Gig review: THE UNION – Manchester Academy 3, 8 November 2013

The Union - Manchester Academy 3, 8 November 2013

There was definitely no doubt who the crowd were here for tonight as the sea of Union T-shirts was clear to see, midway through their UK tour The Union are touring after the release of their DVD ‘Live in Guildford’ and before the release of a new Live album due out later in November.

Jim Adama -  Manchester Academy 3, 8 November 2013

Kicking the night off tonight was Jim Adama, Manchester based young blues man who produces a great raw blues guitar sound and dirty enough vocals to match his songs. He joked about the fact he was a bit scruffy as he had turned up late after finishing work but isn’t that what the blues is all about!

As for all support slots he played a shortish but powerful set and got a great buzz going with the crowd.  Well deserved and earned applause.  I think I will be trying to get hold of a copy of his EP ‘Worries, Guilt, Money, Music’ as soon as I can.

Tax The Heat - Manchester Academy 3, 8 November 2013

When the next band took to the stage, I was unsure what to expect, four smartly dressed guys but with a few hints giving away that there was more to them than that, Tax The Heat are a great 4-piece Bristol based bluesy/rock band, great riffs and tunes with hints of the 60′s rhythm and blues.

These guys certainly pull you around the music genres but with an overall style which is very likeable. Having released their debut EP earlier this year I feel  it is only a matter of time before we see them regular on the gig circuit.

The Union - Manchester Academy 3, 8 November 2013

The crowd had now swelled and as The Union came out the applause and cheering rained out.  Messrs Morley, Childs, Shoulder and McCluskey took their positions and bang straight into ‘Step Up To The Plate’. From that point on it was a performance any crowd would want to be part of.

The band was on top form with solos being shared between Luke (Morley) and Pete (Shoulder) and although main vocals were by Pete the harmonies and backing from the rest of the guys was spot on.

The Union - Manchester Academy 3, 8 November 2013

‘Tonight I’m Alive’ saw the first of many appearances of the acoustic guitar for Pete; indeed he kept the guitar techs very busy as it was nearly every other song that he changed to yet another guitar.

Throughout the set, which covered all three of their albums the crowd were joining in with the vocals but when the first chorus of ‘Black Monday’ sounded the crowd joined it with pretty much the entire song.

The main set concluded with ‘Sirens Song’ and rapturous applause, but there was no way they were going to get away without an encore. First up was the slower ‘Lilies’ to let everyone chill down before the final track of the night ‘Watch The River Flow’.

I have only seen The Union once before over a year ago and was impressed then and tonight show has reinforced how great they sound and also surprisingly how many of their songs I actually know.

Step Up To The Plate,  You’re my Jesus, Tonight I’m Alive, Cut The Line, Easy Street, The World Is Yours, Obsession, Saviour,  Wreck My Scene, Holy Roller, Black Gold, Black Monday, Sirens Song.  Encore: Lilies, Watch The River Flow

Review and photos by Simon Dunkerley

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