Saint Saviour has extraordinary vocals. "If she went on 'The X-Factor' she would probably piss it", I am sure most people are thinking at the Deaf Institute.

I’d heard one of Saint Saviour’s songs online a while back and enjoyed it, but live and backed by the Manchester Camerata Orchestra the solo-artist hailing from the North-East goes up a whole new level. Now and then she introduces the songs and how they came about, which is very fitting for the evening (the stage is sparse of design and it looks like it’s old primary school chairs they’re sitting on). One song is about moving to London and coming back again, another "just about nature." Saint Saviour deadpans the intros without pretence, like we’re having a coffee.

Standouts from the set are ‘James’, ‘Nobody Died’ and ‘I Remember’.

Saviour’s new album 'In the Seams' is well worth a purchase. The songs have depth and her vocals really are special. The album was recorded at Parr Street studios in Liverpool, and was produced and arranged by Bill Ryder-Jones, who is also the co-headline for this December tour.

The last time I saw the multi-hyphenate that is Bill Ryder-Jones he was playing a gig backed by the Camerata at Manchester Cathedral as part of the Manchester Lit. Fest. It provided a rare outing for his first album 'If…', which he played in its entirety. Hopefully this won't be a one off because more people deserve to hear it.

The Deaf Institute hosts the best set I’ve seen Bill Ryder-Jones play, by a mile. There is a lot more confidence on show, and you can’t help but think that touring with the Arctic Monkeys has to do wonders in that department.

The night’s highlight was 'By Morning I', a slow, quiet one number off Bill’s second album, last year's 'A Bad Wind Blows in My Heart', that stuns the audience into silence for a few seconds after stops playing. A huge round of applause follows.

New songs given a run out include ‘Seabirds’, ‘Catherine Huskisson’ and ‘Wild Roses’. 'Catherine Huskisson', my favourite of these, has more than a twinge of Lou Reed about and feels like a new direction for Bill Ryder-Jones.

'I just hope there isn’t too long a wait for Bill’s third album because Catherine' and 'Seabirds' have me very excited.

A thoroughly enjoyable night. It is great to see Saint Saviour live for the first time and see Bill Ryder-Jones debuting new tracks.

The only shame on a night like this is these acts aren’t filling bigger venues. Here’s to 2015.

Photos by Marie Hazelwood

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Commenting On: Bill Ryder-Jones/Saint Saviour - Deaf Institute, Manchester, 6/12/2014 - Bill Ryder-Jones

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