Manchester’s musical heritage is intimidating to say the least, but on any given day in the Northern Quarter you can walk into any one of the many bars and restaurants and witness the determination and creativity of a community doggedly working hard to be the next band or artist to join this city’s distinctive fraternity. This evening in Jimmy’s, it’s Cassidy Stone’s opportunity to enter the fray and AMBY is here at their sold out launch event to see if they have what it takes.
The band is built around the assured vocals of local lad Timothy Gallagher, and he has recruited guitarist/keyboard player Chris Liggett along with drummer Will Raybould to refine a sound and a musical philosophy that Gallagher first presented to the nation on UK talent shows The X Factor and The Voice, before being carefully distilled through life-changing visits to Nashville, Tennessee in 2016.
The set is a mix of original material and characterful covers and opening track Rush exhibits the significant pop and R & B influences which the band are clearly inspired by. It is second track Figure it Out though that marks out the trio as one to watch. Their debut release is clearly born from the architectural blueprints of songs by many of Tim Gallagher’s heroes, but his confidence in the track’s ability to entertain allows him to successfully remove the shackles of these pop paradigms. Performed with a more immediate, live and electric sound than the single version this evening, the experience is enhanced further by the intimacy of the small basement bar, along with the loyal, partisan crowd. Blessed with an upbeat tempo, a catchy melody and soulful sing-a-long lyrics, the song has all the qualities of that elusive thing, the perfect pop song. Jennifer Hudson excitedly mused on The Voice in 2016 that “man, that boy can sing”, and on emotive tracks such as this, you certainly know where she’s coming from.
If this was a highlight, there is still much to commend this evening. Although the more soulful Lipstick is just a touch to saccharine, there is no denying the passion of the delivery but the best moments of the evening occur when the band take a creative step into left field, moving away from the recognisable conventions which their influences and inspirations naturally impress upon them. When this happens there is a spontaneity and intuitiveness about them which connects with the crowd and Tim’s passionate and impressive guitar solo towards the end of the evening demonstrates a more freestyling personality and represents a decisive moment when they are truly Cassidy Stone. If you love music and want to have a great evening listening to artists like Cassidy Stone, then Northern Quarter is an amazing place to be in. You can read about restaurant and bars in Manchester on savvyexpeditioner and get set to have a wonderful musical evening.
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Review by Iain Fox | @IainFoxPhoto