Live Review: Isaac Gracie + Angus & Julia Stone – The Ritz, Manchester

As a rule of thumb; if one leaves a concert and spends the night replaying the songs one just heard over and over and um, maybe like, follows every member of the band they have just seen on Instagram – it would be fair to say that one has had a very enjoyable evening. Lo and behold, it could be said that every member of Isaac Gracie and Angus & Julia Stone’s Manchester audience this week had a jolly good time.

It can’t be easy being the warm up act for such a well-polished pack of performers as Angus & Julia Stone and their merry mob, yet Isaac Gracie did not let this show. Instead, the singer-songwriter utilised his half hour slot to exhibit his vast talent; his beautiful voice and his glistening future. Audience members were treated to fabulous renditions of All In My Mind and Silhouettes Of You to name just a couple of highlights.

Gracie’s effortless talent was well received by his Manchester audience – the almighty sound created by him and his two bandmates was something to behold, his voice, something to be noted. The talent explained that this tour has been the most intensely he has ever worked – to this I say get used to it boy, there’s a lot more of this coming your way.

Next up, as the main attraction of the night, Angus & Julia Stone did not disappoint. From impeccable vocals, to interesting and captivating musical arrangements – all one hundred and twenty minutes of the band’s performance were nothing short of impeccable. The brother and sister duo displayed their abundant talent with humility and finesse. The gig was honest and raw yet at the same time tight, and noticeably well-rehearsed.

Julia Stone explained that herself and her brother had been on the touring scene for over ten years and truly it showed; while they seemed in no way bored, they were incredibly prepared for the task in hand. The lighting and visuals to which they played only enhanced the impressiveness of the gig, the beauty of the show contributed to the all-round dream-fest that it was.

Stand out moments included an incredible version of Private Lawns – where Julia Stone stole the show with her impressive trumpet solo, only then to be outshone by her banjo playing bandmate whose impressive performance had the audience stamping their feet and the walls of the Ritz bouncing. At one-point Angus invited the audience to wave their phone torches “like fireflies” and sing along to the old classic Big Jet Plane – a cheesy, beautiful, connecting moment. Chateau, Sleep Alone and Nothing Else from the most recent album Snow were all absolutely fantastic, as was the band’s cover of Neil Young’s Harvest Moon in the encore.

The Manchester date was the final gig of this leg of Angus & Julia Stone’s UK and European tour, but catching them in the future is an absolute must. Both Isaac Gracie and the Stone siblings are blessed with immense talent; and to see two different performers at such different stages of their careers entertaining the Mancunian masses was a delicious treat, one to be looked back on fondly until the next time.

Jessica Newsome