Review – Caitlin Rose At Manchester Academy 3

Just to clarify this is indeed a review of Caitlin Rose’s recent performance in Manchester – however it must begin with a brief mention for the night’s support Nathaniel Rateliff. There are few things as powerful as a wondrous voice and an acoustic guitar and here is a man with a phenomenal level of natural talent to perform with a captivating intensity that keeps an entire room of people hushed in silence. His, all too brief, set threatened to steal the show before it had even begun but Caitlin Rose just about managed to wrangle back the ‘show stopper’ tagline.

Caitlin Rose’s relentless pursuit to win the hearts and minds of the British, and European, audience has seen her perform on this side of the Atlantic Ocean on more occasions than she could probably remember but for that we must remain grateful.

Rose’s vocal combines a wide range of emotions as she sings of love, loss and all in between. There’s an underlying delicacy that makes you wonder whether she wants to simply burst into fits of laughter or tears and this is compelling to watch. Performing tracks like ‘Coming Up’ with it’s chugging rock n’ roll vibe and ‘T Shirt’ – with only a tamborine as an accompaniment – shows an ability to change the mood of the show in the blink of an eye. Despite the confident vocals there remains a slight tinge of awkwardness when her hands are freed of a guitar and while it’s endearing you can’t help but want to see a bit more self expression aside from the music she so fantastically plays.

There’s humour within the band’s performance despite the often reflective lyrical content. The conversation in between songs swung between tales of failing to learn to ride a horse – before breaking out into album opener ‘Learnin’ to Ride’ – and jokes about French men in flip flops and Camaro’s. It’s obvious that despite the arduous nature of touring the globe, living out of a suitcase, Caitlin and the band are still having a hell of a lot of fun and this totally stems through to the audience. The constant jibes and wildly eccentric dancing of a slightly worse for wear woman in the front row threatened to see Caitlin burst into laughter mid song but thankfully for the music it was kept to a slightly embarrassed grin!

Caitlin Rose’s music truly comes to life when witnessed live. The sound becomes fuller and yet more powerful so much so that when listening back to her album and EP’s it just doesn’t quite feel the same. This is not an underhanded criticism of the music she has released, more an expression that in the live arena Rose is capable of coming to life in a manner that few seem to have the talent to pull off. This is why us Brit’s should be extremely thankful that Caitlin Rose seems intent on making the UK a home away from home as she will be returning multiple times before the year is out. I for one will be there when she does come back and I think you should too.