Live Review: Tim Barry, Sam Russo and Harry George Johns – Alter Ego, Manchester – 27/06/2013

It’s cold and wet outside; nothing too surprising if you live in Manchester. This gives people more reason to huddle inside. Some, who identify themselves as of the punk variety, decide to use this time to watch the finest folk-punk the world has to offer.

First up is the warming and melancholic fine-tunings of former Dinosaur Pile-Up bassist, Harry George Johns. This is Johns’ first solo performance for a Manchester crowd, and he pulls it off superbly. His soothing hurt-ridden voice and introspective tales strikes a watery match to the hearts and eyes of the audience. Harry George Johns has certainly caused the audience to flock to him and with good reason too. (3.5/5)

Continuing tonight’s consistency, Sam Russo is just as reflective but there’s a sense of enjoyment in his acoustic stride. His stories, vocals and phonic flow are an absolute delight to watch and hear. Occasional vocal participation from the crowd is grin inducing; sing alongs are the key to such tightly done performances. Russo is utterly charming, and by the time his set has finished, it’s a shame he couldn’t stick around for more. (3.5/5)

There’s a sudden energy to Tim Barry’s performance on stage tonight; a sense of spontaneity grips him and wins in the set’s favour. By the second song, Barry moves himself from the stage to the floor, testing the waters and grabbing a hold onto what emotion/mood his audience is in tonight. From then on, it’s all uphill from here – his southern folk twang is wonderful, his stage manner appealing, and you certainly feel as though this gentleman could be your new friend for life. Following no setlist allows Barry to be adaptable to the crowd, winning them over with surprises and heart-on-sleeve life experiences. By the end, one gets the gist that tonight was an enjoyable and momentous occasion in contrast to the grim weather outside. (4/5)

Words by Aaron Lohan (@ooran_loohan)

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