REVIEW: The Manchester Collective – Heavy Metal at Future Yard

I didn’t know really what to expect from this performance.

The blurb promised “Big percussion, live electronics, and amplified strings. A distortion pedal called the Ibanez Tube Screamer makes an appearance. It’s not going to be a meditative listening experience. Sometimes, we all just need to scream into a pillow.”

Well, we certainly got what they promised.

Two violins, a viola, a cello and percussion never before made such swirling, occasionally unnerving, soundscapes. The imaginative, powerful show was an extraordinary experience and clearly very much enjoyed by the capacity crowd.

From the start, it was clear that this was going to be an intense rollercoaster-helter-skelter of a ride. And what a ride it was – a true journey through sound that lifted you up and then unceremoniously dropped you to a place you simply did not expect to be.

The skilful string quartet with percussive accompaniment along with electronic sounds and glitches gave a depth and breadth of music more than one would have thought – what was accomplished by a handful of musicians was a wall of sound that you would only really expect from a much larger ensemble.

But, we must not forget the composers as well for achieving such a vast sound from so few instruments. Each one of the composers eeked out more power, more gusto, more bravado than you could ever imagine. These were, each one of them, bold and expansive and impressive pieces that enthralled the audience on their journey through sound.

I said at the top of this review that I didn’t know what to expect – and I was right. If you have never witnessed The Manchester Collective before, expect to be pleasantly surprised. Expect to be shocked. Expect to be taken on a musical journey to far-off, weird and wonderful worlds.

Expect the unexpected.

Set List:
Bryce Dessner
Dobrinka Tabakova Insight
Ben Nobuto SERENITY 2.0
Michael Gordon Industry
Sebastian Gainsborough Squint

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