Gig review: Cassia close UK tour at Manchester O2 Ritz

Cassia closed the UK leg of their tour on Friday (5 November) with a packed gig at Manchester’s O2 Ritz.

Described by BBC Introducing as one of the most exciting bands to come out of Manchester in years, the Macclesfield three-piece returned to the city with their style of upbeat ‘calypso’ pop.

The band toured in support of their recently released Magnifier EP and sold out dates across the country – including two at London’s Lafayette.

Their tropical vibes were just the right antidote for a cold November night as the ultra-receptive audience made the most of the Ritz’s trademark bouncy floor.

Walking out to the catchy vocal hook from Do Right – from their Powerlines EP – it was clear the band already had the crowd firmly in the palm of their hand.

Cassia gave a particularly captivating performance with a setlist full of fan favourites from across their discography.

It was obvious lead singer/guitarist Rob Ellis, bassist Lou Cotterill and drummer Jacob Leff were enjoying being back on stage after the pandemic put a stop to live gigs – a feeling that was clearly echoed by their adoring fans.

The band were backed by incredible lighting, with the boys often playing as silhouettes against a colourful backdrop and several tropical plants.

As the night wore on the sight of audience members on shoulders and the occasional pit was something to behold after so much time without the beauty of live music.

Cassia serenaded the crowd with Don’t Make a Scene, a performance which emanated an overwhelming sense of unity as the crowd sang along with its mega-catchy chorus and positive vibes.

Towards the end of the set, Rob and Lou took up positions either side of Jacob’s drumkit as they launched into an impressive and almost tribal drum interval to lead into Small Spaces – the opening track from their 2019 album Replica.

As Rob announced the end of the night, the band did not even bother taking a minute off stage before their encore but instead chose to give in to the crowd’s rapturous shouts for more by going straight in to their early hit, 100 Times Over.

This had the audience bouncing around throughout before the night ended with a thundering rendition of Gotta Get Through til Monday, closing the tour with a euphoric bang.

Speaking to MM, bassist Cotterill told us how awesome it was to close their UK tour in Manchester at a venue that holds a special place in the band’s hearts.

He said: “We headlined the Ritz three years ago and that turned out to be one of our most important shows to date, so to come back and do it all over again was mega.

“Having so many familiar faces in the audience really puts you at ease, so I would say that was the show I enjoyed the most over the tour.”

It has been a difficult 18 months for musicians and the industry wholesale as the pandemic made live music a distant memory, but things finally appear to be returning to some form of normalcy.

Cassia bassist Lou Cotterill (Image credit: Jake Melling)

This was the first headline show the band have played in Manchester since 2019.

Cotterill said: “It’s hard to tell which songs people dig the most without hearing them sing them back to you, so that felt super nice.

“Having released a large amount of music in the last two years we were buzzing to get that validation from the audience.

“Seeing people have a great time reassured us that generally most people are ready to go to gigs again and give the industry the support it needs.”

The band spent much of the pandemic holed up together in Berlin writing and recording two EPs and working on a new album.

Earlier this year BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac named the opening track of their Magnifier EP, Slow, the ‘Hottest Record in the World’.

Cassia head out on a European tour at the end of the month.

Tickets can be purchased on their website wearecassia.com

Main image credit: Jake Melling

Related Articles