By Terry Marland, Rock At Night Manchester
Live Review: K. Flay with Weathers – Canvas, Manchester – October 2, 2023
Manchester is notorious for being one of the UK’s wettest cities and tonight it lived up to its expectations and then some. The doors for the canvas venue opened at 7:00 p.m. and by that time there was along queue of expectant fans getting totally soaked as they waited to get into tonight’s sold out show. Undaunted by the elements the mood is generally good humoured in anticipation of what turned out to be a turbo charged gig.
A few minutes into their set Southern California’s Weathers charismatic front man Cameron Boyer asked the crowd “How Many of you actually know who the fuck we are?” It’s rhetorical question. The vast majority of ticket holders have turned up early to see Weathers. They have a confident swagger and don’t look or play or act like a support band. They are a super-tight outfit with the excellent Cameron Olsen on guitar and Brennen Bates on bass. They command the stage from start to finish with their own brand of pop infused melodic rock. Boyer is the centre of attention wearing in a Def Leppard T Shirt he pulls all the classic rock poses as he orchestrates the audience through the much streamed “I Take My Pills“ and gut wrenching “I’m Not OK”. With the crowd patently wanting more they conclude with a poppy “ C’Est la Vie”. It’s a powerful start to the evening.
K.Flay (AKA Katherine Meredith Flaherty)is touring in support of her recently released album Mono. The two times Grammy-nominated artist is in the UK to play one of only two dates the second one being at the Electric Brixton in London . The album was inspired by a bout of Labyrinthitis, resulting in her permanent loss of hearing in one ear, and has been met with widespread critical acclaim.
The first major cheer for K.Flay comes when her name replaces Weathers on the stage backdrop and its not long before the lights dim and the Brooding beat of “Are You Serious?” fills the venue. The song is an attention grabbing account of her hearing loss. It’s a captivating start that gives way to “Raw Raw” when the we see K Flay project her presence to full effect traversing the stage at some speed while interacting with the crowd and other band members.
She dons a guitar during the intro to “Weirdo” when she asks the crowd to show their hand if they consider themselves to be weird. Judging by the response that seems to be most of us. She then dedicates the song to “all you fucking weirdos” and has the audience singing along with her passionate delivery.
The pop infused “In America” is followed another song with a USA theme as the stage , that has been a rainbow of colours up until now, is bathed in red for the pensive “The President Has a Sex Tape”.
In between numbers she talks to the crowd about relationships, her gratitude for selling the venue out and how she came to get together with her new girlfriend who was the inspiration for “Shy”. She uses the intimacy of the venue to full effect and pitches the dialogue perfectly.
This is the first time I have seen K. Flay and labelling her as an “Alt Rapper” ( that’s how she was introduced to me ) is in many ways misleading as witnessed by her genre-hopping performance tonight. Yep, there’s rapping and pop aplenty but for me some of her strongest numbers are when she rocks out. “Irish Goodbye” with its powerful guitar work and frantic vocals is a set highlight as is “Blood in the Cut” At the other end of the scale the stripped down “Hustler,” with a single guitar, slows things down beautifully. It’s a pity some of the talkers in the crowd couldn’t quieten down for a few minutes and give the song the respect it deserved.
By the end of the show there was little doubt that K.Flay and her band had produced a turbo charged performance and sent the crowd home more than happy……….even if was still raining outside.
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