Review: Spector @ Gorilla, Manchester

If all of Spector’s songs are, essentially, cries of existential angst from frontman Fred MacPherson, they are more fun than most.

On paper the lyrics may talk about All The Sad Young Men and the miseries of modern life, but the atmosphere at Gorilla could not have been more of a contrast.

From the set’s third song, Bad Boyfriend, where the crowd sang every word of the intro without need of accompaniment, it was clear they were intent on making the most of the band’s first trip to the city since the start of the year.

And after they played Twenty Nothing, and Fred sang that he is ‘coming back to the place he loves’, it was obvious the band were enjoying themselves as much as the crowd were.

Musically Spector are no longer as easy to pinpoint as they once were.

But, although they have moved away from the indie-pop of their first album, live they retain the energy of a guitar-band.

They may be more self-conscious about their status as an ‘indie band’ now, but they are still capable of sending an audience into limb-flinging frenzies when they want to – which was nearly constantly for a crowd as into the tunes as Manchester’s was.

When midway through their set Fred asked ‘Who’s ready to lose their shit and potentially never find it again?’ he didn’t even have to wait to get the response he wanted before launching into their first-album single Celestine.

The set was interspersed with these witticisms, often self-deprecating.

When the crowds gave a less enthusiastic response as he asked if they had heard of second-album song Believe he retorted, ‘Well at least two of you have’.

To the band’s cult fans, most in their late-teens, Fred is a frontman as enigmatic as Jarvis Cocker or Morrissey.

When he reached his hand out to the crowd, dozens reached back.

And, like all good frontmen, he exuded a mixture of confidence and fragility, while delivering his existential truths.

In Spector’s case these truths revolve around the failures of social media and ‘the good life’ to deliver happiness, and the realisation decadence can only go on for so long.

Perhaps these aren’t truths or observations capable of selling out a larger venue.

But at the end of the final song All The Sad Young Men, as the lights flashed and Fred was pulled out of the crowd by his guitarist, that didn’t matter to anybody in attendance.

Image courtesy of Rebecca Howard, with thanks. 

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