Live Review: ‘Magic in the Air’ Billie Butterfly charity show at Manchester Comedy Store – 28th November 2011
In these enlightened days, it seems like complete and utter nonsense that healthcare has, for some, become something financially out of reach. There is nothing more heart-wrenching that to hear about a child who is very ill and can’t get the treatment she needs because the treatment costs some astronomical amount. Billie Bainbridge is a 4-year old English girl. And she has a very rare type of brain tumour. The treatment options in the UK are limited for such a rare condition but the good news is that Billie has been accepted into a clinical trial in Texas (yes, that far away) and has already begun receiving experimental medication but as I mentioned before, medical treatment of this kind does not come cheap. So three great Manchester-based acts – Everything Everything (pictured above), I am Kloot and Badly Drawn Boy – performed free at a charity show directly benefitting the Billie Butterfly Fund, which has been raising money for this little girl’s treatment. (Even though they’ve reached their target of £200,000, they’re still collecting donations and whatever is left over after Billie’s treatment will go towards brain cancer research in the UK, so it’s you can still donate to this worthy cause.)
I am not an attention seeker. Far from it. (Seriously, just ask any of my good friends who live in DC.) But for the evening, I became the most talked-about person of the evening (after Billie, of course); all in good fun, comedian / local Key 103 radio personality Justin Moorhouse latched on to the fact that I was indeed American and yes, I was on holiday in Manchester, celebrating my birthday. (I’m not really clear on why the second part was so funny, but maybe you Brits can explain that one…does Manchester really have *that* bad of a reputation?) Besides me, also being mocked that evening were a joiner who was sat directly in front of me and a girl whose name I think was Chloe, who said she worked at the largest Boots in town. Anyway, just trying to set the stage…
TGTF favourites Everything Everything were up first. Having never seen them before, I didn’t know what to expect. I also wasn’t sure how their pop/rock/hip hop sound was going to translate in an acoustic setting. They started with ‘Photoshop Handsome’, which sounded amazing: without so many loud things going on like I’m sure they normally do during an Everything Everything show, this night their voices were centre stage, gorgeously harmonious with one another’s. Before they played ‘Leave the Engine Room’, bassist Jeremy Pritchard admitted, “we’ve never attempted this one before, in this context, so this is as exciting for us as it is for you.” Laughter. They weren’t sure whether it’d work or not? No worries: it did, beautifully. My favourite though (even without the trademark whistling) was their reworking of ‘Schoolin’, which you can watch below.
Despite the promise that there would be an interval after I am Kloot, people jumped up out of their seats while the stage was being set up for the second set. (Alcohol and swiftly smoked cigarettes, I guess.) Then I am Kloot’s John Bramwell came on stage, complaining to himself that he’d forgotten his beer crate, evidently his usual ‘chair’ during gigs. He instead used a short step directly in front Mister Joiner and myself and got situated to begin a solo performance of ‘No Fear of Falling’. Very nice indeed. The show then took a turn to a more intimate one, as Bramwell was telling us stories in between the songs like a folk minstrel, making me feel more at home surrounded by native Mancunians. Enjoy the band’s versions of ‘I Still Do’ and ‘Northern Skies’ below.
After the actual food and drink interval, it was time for Badly Drawn Boy. I’d been warned by friends that Damon Gough was notoriously bad tempered and drunk at gigs, and there was a bit of a hubbub about him requesting another Jack and Coke even though the one he had in his hand was still nearly full (figure that one out), but I guess playing a charity benefit for the little girl of a close mate softened the man. One thing that was slightly annoying: Gough had wires hooked up to his guitar so he could tape himself playing certain passages and then would play them back to himself, and when he did this, he seemed so impressed with himself. A little weird when a crowd is watching you do this? Dunno. Maybe I’m just being critical…
Most Americans know him as the guy behind the ‘About a Boy’ song, so I thought it was interesting that he would play a song from a forthcoming film that he was invited to write something for. Called ‘I Keep the Things You Throw Away’, Gough insisted that it was for a “Bob DeNiro” film. You can hear it here first before everyone else. Other highlights included a tender version of ‘Magic in the Air’, from where the charity night got its name and Gough seemed emotional talking about Billie’s predicament; ‘The Shining’, which the audience got after shouting it at him all night; and the ending song, which I thought was strangely appropriate: a cover of the Stone Roses’ ‘I Wanna Be Adored’. All in all, a really superb night of music for a community coming together to show their support for one of their own.
Everything Everything Set List:
Leave the Engine Room
MY KZ UR BF
Tin (the Manhole)
I Am Kloot Set List:
No Fear of Falling
I Still Do
To the Brink
Moon is a Blind Eye
I Am Kloot Photos: