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A RICH RICE
:: Damien Rice ::
17 October 2003 / Academy 2 / Manchester
By Craig Mather

Many stereotypes are conjured up in peoples minds when the words singer and songwriter are spoken, some of which being, “they are all self indulgent”, or “there’s no power or balls to the music”, how very wrong these stereotypes are when talking about the Irish man taking to the stage tonight. Hopelessly beautiful, Damien’s songs are soaked in emotion, this proved by the stunning Volcano, which half way through Damien stops to cover Radiohead’s “Creep”, then returns for back to the original song. Moments such as “Women Like A Man” show that Damien can hold his own when it comes to breaking away from an acoustic sound so often thought of as a singer songwriter’s best friend as well, using the power of distortion in the vein of Jeff Buckley.

Modest yet charismatic, Damien jokes with crowd about the fact around only four people here tonight are from the University. There’s a diverse crowd with people from all over the northwest here, of all ages, just proving how far Damien’s appeal stretches. Lisa Hannigan is an extra ordinary vocalist that sings live with Damien, and her voice is the kind that could give even the most hardened and thick skinned person goosebumps. She sounds romantic, poetic, emotionally fragile, like she’s yearning. Complimented by swelling strings everything seems to click this evening. The crowd are effortlessly compelled, nothing else matters to them tonight. Raw as a wound, yet slight, Damien seems to feed off the crowd, smiling, obviously enjoying the experience as much as everyone else.

Damien has just signed to Vector Records and the manager of the company said ''I've worked with Dylan and Springsteen, and he's one of them. He's got the gift”. His gift seems to be honesty, and the kind that can be understood by everyone.

Damien’s award winning album is called “O”, the reason being that he feels like as humans, we often go round in circles - it’s obvious tonight Damien’s not alone in this thought tonight as people seem genuinely moved by what has just happened in front of their eyes. An emotional night that the people lucky enough to have had ticket will surely remember.


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