Turin Brakes will always be (for me) that band that showered me mystically with their music before I even knew their name. Many moons ago when I lived in London 'Mind Over Money' frequently wafted onto the XFM airwaves and repeatedly it happened that the DJ didn't announce the artist..the record would be followed by the news or a commercial break leaving me uninformed of who was responsible. So the song became that spine-tingling record by a nameless band. Bizarrely a friend was having the same experience and then, stranger still, a third friend of ours was raving long-distance to us about this new band she'd discovered called Turin Brakes that we had to hear. The penny didn't drop until we visited the third friend in Wales some weeks later and she played us 'Mind over Money'. We fell about laughing - the secret was out. This was the same record my other friend and I had fallen in love with through XFM.

I mention all this because having just seen TURIN BRAKES tonight, it's clear as day that the music IS the most important thing...the name is just a name. They've bypassed the need for "branding" - these guys are free spirits and they don't need to rely on announcements, press or hype. There they are on the Ruby Lounge stage devoid of video screens or props of any kind...it's all about the music and within five minutes in their company I feel very at home and happy to be here, as chuffed in fact as THEY seem to be to be there. It's always a pleasure to watch a band that clearly love what they’re doing, who let themselves get fully immersed and swept away by the avalanche of sound they build and descend, then climb up again.

The gig kicks off with '96', the first track on their outstanding new album 'Lost Property'" - it's immediate, the whole lounge has climbed on board and we're off. Gale Paridjanian greets us first and thanks us for coming. Current single 'Keep Me Around' uplifts and unfurls beautifully. The songs are note perfect, sounding almost exactly like the recorded versions but embossed with the spirit of being alive and almost tangible.

Olly Knights allows the songs to speak before he does a few tracks in. Before the fourth song he asks, "Does anyone remember 'The Optimist? It came out fifteen years ago" to which some guy towards the back near the sound-desk replies, "My Dad told me about it!" A rumble of mild laughter filters through the crowd and Ollie quips, "Security! Arrest that boy!" This bonhomie and banter between band and crowd carried on throughout the night between tracks but when the songs were happening, everyone was simply enthralled. 'Mind over Money' sounds every bit as good as it did all those years ago when it crept anonymously out of the London airwaves. It’s simply a timeless, placeless hymn to modern life and the search for self and meaning, and as I stare at the ceilings here in the venue tonight there’s an odd feeling of us all being in this together despite the alienating way human kind has largely chosen to live. Music knits us back together and bands like Turin Brakes (I’m not sure there ARE any other bands like Turin Brakes) and music of this nature has the power to help us recognize that, though the void is there, we do have each other, we do have the music, we do have the ability to heal and help one another. This band have a song called 'Painkiller' which they play later in the set, and, corny though it sounds, this kind of experience does numb the pain. It washes over us like a soothing, warming sonic blanket, seeping into each crevice, simply making us feel better.

So moved is one woman towards the front of the venue after 'Fishing for a Dream' that she cries out several times “I love that! I just loved that!” The band seem visibly touched and she’s not the only one. I think she’s articulated in simple words exactly how so many feel about these songs. We love them. They’re like pieces of treasure; they light up in the palm of our hands and hearts. Before the last track Olly tells us that after this they will leave the stage and “go stand in the crap little corridor at the side – no disrespect to the venue. It’s a lovely venue but it’s just this little corridor, and we’ll go and stand there for five minutes and stare at each other in silence, and then if you want us to, we’ll come back on and do some other songs – then go back and stand in the corridor and then maybe come back again. We’ve been doing this for years. You know the score. It’s just for theatrical effect.” I’m quite tickled by his speech and would dearly have loved to have stayed for those encores but after the amazing, psychedelic 'Black Rabbit' (closing song on new album) I had to edge my way through the happy crowd to begin a convoluted journey home.

I’m sorry I didn’t hear the encores and it pained me to pull myself away, but having had such a beautiful dosage of musical medicine throughout the set I’m not complaining and next time I catch this band I will make sure no matter how long they stand in the corridor eyeballing each other I will be there to greet and cheer them when/if they get back onstage. Thank you Turin Brakes for the last fifteen years and hopefully the next.











Related Links:

http://turinbrakes.com
https://twitter.com/turinbrakes
https://www.facebook.com/turinbrakes/


Commenting On: Ruby Lounge, Manchester, 10/3/2016 - Turin Brakes








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