Live Review: Oh Wonder - Manchester Academy, Manchester 31/10/2017
We had the opportunity to attend the Manchester Academy date of the Oh Wonder tour this Halloween, who's latest instalment ‘Ultralife’, the bands second album, we haven't been able to stop listening to since it's release.
The only support act for the night was in the form of young Norwegian synth pop artist Sigrid, best known for her single ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’. Already as I walked through the doors of the venue it was almost at full capacity and for an artist who has just started out with only a handful of songs and no album as of yet, I was pleasantly surprised with the turn out before she had even began to sing. With a synth pop sound Sigrid definitely has a big future ahead of her in the pop world and this was a great opportunity for her to gain some extra fans and show what she was capable of. With her fantastic stage presence, she had everyone dancing and singing along from the first song ‘Go To War’, for somebody so young it seemed as though she had been around for a long time with the energy she had on stage. Asking her backing band apart from the keyboardist to leave the stage, she began her ‘Ballad’ song ‘Dynamite’. She truly shown her vast vocal range and what she was truly capable of going from your typical upbeat pop artist to a more diverse female vocalist who can perform more than just a catchy tune and this song shown her voice in the best light. Continuing with hit songs ‘Plot Twist’, ‘Fake Friends’ & ‘Don’t kill My Vibe’ Sigrid performed really well and did a great job at getting the crowd ready for Oh Wonder. Sigrid is back with her own headlining shows coming up in March 2018 and hopefully a full length album to go with it. I can’t wait to see her career develop as i can see she has a big future as a female artist ahead of her and im sure we will be getting more music to look forward to hearing in the near future.
Time for the headliners of the night Oh Wonder, an electronic pop duo who have a fantastic upbeat sound. With the room now totally packed out and the stage set the crowd were eager to see the British duo. Having an ‘O’ and a ‘W’ light setup as their backdrop the lighting looked amazing and was such a joy to watch especially during song ‘Lifetimes’ as it was simply incredible. Opening up with ‘Dazzle’, ‘Without You’ and ‘Lifetimes’ the duo started really strong and had the crowd singing along by the second song. After opening up Josephine Vander Gucht said it was nice to be back at home after not playing here for such a long time after a US stint. Before thanking the crowd for kicking off this UK/Europe tour with them tonight in Manchester.
Playing songs from both albums, the first being their self titled album and then recently released album ‘Ultralife’ I found the older songs which I hadn’t heard before still sounded familiar which shows how the band haven’t strayed too far away from their original sound, making them easy to listen to even without knowing the lyrics, which after just hearing the songs live once i could still pick up and sing along. The songs I did know such as ‘Heavy’ and ‘Lifetimes’ were made that much more compelling when witnessed live with the full stage performance and atmosphere.
Up next we had ‘High on Humans’ which was my personal favourite song of the night. The crowd was in full voice and with Anthony on keys and Josephine dancing around the stage you could see the band were having fun and enjoying themselves as they were performing. With the eurphoric synth backing track repeating “I’m getting high, getting high on humans” this song was really effective and powerful whilst being fun and a great sing along. Continuing with songs ‘Overgrown’, ‘All We Do’ and ‘Heart Strings’ the night was buzzing from the start and the crowd weren't letting up with the atmosphere with crowd participation during ‘Overgrown’, the crowd still went crazy when Josephine’ brother came on to play saxaphone during Heart Strings’. Closing the set with ‘Technicolour Beat’ which had another great lighting setup, the night was a great success and a joy to be a part of.
The duo came back out after the fans chanting “one more song’ for the encore with title track ‘Ultralife’ being the song of choice and arguably their biggest hit with the crowd as they were at their loudest of the entire evening. This being a halloween show, the duo decided to come out in fancy dress with Josaphine in a Superwomen costume and Anthony in a Superman costume, this was met by huge cheers and laughter from the crowd. Thanking everyone for coming out and also thanking Sigrid for her incredible performance the band closed with ‘Drive’ from their 2015 self titled album which had everyone singing one last time before leaving for the night.
Review by Joe Mellor