Review: The Pierces @ Manchester Academy 2 – 9/10/2011

By Liam Barnes

Four months after storming The Ruby Lounge, Alabama-born sisters Catherine and Alison returned to Manchester for another performance sure to increase their fast-growing reputation.

In the meantime they’ve fitted in appearances at a raft of festivals, including Glastonbury, V and Secret Garden Party, as well as supporting Coldplay at the iTunes festival and performing for Radio 2’ Hyde Park concert last month.

With a set list largely drawn from the hit album ‘You and I’, the gig showcased the enthralling talents of an act finally getting the praise for their music they deserve.

Kicking off with upcoming single ‘Kissing You Goodbye’ worked the crowd up brilliantly, and the pace and power was maintained with the guitar-driven power of ‘Love You More’ and the anthemic Alison-led ballad ‘It Will Not Be Forgotten’

Alongside the festival touring, another product of their busy summer was new track ‘Piece of You’, a treat lapped up by an audience beginning to get a bit raucous, an energy never bettered than during the stomping rendition of ‘Sticks and Stones’.

With a tight backing band the perfect platform, the sisters were at ease with the crowd, full of self-deprecating wit and charm, and the mutual affection was shown during the moving ‘We Are Stars’, dedicated to eight-year-old Mariella attending her first gig.

After that touching gesture, they ratcheted up the gears again, with ‘You’ll Be Mine’ and ‘Glorious’, the singles that helped to break ‘You and I’ on to Radio 2 and the path to stardom, getting the biggest cheers of the night.

Having pumped the crowd up, they then took an about-turn, launching into an a cappella version of Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Kathy’s Song’ that left much of the audience speechless, before signing off in style with a rousing run through of fans’ favourite ‘Boring’.

Able to both rock with menace and lay an audience low with mournful ballads underpinned by their signature harmonised vocals, the songs have that rare quality to make arenas feel like intimate settings one minute and stadia the next, a sign of consummate song-writing and musicianship.

Having been persuaded not to quit after years of struggling for success, the last 12 months has been a meteoric rise for The Pierces – and after this gig, many more Mancunians will wonder why it took so long to reward music of this quality.

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