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Latest review, 18 February 2011!

Manchester Academy 3, 3 March 2008

Tina Dico

It's a sad indictment of today's music industry (and punters) that a singer songwriter as talented as Tina Dico can't sell out the Manchester Academy 3. Granted it was a cold, wet, miserable night in the North West, but there was a serious musical talent to be unearthed for those who ventured forth.

About 100 hardy souls, most of whom appeared to be converts or devotees, attended to witness a somewhat short set comprising of material mainly off her excellent 'In The Red' album which she wrestled back from Sony BMG when that label dropped her on their merger several years ago, and the terrific new album 'Count To Ten'.

With just Tina and her guitar, the strength of the songs stood out - the gaps left by the absence of a band adding just as much as they detracted. Certainly they let Tina's bittersweet vocals shine - revealing beauty, vulnerability and sadness.

Many of her songs appear to mask a troubled past - troubled as in relationships and her art. Six years after moving to London she may be more at ease with herself now, but there is still a strain of melancholy and yearning in much of her material.

Tina Dico

This short UK tour is guaranteed to gain her more admirers but it's difficult to put your finger on her target demographic. Quite how to tap into the Sheryl Crow audience, spoon-fed on the likes of Joni Mitchell and Tori Amos, is a conundrum. It seems unlikely a younger audience fed on a diet of Hot Chip would relate to her well-crafted tales of love, labours and intrigue.

If you get into Tina via her latest album, you should investigate the expanded version of 'In the Red' (with bonus CD) and here we had excellent stripped-down versions of 'Warm Sand', 'Room With A View' and 'Headshop'.

Tina thinks the production on 'In the Red' is glossier to satisfy major label taste and the new album 'Count To Ten' a little more raw and organic. Most would be hard pushed to spot the difference. Whatever, there are some great songs on the latest offering including the title track, 'You Know Better', 'On The Run' (which she described as her rockiest number) and the sublime 'Sacre Coeur', all performed here.

In finishing with 'Magic' - with its graphic sexual imagery - she demonstrated perfectly her directness and fragility.

Tina Dico

It's a tough world out there for the singer-songwriter. Breaking out of her home market (where she has had considerable success) will never be easy and one wonders in the present topsy-turvy musical climate what direction here career will take. Gigs in the States this spring will surely widen her influence and a support slot on a major artist tour wouldn't go amiss.

The major gripe about this gig (venue aside) was that at  around 60 minutes (including encores) it was just too short. That aside, it reaffirmed what a wonderful live performer Tina Dico is. Make sure you check out her out if, as hinted at post-gig, she returns for a further UK tour later this year.


Review by Pete Whalley & David Randall


Interview 24.01.08

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