Manu Delago Handmade at Kings Place
Kings Place Hall Two was the perfect intimate venue for this 90-minute concert of music from Manu Delago Handmade. A supportive and enthusiastic audience almost filled the small performance room, faced with a stage filled with a vast array of instruments. Along with the traditional line-up of drums, bass and piano, the band also brought an array of electronics to the plate, including several synthesizers and electronic drum pads. Manu Delago himself also demonstrated his clear virtuosic skill on the hang drums.
The performance was delicate and sophisticated, moving with ease between heavily rhythmic and free-flowing lighter sections. There is a clear contemporary classical influence, shown through the use of extended string techniques and a vast array of rhythmic shifting throughout the set. The band’s sound is mature and well balanced, they have a real understanding of orchestration, moulding and continually changing the texture to create a different sound world with each piece.
Most of the material tonight comprised of premieres from the new album, due for release in the spring. This new material explores a vast array of sounds, ranging from sweet and delicate vocal lines with simple hang drum accompaniment, all the way through to chunky, electronic beats. The rhythmic complexity of this band is outstanding, and they performed these diverse rhythms with ease.
With a relaxed performance attitude, the band really put on a great show tonight. Each of the four performers took on several instruments, displaying the great musical diversity of every member of the ensemble. With comedic moments scattered throughout the music (including a piece specifically written for the metronome), the audience were visibly relaxed. The use of lighting in the performance was amazing, at one point with individuals spotlighted only when playing, in several colours. This built to a frenzied array of flashing lights with amazingly complex music to match.
After that truly amazing performance, I would urge everyone to check this band out. Manu Delago Handmade are a definite must-see. I would particularly recommend them to anyone with a fondness of progressive rock, or anyone looking for music with a little bit more of an edge with regards to complexity. One moment you are focusing hard on the intricacy, the next you are getting lost in the driving sound and rhythms.
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