A few weeks ago saw the first of a new gig venture hit Manchester, The Company You Keep hosted by the ever so talented Luke Thomas! For a debut gig it had a pretty awesome lineup that’s for sure. As I took my seat for the start of the show I couldnt help feeling like I was just about to sit down for a school assembly.
Warming the compact crowd and standing in for Emilia Quinn who was sadly ill and therefore couldn’t make the show was Finola. Now on first listen I instantly thought I was listening to Lana Del Ray as she started the opening bars of first song Shotgun. The catchy track was enough to instantly draw me to this beauty and left me wanting to hear more. As the Leeds singer continued her set I started to get more of a feel of who this girl was – I had never heard before tonight. ‘Waterworks’ was the song that proved she was one to watch, the heartbreaking lyrics paired with the gorgeous harmony was definitely a track to look out for. Listening closely to the lyrics you can tell this song was written from the heart and past experience.
After a pretty amazing set from Finola and having gained a new fan, next up was another female to continue the girlpower evident in the room tonight, Jess Thristan. I had heard of Jess before mainly due to the co-writing she has done with a few of my favourite UK artists. The Yorkshire lass started the set with song Refund. The highlight came when she decided to strip it back and slow it down for an incredible version of ‘Jersey On The Wall’ originally sung by Tenille Townes. The beautiful version had the audience fixated on her stunning performance listening to each and every word of the song even making me tear up. Having never heard the song before, the lyrics really did strike a chord and me and a few others became a little emotional during the amazing portrayal of the song.
After Jess’ set out of nowhere I turned around and the place had packed out ready for our very own award winning country crooner Gary Quinn, he had a lot of HarleyQuinns in the audience tonight that was for sure. As expected Gary brought his A Game as he sang a collection of songs from his back catalogue just him and his guitar. Highlights were when he mixed a Chris Young classic Getting You Home with his song Body Language and obviously fan favourite that gets you toe tapping while singing along to “Make sure the door don’t hit you on your way out!”. This was probably the first time tonight the audience participation was evident with the singing along and seat dancing proving what a showman Gary really is.
Final act of the night and headlining ‘The Company You Keep’ was the immensely talented Yorkshire Lass who needs no introduction – Jade Helliwell. As the opening bars of ‘Boom Tick’ played out you could tell the girl came to put on one hell of a show. Now I have seen Jade perform soo many times just recently she is one of the most incredible singer songwriters on the UK country music scene right now therefore it’s no surprise everyone wants her but this performance was something else – certainly the best I have seen her. Her vocals were on point, the energy was so high and this girl definitely had one goal in mind – to put on a fantastic show and that she did. Mixing it up a little and treating the audience to a few covers she played a rendition of ‘Bless The Broken Road’ with a little help from Mr Quinn himself.
If you have ever been to Nashville you will know one of the musts is a visit to Whiskey Jam and here in Manchester you can get the feel of that by attending this awesome gig. Whether you like to see some of your favourite country artists or want to discover some new ones to add to your music collection this show is a must and with a sold out debut you better book tickets fast for the next one in November. Because its sure to be another sellout with the lineup announced! See ya there 😎
Review written by Katie Louise Ingram (twitter.com/xkatie19x)