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Hurts review and video

Mark Jorgensen feels young again at the Academy

Published on February 11th 2011.

Hurts review and video

According to Hurts frontman Theo Hutchcraft, this was a homecoming gig they’d been looking forward to.

Not as much as my +1 for the evening, Lucy Van, who came along to the Academy with me in an excitable state.

We arrived just in time to see the warm-up act, Claire McGuire, who’s thumping opening track promised much for the set, but actually offered little, relying instead on faux power ballads and seductive sauntering around the stage.

As Hurts, I noticed a father and son attending together, just to our right. I found it fascinating.

As a child, I think you grow up instinctively liking certain bands by virtue of your dad’s teachings, in my case Fleetwood Mac, Dire Straits, etc. But there was always a part of me which wanted to give him some of my own musical enlightenment.

Usually in this situation, I’d be siding with the Dad, determine not to like this modern guff. But I’d heard good things about Hurts – mostly from Lucy – and the son was clearly a huge fan too.

Hurts arrived on stage to a blinding laser show and screams from the audience; sitting in the gallery overlooki ng the crowd it was quite a spectacle. Five guys dressed sharply in 80s style suits, complete with slicked hair, lined up behind keyboards and various instruments.

I was getting inkling of the tone of the set. They played the first few tracks from the album ‘Happiness’, including Unspoken, Silver Lining and Wonderful life. The thing that stood out above anything else was Hutchcraft’s amazing voice.

The set was a collection of catchy synth-pop type ballads; lifted by Hutchcraft’s flawless voice and the accompanying lightshow. A great start.

Looking to my right, the son was delighted too, rapturously applauding while the dad looked on as though he was watching the snooker in front of the fire. I was feeling like the son, not the dad...not bad.

The next few tracks passed with equal aplomb, with brief interludes to express their delight at performing “about five minutes down the road from where they live” and throwing roses into the adoring Manchester crowd. Lucy and I agreed that we weren’t sure about the roses. “Its like Liberace meets Morrissey” was Lucy’s spot-on assessment.

I was still enjoying each song nevertheless, particularly the admirably dark cover of Kylie Minogue’s ‘Confide in Me’ (Lucy told me...) which was so much better than the original (Youtube, midnight). It would make a great Bond song actually, and could cause you to forget the original ever existed, like Amy Winehouse’s version of ‘Valerie’.

The set closed with the slower ‘Blood, Tears and Gold’ and the uplifting ‘Illuminated’ – a song given a decent leg up by a recent Sky HD advert - to an amazing response before being cheered on for an encore which was in my book, the best song of the night. Unfortunately neither me, Lucy nor Shazaam knew the name of this song so if any readers were there....

After not knowing what to expect from a band which seemed to fit into any discernible genre other than ‘current’, I was impressed by Hurts, who clearly revelled in playing before a home audience.

They are a deliciously styled band, using dramatic gestures and cultural nuances in equal measure. Live, they are polished. If they weren’t a band, they’d be a performance art outfit.

Personaly, I felt less of a music scrooge and more like the son dancing away to my right. As the lights went up, remembering the poster I’d seen in the bar, I said to Lucy: “When are The Curfew on then?”

“No Mark, that’s just the curfew for the end of the night, not a band you dick”. Ah, maybe I am the Dad after all.

P.s. I met Leeds United manager Simon Grayson at the bar afterwards. Lovely fella.

Mark J and Simon G

6 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

lucy vanFebruary 9th 2011.

I think the last song was 'Stay', definitely the best one of the night

NatdhFebruary 9th 2011.

The gig was fab last night.
The last song was Stay followed by the encore of Better than Love.
On your comments about dads, I took mine to their last gig at The Ritz in October and he loved it although I know what you mean about looking like watching the snooker in front of the fire, ha!
Glad you enjoyed, they are very underrated in my opinion and deserve so much more.

Caroline FaulknerFebruary 9th 2011.

I thought you must have got the last song wrong when you called "Illuminated" uplifting!

Like Hurts but Daggers were better, soz!

RubytuesdaygirlFebruary 10th 2011.

Fantastic gig, was worried it might be a bit cheesy but wasn't at all. Not sure about the female support act though... Good voice but 'yawn' songs. Hurts had the monopoly of good songs and great voice methinks.

lisa824February 10th 2011.

I thought the gig was amazing, they proved themselves to be a brilliant live band. Hope to see them again in the future.
Totally agree that the last two songs, Stay and Better than Lover were the brilliant, very uplifting.
Quite an under-rated band at the moment!
Claire Maguire had a very powerful voice and was good to see her due to the recent publicity around her being in the Radio 1 Acts to Watch list.

mancmusicFebruary 10th 2011.

great gig .see my recordings of it

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