Skip to main content

19th May 2015

Live: Villagers

Villagers’s new music is stripped back and lyrically intimate

13th April



Following the release of Villagers’s new album, Darling Arithmetic, his return to live performances can only be described as triumphant.

The whole atmosphere felt chilled and at ease. With the performance taking place at the new theatre in the RNCM, the wonderful acoustics of the room provide the perfect complement to the music being played.

Their new music is stripped back and lyrically intimate. Although Darling Arithmetic is a breakup album, it touches upon frontman Conor O’Brien’s dealings with gay relationships and homophobia (‘Courage’ and ‘Little Bigot’), making the show feel, at times, cathartic. Lyrics such as “It took a little time to be me” on ‘Courage’ were able to give the new material a poignant edge. It felt almost uncomfortable to hear him sing something so personal to himself, but the honesty was both appreciated and rewarding! It was also wise to allow the rest of the band to leave at points during the show; it made sense for songs as intimate as those from Darling Arithmetic to be played solo.

Older material from Awayland and Becoming A Jackal was also revamped with new arrangements. It can be a difficult task to keep old material fresh, one that is easy to mess up, but Villagers achieved this with ease. The new versions managed to both stay true to the originals, whilst still being playful and inventive with the inclusion of horns and even a harp. It’s genuinely refreshing to be able to see such confidence in a performance.

Overall, Villagers were a success. If O’Brien can regularly pull off gigs as good as this one, then he has a long career ahead of him!

More Coverage

Fat White Family’s Lias Saoudi is circling around the Post-Punk cul-de-sac

Now that Fat White family have returned with ‘Forgiveness Is Yours’, lead-singer Lias Saoudi has a lot more to say about post-punk, lyricism, and being a Londoner

Peter Bibby – Drama King: A tragic and unpredictable opus

Infusing the classic songwriting of Dylan and Springsteen with Australian wit and dive bar narratives, Peter Bibby’s latest album constantly surprises

Tenacious D live in Manchester: The metal bring the fire

Jack Black’s rock-comedy project Tenacious D stopped off in Manchester on their ‘Spicy Meatball’ tour, performing to 20,000 fans at the AO Arena

Sour Grapes Records’ ‘Meltchester’: Mancunion music community at its finest

Manchester’s own Sour Grapes Records brings Meltchester to town again at Projekts Skatepark