Sam Smith WAW July 17

Sam Smith / Ben Corry / Andy Adams

Wine And Wallop, Manchester, UK

1st July 2017

Rating: 4/5




Sam Smith July 17 IntroThere’s a trend amongst a fair few artists to strip things down and get back to basics, since writing for The Punk Site I’ve encountered a number of artists better known for their plugged in performances, including TV Smith and Louise Distras, perform acoustic shows, and now it seems this that a number of Manchester artists are following this trend, whether it’s by choice or enforced by circumstances. Sam Smith has made the decision that this is the direction he will take from now on, whilst Ben Corry is performing an acoustic set as The Madding Crowd are on a hiatus from live performances whist they seek out a new drummer and Andy Adams has always followed this path, regardless of the reason this line up has been enough to ensure that tonight’s show at the Wine and Wallop is completely sold out.

Sam Smith Andy Adams July 17Salford City Radio‘s Stephen Doyle, host of the Punk Show and Sonic Diary, is DJ and MC for tonight’s show, he introduces Andy Adams who occupies the opening slot at tonight’s stripped down showcase, his delicate picked style is the polar opposite to recent gigs I’ve covered but he delivers a brief accomplished set that sets a mellow tone and his accomplished guitar style and dark lyrics are a welcome introduction to tonight’s line up. His introspective reworking of Joy Division‘s Disorder captures the spirit and paranoia of the original perfectly, despite lacking the volume, but for the most part he delivers his own material in a confident, unassuming and distinctly dark style that you can’t help but be slightly chilled, charmed and impressed by.
Sam Smith Ben Corry July 17

The informal style of tonight’s show blurs the line between artist and audience and there’s an interactive feel to the sets. Ben Corry is playing a solo set purely with acoustic guitar, his opener You Got It is a stripped down punk anthem and this is followed by Death Is Not An Option, that brings a dark melancholy feel that is reminiscent of some of Michale Graves finest solo work. Dom Corry, guitarist for The Madding Crowd, joins him mid way through the set to make this almost a full band show, with only the bass player, Claud Corry, missing from the current line up. Ben Corry is almost exclusively debuting new material tonight that will undoubtedly end up in a noisier incarnation with The Madding Crowd, and on the strength of tonight’s set the future looks bright for one of Manchester’s most idiosyncratic bands. 
Sam Smith July 17 1Sam Smith is delivering two sets tonight, he’s starts with a keyboard compositions and continues with the melancholy feel that has dominated tonight’s show before the acoustic guitar is brought out and we’re in for a run through of this unheralded Manchester songwriter’s career that encompasses his solo material, Sam Smith And Company and The Parish Church Fire. Amongst his self penned material there are covers thrown into the mix including a rousing rendition of The Clash‘s Safe European Home that has the entire venue acting as backing vocalists, add to this James, Motorhead, Radiohead. Bruce Springsteen and even Lionel Richie and you have a bewildering and varied array of influences.
Sam Smith July 17 2Sam Smith seems to have gained a new level of confidence since he made his decision to fly solo, tonight his vocals have never sounded finer, varying between a raw punk style and a blues howl and the mix of heartland rock and punk roots remains something to be treasured, and he is someone that deserves to be heard beyond the confines of Manchester. Acoustic music has received a bad press lately, mainly due to the lacklustre and unoriginal chart acts, but nights like tonight redress the balance. The emotive set by Sam Smith, the stunning set by Ben Corry, including one of the best new songs I’ve heard this year, and the impressive opening by Andy Adams have combined to produce a night that’s been as enjoyable as many of the more raucous nights I’ve attended.
Sam Smith July 17 CreditsSam Smith‘s Facebook page is here
You can order the Bad Water single from German Shepherd Records here
The Madding Crowd‘s Facebook page can be found here
The 78th Bridge On The Rochdale Canal EP can be purchased here
Andy Adams Facebook page is located here
Stephen Doyle‘s Sonic Diary and Punk Show’s can be heard via Mixcloud here
Live photography is by Dean Unsworth, his Instagram account is located here
You can click on any of Dean’s photos to view a slide show of the images