Photo Credit: Laura Dean

Lucy Spraggan – Manchester Academy, Manchester (18th October 2018)

Whenever singer/songwriter Lucy Spraggan plays in Manchester, you know that you’re in for a special night, based on it being her favourite place in the world to play alone. Last Thursday night, she took her current tour to Manchester Academy surpassed all of our expectations. Forever keeping things interesting by switching between acoustic and full band shows, Lucy’s current tour sees her joined by a full band for the first time since her tour that took place shortly after the release of her latest album ‘I Hope You Don’t Me Writing’, which deservedly reached #12 in the Official Albums Chart.

As the lights went down in a rammed Manchester Academy and the chants of her name began, Lucy’s band walked onto the stage and began to play the instantaneously recognisable intro to ‘Paper Dreams’, before being joined by a guitar-less Lucy. Six years ago, when Lucy first appeared on ‘The X Factor’, it was an absolutely rarity to see her without her trusty guitar and as she danced around the stage wearing a huge smile upon her face, it was clear to see not just how far she’s come, but also the wealth of confidence that she’s gained since then.

Next up was the upbeat combo of ‘Lighthouse’ and ‘Modern Day Frankenstein’, before a selection of classics from her second (and major-label debut studio) album ‘Join The Club’; including the both heart-warming and breaking ‘Tea and Toast’, and the beautifully crafted ‘Mountains’, which soared even more than usual due to the echo effect on Lucy’s vocals.

Just a few days prior to the tour, Lucy announced the details of her fourth album; due for release in April 2019 and titled ‘Today Was A Good Day’. The sublime title track was the first glimmer of new material that we were introduced to on Thursday night, with new tracks ‘Dinner’s Ready’, ‘Home Wasn’t Built In A Day’ and ‘Lightning’ also being present in the set, sitting more than comfortably alongside tracks from all four of her albums. With an audience as dedicated as Lucy’s and each new track showcasing her talent of writing relatable lyrics and catchy hooks, it was no surprise that all four received a warm, positive reaction.

As always, Lucy maintained a connection with the crowd that most musicians fail to reach, with her lovable personality shining as brightly as her talent for the duration of the show; particularly during the storytelling both within and between her songs. As she began to play ‘Last Night’, the track where it all began, she explained how she’d contemplated not including it in the set, but based on the volume of the crowds singalong alone, it’s safe to say that she made the correct choice!

From the driving beat of ‘Loaded Guns’ to the soft guitar of ‘Fight For It’, which both tackle the importance of mental health, the audience were captivated with each and every track that Lucy delivered and there were too many mass crowd sing-alongs to mention. The night came to an end with the empowering ‘Unsinkable’; a rousing finale that not only saw a mass crowd sing-along, but also a sea of fists in the air in unison.

Lucy’s heart-on-sleeve approach is admirable and her set presented the perfect balance of emotive tracks that brought a tear to many eyes, such as ‘Stick The Kettle On’, which she released with Scouting For Girls for World Suicide Prevention Day, to tracks laced with humour, such as ‘Hey William’. Her positivity and enthusiasm is infectious and it’s evident that the adoration her fans feel towards her is reciprocated. There are just six months to go until release of ‘Today Was A Good Day’ and we’re already confident that it’ll be present in our ‘Best Albums of 2019’ feature, just like ‘I Hope You Don’t Mind Me Writing’ was last year.