Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit

David's Lyre w/ Mammal Club – Night and Day, Manchester 18/02/11

21 February 2011, 14:00 | Written by Matthew Britton

In order to make any kind of a living out of music, all bands have to have an audience. Or, if you’re being more cynical, a target demographic, something they can tap into and eek some money out of in order to carry on living whilst avoiding the real world. Opening act Coves and Caves seem to have found theirs, as the room is filled by people who’re apparently their friends and relatives, giving Manchester’s Night and Day cafe the odd feel of being closer to a working men’s club than a functioning venue, something made all the more bizarre by the act’s electro-pop. Energetic if a little lightweight, their fans don’t seem to mind, giving an ovation and the kind of awkward embrace that only a mother and 20-something son can enjoy.

The problem for main act David’s Lyre seems to be that they’ve not quite managed to capture a market, unlike their openers. Of course, their mothers probably love them dearly, but this is a band that need more than a few enthusiastic aunts to be going on with. It’s not just the fact that there’s clearly some kind of money behind them – an XX-lite light lurking in the background and a fully stocked merch stall a testament to that – but that these are the kind of tracks that demand a ravenous audience devour them.

Rather than packing out the venue, there’s a bizarre atmosphere as the crowd seemingly thins throughout the evening, main support Mammal Club playing their set to an enraptured group down at the front whilst the friends and family mill around the back, chatting incessantly. It’d take more than that to knock them off their stride, though, and their luminous, frantic pop stands out even above the nattering. Even if they never manage to fill an arena, you get the sense that the Geordies wouldn’t care a jot.

For David and his band though, there’s something that aches about seeing them play songs to a half empty room when they’re clearly meant to be for baying mobs. The song craft that has always been evident in the recorded material transfers into something mildly reminiscent of a bootlegged Jeff Buckley show when performed live – tender, enigmatic and fraught, though more a facsimile than the real thing, which seems to have worked well enough for Hurts.

Still, the performance sticks in the mind more because of context than anything of note, a show that will be faintly disbelieved a few years down the line. Whether David’s Lyre will have managed to capture the adoring masses that the band so desperately needs by then, though, is even more difficult to tell by the time they finish.

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