After two years of enjoyable exile in Calderdale, me and my girlfriend had come to our final weekend before a move back to Manchester. We wanted to do something special to mark it. The Golden Lion in Todmorden has provided us a fair few enjoyable nights, some very good beer, and quite possibly the best Thai food in Yorkshire. It’s also been host to artists like Massive Attack’s Daddy G while we’ve been living nearby. Somehow, though, we had yet to attend a gig there.
Then, in a moment of total luck, I saw that Logan & Manley would be hosting a celebration of their tour and EP Orpheus Vibrations at exactly the time we were looking to say goodbye to the valleys. Logan & Manley have been building a reputation for themselves in recent years. Supporting the likes of Dreadzone and picking up slots at major festivals, they are taking their reggae and soul tinged tunes to an increasingly wide audience. But last Friday at The Golden Lion made it obvious that they, unlike us, will not be leaving Calderdale behind any time soon. They clearly have an enthusiastic and loyal fanbase here in their home county, but they are just as loyal in return.
It was a joy to witness this sense of celebration in the room. The best thing about The Golden Lion is the diverse clientele, but despite their obvious differences, everyone in the room was behind the duo on the stage. And that is not a surprise. Terry Logan, the lead singer, is an absolutely captivating performer with a really stunning voice. Add to this the undoubted talent on the guitar of Chris Manley, and you can see why the same group of people flock to see them time and time again.
Logan & Manley have also, without knowing it, played a bit of a special role in making our time in Hebden Bridge so enjoyable. I try and connect to the local music scene wherever I go, and they have been the highlight of that adventure in the last couple of years.
This was my third time seeing them, and I was more than pleased to be treated to the highlights of the EP they released back in March. ‘Meteorite’ is their standout ballad, and perhaps their softest sentiment on record so far. ‘Keep On’ makes use of a pared back guitar line and drum machine allow Logan’s vocals to shine, building to a crescendo that always shines in a live setting. ‘Lead the Way’ is their most inspirational song, calling for revolution and encouraging the listeners to put themselves forward. It got one of the best reactions of the set and deservedly so. My own personal favourite, though, is ‘Heal’. This sums up everything that is exciting about the band, a great combination of vocal power and an impressive display of skill on the guitar. Add to these highlights the many covers that they pull off so well, and the moment towards the end when they were joined on stage by their friends, and it was clear that this celebration was a success.
All the signs are there that Logan & Manley will continue to grow and make it onto a bigger stage. There might be a time when venues like The Golden Lion will simply be too small for them. In a way, I hope that’s the case. Because the hard work, impressive showmanship and, more than anything, great tunes, do deserve a wider audience. And at least, when I’m struggling to get a ticket for their show somewhere, I’ll be able to say I was there in the years when they’re careers started to take off. Their show on Friday was certainly evidence that it should.
Words by Fran Slater