Erja Lyytinen at the Band On The Wall - Review
Although Erja Lyytinen is a frequent visitor to the UK she had never been to Manchester before (oh the shame) so there is a lot of excitement about tonight’s show.
The support ‘act’, Outsiders UK, were already onstage when I arrived delivering their American infused country rock (think Lynyrd Skynyrd meets The Eagles) but this performance is out of tune and out of time. Singer Adrian Melling, dressed in this black coat, Cossack hat and black feather boa is way out of sync with his vocal delivery, it isn’t their greatest day.
From straight blues to funky blues and classic blues rock, Erja Lyytinen delivers from the get go on every level. The set features several songs from the new album, the slow blues of Slowly Burning is not about smoking a cigarette, apparently, but still moves the audience and as it is sung with so much passion and soul we are able to share her pain – phenomenal stuff. Also from the new album is the title track Stolen Hearts with which she tried to get a sing-along going – the crowd may have been sparse but they were quality fans who were very vocal.
The set included some covers too, firstly paying homage with I’m A Woman at the Church of Koko Taylor whom Erja had the privilege of supporting 15 years ago in Helsinki; this includes a great call and return between Erja and her keyboard player. Another interesting cover was the Hendrix classic Crosstown Traffic and it blends perfectly into her set.
Rocking Chair, also from the new album, rocked the venue along and included a cracking accompanied drum solo and finally rounding off her set with a powerfully soulful cover of People Get Ready.
Erja Lyytinen’s guitar playing is impeccable and many times is reminiscent of Gary Moore. Overall this is a quality performance that is of the highest calibre, stunning.
Words: Di Tunney | Photos: Anthony Firmin