Rob Paterson gives his verdict on TORRES’s recent Manchester gig
22nd September 2015
The Deaf Institute
Under her stage name TORRES, the haunting folk rocker Mackenzie Scott brought music that is in equal measures tranquil and intense to Manchester.
This dichotomy translated well in a live setting. Her signature fingerpicked guitars were accompanied by flowing harmonies, as well the occasional bluesy rock stomp. The overall atmosphere of the show was sincere and intimate. She is not simply a folk singer though; her performance had considerable bite to it. From frantically strumming her guitar on her knees whilst screaming, to staring down the audience while standing at the very edge of the stage, there were many intense moments that each had a magnetic pull.
Her ability to reinterpret songs from her debut album was also impressive. Opener ‘Mother Earth, Father God’ transformed from a bluesy number to a slower rendition, which crawled along with Homogenic-era Björk qualities to it.
However, TORRES’s show was not without fault. Rockier moments aside, her music falls somewhere between a heartfelt singer-songwriter, like her collaborator Sharon Van Etten, and a more ethereal artist. Live, she struggled in trying to satisfy both aspects simultaneously; the folkier melodies were buried beneath atmospheric smudge from synths and wailing guitars. As well as this, the set order was questionable. With a style that is so varied and a set of just 10 songs, why play four mid-tempo rock songs one after the other?
Overall, although this was far from a perfect show, TORRES’s passion was enough to make her performance enjoyable and engaging.