Review: Caravan Palace @ The Ritz, Manchester

The French electro-swing band surpassed the expectations of even long-term fans as their astounding live performance in Manchester made the Ritz swing.

The tangible buzz of anticipation in the audience dissipated as soon as the support act started blasting loud dubstep and house music through the venue.

The choice of support act felt inappropriate so early in the evening and jarred with the distinctly sober and confused swing-loving crowd.

Left impatient and unimpressed, the crowd were unprepared for the pure quality that Caravan Palace were about to bring.

The audience were submerged in the music and burst into life even before the intro to the first song had finished and Zoe had sung the first words of Comics.

As the next song rolled on, more and more instruments kept appearing as each band member showed off their raw musical talent by playing everything from clarinets, trombones, violins, and piano to electronics.

At least eleven different instruments added to the swinging symphony – even with the absence of bassist Charles.

They did not let this phase them though as they took on the bass lines as well as their own instruments.

Every song featured an impressive instrument solo accompanied dynamic swing dancing up on stage as band members embraced the rhythm.

Caravan Palace’s extraordinary breadth of genre fusion attracted an incredibly striking fan base.

Groups and couples of all ages gathered in the crowd and danced together without a second thought.

Up on the balcony a couple in their 70s sat soaking up the vibrant atmosphere as below groups of 18-year-olds danced alongside pensioners.

It was plain to see that their music had made an impression on all types of people as the eclectic mix in the crowd ranged from dreadlocks to circus themed dress-up as well as encompassing all ages.

Lead singer Zoe charmed the crowd with her French accent and her energy as she embodied the song Jolie Coquine.

The show featured all of the old favourites as they treated the audience to the classics as well as their new album.

The music genre sets them up with a tough live performance as so many instruments come together in each song.

In light of this, even big fans had good reason to have their reservations but in comparison the polished record held nothing to the live sound that they produced on Saturday night.

Every song was more animated as they played around with improvisations.

The band members themselves could but swing dance together on stage, filling the Ritz with their energy and charisma.

Their unassuming humility paired with confidence made for an excellent performance.

Intoxication at a gig as good as this one feels like a waste but there’s no doubt that by the end of the night every person in the Ritz was drunk on swing.

Image courtesy of Maito Prod, via YouTube, with thanks.

Related Articles