Lior - Manchester Academy 3 - 11.2.07

"In Manchester it was so quiet I could hear them eating crisps. I'll be taking that home with me" mocked the self depreciating Israeli-Australian singer songwriter Lior.

Tonight it was a laid back hippy vibe with the small number of ex-pats sprawled across the floor of the Academy 3 supping beer throughout. It's far removed from the size of crowd he'll play back to in his home country where he'll headline alt-folk festivals on beaches to 10,000 people, something which will be a surprise to readers who thought that the aussie music scene is all about soapstars or hairy rockers ala Jet and Wolfmother. Lior is in fact just one of several folk singers in Australia, the main difference between Lior and the rest of them is that his independent album "Autumn Flow" has gone gold and his breakthrough single "This Old Love" is one of the most played songs on radio last year.

Over here on his debut UK tour things are just starting to pick up with Radio 2 playlisting the aforementioned "This Years Love". Relaxed and confident although suffering from a cold since he hit the UK last week he's backed by just an acoustic guitar and additional cello player. The sort of soothing music that Sunday nights in Manchester are made for he has much more in common with the more reflective moments of Jason Mraz rather than Jack Johnson and James Taylor, both of whom he is often compared to.

Shifting between the commercial structures of "Daniel" and "Gypsy Girl" through to the Jeff Buckley-isms of "Bedouin Song" , which could have been an offcut off Grace, and the more rocky "Stuck In A War" that sees Lior dropping the Acoustic in favour of an electric.

With Lior there's something special waiting to bubble over and in 12 months people will look back at this intimate gig and say I was one of the few that was there. There are few artists that can combine a very organic soul with a commercial sensibility and that's perhaps why he's likely to achieve commercial success and a credibility here in the UK as he has back home

Alex McCann
Photos: Kirsty Umback


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