Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Drawing on Emotions ; Reviews

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Drawing on Emotions ; Reviews

Article excerpt

BADLY Drawn Boy was about to start his third song when his hands started to shake, he struggled to speak and he started to cry.

His tears were completely unexpected as he had seemed in such a jovial mood at the start of the gig. He came on stage carrying a cardboard box and took out 24 candles which he placed on a table.

As Welcome To The Overground played in the background, he lit the candles, occasionally turning to the crowd and raising his arms.

Opening with two corkers from his debut LP The Hour of Bewilderbeast - The Shining and Everybody's Stalking - he seemed on good form. But as seasoned Badly watchers know, there is always a bit of tension surrounding his gigs, whether he is stopping and starting songs or giving the person in charge of sound a Paddington Bear stare.

I've never seen him cry, though. He explained it was his first gig in his hometown of Manchester for over two years and he'd been nervous as it reminded him of his first-ever gig at city pub The Britons Protection in 1997. He also said he'd been beating himself up over his songs. The 24 candles were for friends who have died - including Tony Wilson, Rob Gretton, Frank Sidebottom, Joe Strummer, Elliott Smith and Jon Brookes from The Charlatans.

There are shedloads of performers with acoustic guitars who wouldn't say boo to a goose as they peddle their insipid songs.

Badly has lasted longer than them partly because of his passion, honesty and desire for perfection. Not for the first time at a Badly gig, the crowd had to gee him up - but he was soon back to his bolshy self. While his behaviour sometimes makes the gigs memorable, it rarely overshadows his playing, his songs and particularly his wonderfully warm, slightly husky voice - the calm amid the storm.

Dave Griffiths Steve Hughes, The Lowry WITH his long hair, leather jacket, two beers and constant swearing, Aussie comic Steve Hughes may seem an unlikely modern-day prophet. …

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