe I was the only person singing along and due to this Chelsea made eye-contact with me on two separate occasions, (I’m such a nerd) That’s one more than last time (highlight of the evening) perhaps next time I’ll get three!
The hypnotic tones of Chelsea were as perfect and mastery as usual, the band being on form and even though at this point I knew it was coming, a perfect performance of ‘Pale on Pale’ and two songs which always make me cry (yes, I was on the verge of blubbering during these songs) ‘Simple Death’ and ‘After the Fall’.
All on all a very quick performance, Chelsea was as perfect as ever, always hitting her notes and just oh-so amazing, however a different set list and different merch would have been an improvement, and playing in Birmingham for once!