LIVE: The Weather Station – Gorilla, Manchester

Blame Lloyd Cole. It’s exposure to his songs in my formative years that now make my brain constantly look to attach comparisons to everyone and every thing. So: when Weather Station frontwoman Tamara Lindeman takes the stage at Gorilla to rapturous applause, the first thing I think is: she’s wearing a shirt and tie, that’s a bit Patti Smith. She’s joined by a four-piece band and they tear through three tracks from the 2021 album, Ignorance – ‘Wear’, ‘Loss’, and ‘Separated’. I stand there thinking – does Lindeman’s vocal style sound more like Hannah Reid (London Grammar) or Catrin Vincent (Another Sky)? – only for ‘Separated’ to make me think, no actually she’s a bit more Kate Bush. Then we are treated to truly rousing versions of ‘You and I (On the Other Side of the World)’ from 2017’s s/t album and ‘Way It Is, Way It Could Be’ from 2015’s Loyalty, and I waver some – is she more Joni? More Mago Timmins? This is more or less the point I give myself a talking to: Tamara Lindeman is her own animal.

Lindeman has a quiet, humble way about her between songs, thanking those people who are wearing masks, apologising for the long-delayed shows, expressing appreciation for people actually digging her songs (for the longest time, she’d thought she’d never get any kind of recognition at all). And the band, including Ben Whiteley on bass, Will Kidman on electric guitar and keys, and Evan Cartwright on drums, are tremendous – a supremely tight, high-functioning organic unit, each of whom quietly contribute important nuances to the whole. By the time we get ‘Tried to Tell You’ (from Ignorance once more), the band have hit their strides – you can see them smiling at each other as they play, knowing they are turning in a great performance and knowing the audience are getting an almighty kick out of things. (I stop being reminded of vocalists Lindeman may be a little like at times and start to think Jesus, this gig is as good as American Music Club at the Duchess of York in 1997, or the Blue Nile at the Manchester International Festival in 2008).

And still they build: we get a song from Lindeman’s recent piano driven album, How Is It That I Should Look At The Stars, and then we are treated to a trio of stormers: ‘Atlantic’, ‘Parking Lot’, and ‘Subdivisions’. But they save the absolute best for last: a version of ‘Thirty’ from 2017 that absolutely towers over the original. My god, I thought, Lindeman needs to ‘do a Taylor Swift’ and go back and record band versions of these songs. The live version of ‘Thirty’ is worth the price of admission alone. The fact that it arrives on the back of a dozen other beauties is just the proverbial cherry on the Bakewell tart. By the time they leave the stage, all I’m left with is the note I made in the notes on my phone: consider me blown away.

Words by Pete Wild

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