Home town gigs always have a special feeling about them. It’s the town that plays setting to songs, influences stories, and the fans are those that can lay claim to knowing them first and proudly say “they’re from where I’m from y’know”. They’re an important fixture in an artists career that can act as a litmus test as to where you are and where you can go. That said, Phoebe Green and her band passed any kind of test with flying colours as they put on a homecoming performance to remember.
When I’ve had the opportunity to see bands on the rise perform in the past, its been at mid-sized venues, like Manchester Academy or Liverpool’s Art’s Club for example. Places that feel like the beginning of something for the artist. The bigger stage in a still smaller room allows the audience to receive an intimate performance while watching an artist come into their own. Night and Day has the essence of the step before the aforementioned venues. Yet, Friday night saw Phoebe and her band bring the energy of those larger venues. With the crowd packed narrowly between the bar and opposing wall and pressed right up to the foot of the stage, the excitement in the room was palpable.
As the band emerged to Nosebleed, the opening track from Green’s debut album, 02:00am, you could tell this truly meant something. After supporting Mac Demarco and Courteeners prior to the pandemic, a year off from live performance was remedied by supporting Black Honey over the past few months. This performance was a tight knit unit doing what they do best, yet you could see this meant more. It was smiles all round as the group launched into their opening track, Grit, the second track from Green’s 2020 EP, I Can’t Cry For You. Followed by the subsequent EP track Golden Girl. It was quickly apparent that the crowd were more than happy with their role as backing vocals as they joined in unison for every word of every line.
Between songs shouts more commonly found in large venue gigs of ‘I love you!’ erupted around the room as Phoebe introduced the next song: Easy Peeler. The 2019 single went down a storm as laughter broke through the vocals on stage as Phoebe and Bassist Nat Johnson shared a moment of seemingly disbelief. Dreaming Of marked the middle of the set and with no sign of slowing down, Phoebe and co marched on with another tight performance of a fan favourite to uproarious reception.
With arms high in the air and a crowd moving in unison, Reinvent was a stand out as the chorus rang out round the room, introduced with the signature string-bending twang from guitarist Charlie Marriott. A moment acknowledged throughout the audience as the time to go off. And that they did. When you see a band live, regardless of size, there’s a notable difference in the way a crowd sings from ‘I love this song’ to ‘this song means something to me’, and Friday night’s performance of Reinvent was without doubt the latter. IDK brought a brilliant night of live music to a close. A long applause and united cheer rung out as the band left the stage.
I was lucky enough to briefly chat with Phoebe and Nat following the performance. Stood behind her merch stand, Phoebe, still riding high from what had just been, was overwhelmingly kind. If she was unable to gauge how the gig had gone from the stage, everyone that came forward let her know. Beyond grateful for each person’s attendance and approaching giddy with excitement at a performance that exceeded expectations, she had every right to feel on top of the world. The smile never left her face as she told me how great it was to finally headline in Manchester again. I asked Nat about how it felt to be back and the joy he exuded was infectious. The laughter shared was indeed at the disbelief that this was happening; “There were grown men with there arms out singing the chorus of Reinvent! It’s mad, this is real you know?”
Aside from the stellar performance, what shone through the most was the pure unadulterated enjoyment of the group. There was an undeniable feeling of togetherness. This wasn’t simply an artist and her band, this was a group, doing what they do best, and doing it together. The track-list even supports this as other than Nosebleed, every track played has been made and recorded as a collective. An idea which will carry through to the recording of the highly anticipated 2nd Album. With hints and teasers on Phoebe’s social media, I can’t wait to see what comes next from this artist who only grows from strength to strength with each release. A must-see live if you get the chance.
You can catch Phoebe live at the following dates.
13th - Stag & Dagger Festival, Glasgow
14th - Stag & Dagger Festival, Edinburgh