Badly Drawn Boy, Travelling Band and guests, Union Chapel, London

4.00

“Hey, I can do this after all,” says a grinning Damon Gough – more popularly known as Badly Drawn Boy – as he basks in the applause of an appreciative Union Chapel crowd towards the end of this feelgood-fuelled charity gig. “F*ck LA.” There’s a roar of laughter from the pews. The evening is a validation for Gough, who had a much-publicised meltdown at the Troubadour Club in Los Angeles last December, threatening to fight an unruly crowd and then publicly quitting the music business (“I’m never playing live again - this has been a disaster,” he said).

He’s been lured out of retirement to help launch an album for Manchester Aid To Kosovo, an organisation fostering links between the city and war-torn country since a group of refugees arrived shell-shocked in the North West a decade ago. “I’ve got nothing to promote at the moment, but I believe in this cause,” says Gough. Everyone present is glad he does: the gig will show that there’s still life left in one of the UK’s best-loved songwriters – as well as showcasing some of Manchester most promising new talent.

Among the highlights are the sixties-tinged surf rock of Jim Noir, and Josephine Oniyama’s powerful acoustic set, but among tonight’s nine acts, three really shine out. Gideon Conn is a pianist-guitarist-singer-songwriter-comedian with talent coming out of every pore. Bearing a striking resemblance to gawky teenager Will from The Inbetweeners, he can crack up a room with a sideways glance, and his sweet, storytelling pop somehow manages to be simultaneously hilarious and heartwarming, especially on single Londonderry.

The Travelling Band, meanwhile, are surely on the verge of big things. Winners of the hotly-contested Glastonbury New Talent competition back in 2007, the Mancunian five-piece have spend the subsequent years honing a startlingly tight live set. Benefitting from not one but two truly excellent frontmen – Jo Dudderidge and Adam Gorman – they produce a lush, Americana-tinged sound, drenched in harmony and more than a match for much-lauded outfits like Fleet Foxes and Midlake who do a broadly similar thing. Gorman leads them soulfully through Lanes Of Names – you can see why they’re named after a Creedence Clearwater Revival track – before the entire chapel is hushed for Sundial. “Back in the day, people didn’t have amplifiers, so we’re going to do this one properly acoustically,” says Dudderidge. Their four-part harmonies, accompanied by a simple acoustic guitar line, leave the congregation awed.

The night, however, belongs to Badly Drawn Boy. He’s only got 20 minutes on stage, so he jokingly churns out the first few bars off all his main hits in order to cram everything in, before starting properly with a delicate cover of Richie Havens’ I Can’t Make It Any More.

Is There Nothing We Could Do? and Journey From A To B come next, followed by a haunting acoustic version of the Stone Roses classic I Wanna Be Adored. Things really go into orbit, however, as The Travelling Band join Gough on stage for the final two numbers. “It’s a bit like being trapped in an episode of Scooby Doo,” jokes Gough as the hairy mob surround him. “Although we’ve got three Shaggies, one Fred and no Velma.” After a rattlingly good take of Once Around The Block, the evening concludes with a mass stage invasion and singalong to Pissing In The Wind. The crowd get up on their feet for endless choruses of “give me something/ I’ll take nothing,” an apt sentiment for the evening. Whatever his recent difficulties, it’s a triumphant return to the live arena for Gough, who hopefully will now rethink any thoughts of slippers or pensions for a good while yet.

Find out more about MaK and the Ten album here

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Summer nights: ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’
TVBut what do we Brits really know about them?
Arts and Entertainment
Dr Michael Mosley is a game presenter

TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

    Orthorexia nervosa

    How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
    Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

    Lady Chatterley’s Lover

    Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

    Set a pest to catch a pest

    Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
    Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

    The dark side of Mexico

    A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

    Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

    Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border