The Ritz, Manchester
I go back with these guys, and it’s fair to say they’ve played the long game. 12 years and 6 LPs in, they have never been short of good reviews and plaudits but it’s nice to see this is now also translating into radio airplay, record sales and bums on seats -thanks to the success of ‘Commontime’, their strongest LP to date. This is by far the biggest venue I’ve seen them play, and they make the best of the additional space on stage by adding a percussionist, string players and a horn section. The sound mix is excellent and the songs benefit from the additional instrumentation. FM are perfectly capable of rocking the house with a more minimal setup, but nevertheless it’s a joy to hear the songs in glorious Technicolor with gratuitous Sax and Violins.
The Brewis brothers keep the self-deprecating banter short in order to cram in a set largely drawn from the new LP but bringing in lots of choice cuts from their, already bulging, back catalogue such as Them that do Nothing, A House is not a Home, Measure, A New Town and debut single Shorter Shorter. As ever they alternate between drum stool and taking the lead vocal from the front, and while the musicianship and vocals from the whole band are mightily impressive (particularly new-ish touring member Liz) it never feels overly slick or flashy. There are several hairs-on-the-back-of-the-neck moments, particularly Trouble at the Lights with it’s almost King Crimson-esque finale bringing the house down, and tracks like It’s a Good Thing show they can groove like Talking Heads in their pomp.
Good crowd, a fairly even mix of gender for once and they also pay attention to the music – there is minimal chatter and lack of smartphones aloft which is appreciated.
It made me think..
Sometimes the good guys win. It’s a great band that can do 90 minutes and I can still think of some cracking tunes I’d have liked them to play. Field Music well deserve their success and looking forward to hearing many more from them later.