So, I’m sat in the pub just across the road from The Deaf Institute with two fellow music nerds and we’re discussing our fondest memories of seeing Brighton formed outfit Tall Ships over the years. This is because, in just a matter of minutes, we’ll be dodging a few cars to get to The Deaf Institute to catch the quartet play their first Manchester headline date in nearly three years!
The show is part of a full UK headline tour in support of their long awaited second album ‘Impressions‘. It’s been a tough few years for Tall Ships trying to get this album finished and released and to their dismay, the album has been pushed back from its original February release to the end of the month. So this tour was suppose to be the release tour, which I can only imagine is frustrating for the band. But, any signs of frustration don’t appear to be present tonight as they take to the stage to a nicely full Deaf Institute with smiles all round. I wasn’t sure what the turn out would be tonight considering the amount of time since the band last played here/last released anything, but I’m very pleased that the room is full as it goes to show that the love for this band is still very present and with a set like tonight’s, you can totally see why.
The band waste little time and blast through a stomping rendition of former single ‘Will To Life‘, which is a perfect opener with a driving chorus and a passionate vocal from frontman Ric who sounds note perfect this evening. For a band that are big on their soft to loud dynamics, it’s easy to forget that they have some proper foot stomping rock songs under their belts. Tracks ‘Meditations on Loss‘ and ‘Gallop‘ go a mile a minute, with the band throwing their luscious long locks around their instruments, engrossed in their compassionate brand of indie-rock.
I’ve been lucky enough to review the new record (Let’s whack a link to that here, eh? – Ed) and although it certainly takes a different tone to debut album ‘Everything Touching‘, it’s still another gut punching yet gorgeous set. The band don’t overdo it with new songs, but it’s great to hear the stunning dynamic build of ‘Home‘ and the full throttle pop of ‘Petrichor‘ blasted out here. Believe me when I say that this new record is a strong piece of work and I can’t wait to hear more of it live as tonight it sounds HUGE.
I know a few in my party were expecting to hear mostly new material, but to their delight we actually get a pretty even mix of songs from their glorious back catalogue. I’d forgot how powerful songs like ‘T=0‘ and ‘Ode To Ancestors‘ sound massive, with their ever building loops and driving rhythm sections. This band know how to tug at your heartstrings and they use this to their advantage tonight with a set full of huge sounding rock songs designed to give you that lump in the throat feeling.
Tall Ships have always been a well oiled machine but tonight I realized their potential to become a big deal. I really think that Impressions is a beautiful record and the songs do work really well with older material; tonight’s set is just super powerful and epic and beautiful. I admit, I’d lost my love in the band for a moment, I wasn’t sure where they were going, but I’m so glad I stuck it out and I’m so hopeful that their tides are going to turn this year!