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4th December 2022

CMAT shines as future pop-star at Manchester’s Gorilla

CMAT charmed every audience member in Gorilla, with her playful but often heart-wrenching country infused pop
CMAT shines as future pop-star at Manchester’s Gorilla
Photo: CMAT – Maddy Oxley @ The Mancunion

Despite seeing several artists that I listen to a lot more in recent months, CMAT put on one of the best shows I’ve attended this year. In fact, CMAT has become a must-see on every tour from now on.

Support came from Aislinn Logan, who warmed the crowd up nicely with her subdued pop, accompanying this with some amusing anecdotes about the tracks in-between. Despite everywhere else in Manchester being packed with football fans for the England Vs. USA game, the intimate setting of Whitworth Street’s Gorilla felt like a world away. A world where the Guinness and Magners were flowing, and the crowd adorned themselves with glittery cowboy hats.

Before CMAT took to the stage, Celine Dion’s ‘It’s All Coming Back to Me Now’ blasted through the venue, and it seemed as if every person in there was singing along by the end. With the crowd more than sufficiently warmed up, CMAT and her band’s set began. The set opened with the brilliant ‘Nashville’, which is also the opening track of her debut album If My Wife New I’d Be Dead. CMAT skilfully blends the most heart-breaking lyrics into the most fun, country-tinged pop songs, which works exceptionally well.

I’ve only attended Gorilla for a gig once before, and the production was nowhere near as good as it was for CMAT’s gig. I’ve never been in a venue as small as Gorilla that also has a screen at the back of the stage for visuals. At times it felt as if we were actually at Manchester Arena, somewhere I can definitely envision CMAT playing in the future.

Photo: CMAT – Maddy Oxley @ The Mancunion

CMAT isn’t modest about her talent (and rightfully so!) throwing in playful quips about playing “the best song ever written” and that it was time for her “most underrated song.” There was a perfect amount of crowd interaction between tracks, and it’s always a nice touch when artists have something to say about the town that they’re playing in.

CMAT’s tale of Manchester touched on her time living here a few years ago, particularly the days she spent working on Market Street’s TK Maxx fitting rooms. She also discussed her worries that the Manchester crowd may not be the most welcoming, as she frequently experienced judgemental crowds when attending gigs here. The crowd were all too happy to dispel these anxieties though, with everyone singing and dancing along to every track. The crowd was undoubtedly one of the nicest I’ve been in, with some lovely people complimenting my cow-print eyeshadow and singing with me as I was on my own.

‘Peter Bogdanovich’, was a highlight of the night, a humorous song that anyone who’s ever crushed on a celebrity can undoubtedly relate to. CMAT commented on her popstar dreams, before playing ‘No More Virgos’ which was probably the most thrilling performance of the night. There’s definitely a spot for CMAT in the pop scene – I can’t think of another artist filling that necessary gap of relatable songs about Waitrose, and crying in KFC. CMAT played one unreleased track during the main set called ‘Mayday’ which was another highlight. Hopefully it will get an official release soon. The band were fantastic too, with the bass player also playing saxophone on a couple of tracks, and CMAT playfully singing and dancing with her band members throughout.

Photo: CMAT – Maddy Oxley @ The Mancunion


Photo: CMAT – Maddy Oxley @ The Mancunion

When the main set ended, I was convinced that there wouldn’t be an encore. Everyone else was waiting though, and I’m glad I did too. The two-song encore featured another unreleased track titled ‘Rent’, as well as the joyous ‘I Wanna Be A Cowboy, Baby!’ CMAT sang ‘Rent’ alone on stage with her guitar, and dedicated it to Mick Lynch, garnering huge cheers from the audience. After this track, CMAT’s band re-joined the stage and were introduced before launching into the final track of the set, where everyone was instructed to Irish two-step, which was enthusiastically followed for the whole song.

Maddy Oxley

Maddy Oxley

Criminology student and gig-goer, never left my emo phase. Contactable on twitter @maddy_oxley

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