Live music review: Man & The Echo at Norwich Open

Man andThe Echo play Norwich Open

Man andThe Echo play Norwich Open - Credit: Archant

Every now and then a band comes along who you can't believe are bigger than they are.

And while you clearly wish them the success they deserve, a part of you is a little bit pleased because it feels like you've got them all to yourself.

For me in 2017, Man and The Echo are that band.

A couple of BBC6 Music plays and some clever marketing (their tour poster teased me with promises of Super Furry Animals influences) drew me to their self-titled debut album.

And what a corker it is, 11 short and sharp songs which draw upon numerous musical genres throughout.

On Tuesday evening the Warrington-based band made the long and lonely trek to Norwich to play in Norwich Open's club room, a perfect venue for a band striving to make their mark.

That the venue should have been much more than half full was clear to all those who witnessed the gig, but that didn't stop the band from delivering a wonderful high-energy 75-minute set in which not one song sounded like a time filler.

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With songs about work, money (and lack of), love, weddings and more Man and the Echo are quintessentially British, but by drawing upon so many different styles they don't feel predictable and unoriginal.

One minute they throw out a disco tune, the next some classic rock and roll and the next they'll go off on a completely alternative direction.

There's a risk they'd sound dull and unoriginal if the songs were no good, or played badly, but this is a band as tight as you've seen, with four members at the top of their game.

Of particular note is lead singer Gaz Roberts who has a strong and versatile voice and a self-deprecating wit of which many bigger Northern bands are renowned for. But in truth this is not a one-man band.

Highlights (and songs you really should check out) include Distance Runner, The Last Introvert, The Favourite Band of a Dead Man and a cover of Abba's Money, Money, Money, which makes up half of the two song encore.

Now go check them out yourself so next time they are in Norwich there's a few more of us present.

- Notable mentions to Norwich-based support bands The Islas, a Libertines-esque band who's sound belied the fact they've been going just six-months and all-girl four-piece Peach Club, full of high-energy attitude and angst.

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