Just witnessed your
best live gig?.. send us a review!
Lowry, 1 December 2008
The opening night of Tina Dico's Almost Alone Again tour was a definite success
and a very different evening from her previous Manchester gig at the Academy in
Firstly, a word for the venue. The Lowry, in the heart of Salford Quays - if not
the best, must be one of the finest gigs for a singer songwriter in the North of
England (or anywhere for that matter).
Academy - no seats and a sticky floor - The Lowry provides plush seating,
wonderful acoustics and a welcoming atmosphere. And the staff couldn't have been
more accommodating when there was a mix up (again) over GRTR! guest list
arrangements - in complete contrast to 'jobsworth' at the Academy where there
was a similar debacle.
It would have been nice, however, to be warned in advance that glasses weren't
allowed in the auditorium when we'd just ordered two pints of ice cold Guinness
in the intermission.
On this short UK tour promoting her A Beginning, A Detour, An Open Ending 3 EP
collection (each individually released to coincide with a tour) Tina was
accompanied by her long time collaborator and producer Dennis Ahlgren and Helgi
Jonsson a classically trained Icelandic trombone player and singer songwriter
from Sigur Ros who she met in Canada earlier this year.
Whether Dennis suffers from stage nerves or has a particularly uncomfortable UTI
we will probably never know, but he spent much of the evening restlessly
fidgeting and exuding nervous energy while providing 'fills' on guitar, drum,
keys, maracas and gloc. At times his contribution served to distract rather than
complement and had he been from Madchester, some bright spark would no doubt
have nicknamed him 'Bez'.
Helgi, on the other hand, was given an almost co-starring role providing vocal
harmonies, keys and trombone. His involvement was far more than playing second
fiddle, showing real appreciation for Tina's songs by adding real depth, light
and shade. This was no more evident than on his haunting tombone accompaniment
to Sacre Coeur. The man was magnificent and he could only have been better if
he'd had longer arms.
Also, in contrast to the Academy gig, the audience were treated to a full 2 hour
set culled from Tina's back catalogue, but with each song given individualist
treatment rather than simply regurgitating the recorded version. Commendable,
and other artists should take note - if we wanted to listen to the CD we'd put
it on at home! Tina's vocals were, as ever, exemplary and the set was over far,
far too quickly.
It's difficult to know where to now for Tina Dico. A strategic review of
marketing/promotional activities/guest lists may be needed if the opportunity for wider
recognition is not to be missed. But in the meantime catch her if you can.
In summary, top marks for the venue, Tina and Helgi. And lets hope Dennis gets