A Live Experience with MANOR, Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird and JP Klipsringer at Shebeen, 5th May 2016

jamesMANOR are no over-nighters to the Australian music scene, they are the slow burners of the shoegaze dwelling Melbourne bands. First gaining the attention of fellow tastemakers, Indie Shuffle back in mid-2012 with their debut “Rhodesian”. A blustering dreamy cut that sits alongside Beach House and Warpaint.  Tonight they drift back to the live circuit with support from the very able Cousin Tony’s Brand New Fire Bird and JP Kilpsringer.

Heading back to the basement band room of Shebeen on a warm autumn evening, hustling through an already bustling audience, no doubt created by the talented singer/songwriter JP Klipsringer, who according to Cousin Tony’s BNF, nailed his set.

MANOR were clever to ask CTBNF to appear on tonight’s bill both for their momentary musical suitability but equally a sure way to bring together a nice respectful crowd, for the buzz about Firebird continues to steadily grow, thanks to their highly acclaimed single “Melbourne Bitter”.  We last saw CTBNF play their residency at The Evelyn Hotel, a night that confirmed that they were indeed the band to watch in 2016.  Tonight however, the energy of their previous show by comparison seemed to lack but no denying the bands ability to write infectious songs.

Perhaps we can bring it down to the band just feeling far more relaxed with the spotlight off them in support slot,  the banter was relaxed and the mood was carefree.

Eurika, such a beautifully written song, delivered perfectly by Lachlan Rose, his voice like warm honey and his energy warm when he sings. Kieran Christopherson’s harmonies and drifting guitar licks never fail to build the atmosphere of most of the songs, drawing a fine line between playing lead and creating subtle atmospheric soundscapes. The band showcase a new song tonight and a sneak peek into stronger, more mature songwriting, that will keep edging them into the commercial lime light.

MANOR haven’t played live for some time and as they play through their eclectic, dreamy electro set, we learn that they do things slowly, both musically and in production, according to lead singer Caitlin Duff.  The first reassuring moment comes with the use of visuals in the background to help create atmosphere, something that few bands and when they do, which often baffles us. Whether the visuals actually had any significance or meaning, it is hard to tell, they were an odd choice, but allowed us to focus on something other than 4 people on stage.

Generally a duo of vocalist Caitlin Duff and multi-instrumentalist Nathaniel Morse, tonight they play as a four piece (bass and drums) and this helps take the live experience to a whole new level.  Their drummer was exceptional, often being the star attraction of many of the songs.  By no means to say that Morse isn’t an equally talented musician, some of his guitar solo’s were outstanding and the sound scapes created, soaring, helped by a very cool looking Rickenbacker.

“Can You Hear Me Talking At You”, taken from the EP, is a sure hit for the band, reminiscent of some lesser known US bands like Memoryhouse, Keep Shelly in Athens and Millionyoung with its shuffling drums and great vocals by Duff, it translates perfect live and Morse’s delicate guitar licks are seamlessly timed.  “They’ve Come Into My Home” would have Goldfrapp wishing they could make this one theirs, with Duff’s vocal sounding ethereal and erogenous, Morse’s guitar cutting through with an almost arrogance that would provoke even the most modest groove from the now packed audience.

The band close out their brief set with a track that shows a darker and more rock side, evoking slight nods to Foals with its repetitive rhythm and distorted guitar soundscapes. MANOR offer something fresh and unique to thriving and populate Melbourne indie band scene, they are on a good thing, but we fear if they don’t pick up on the pace of may get washed up in the noise pollution, who knows, perhaps they don’t give a damn anyhow.