This MONEY article was written by Jamie Muir, a GIGsoup contributor
The sheer power of live music is sometimes a topic that many take for granted. For all it’s brilliance and enjoyment, the message and meaning behind a gathering of people, all fans of a particular artist or collection of tracks is smothered under the weight of a good time and a couple of overpriced tins of larger. For somebody to accept the power of music on their own mind, is somehow seen as a negative infliction, an admission of vulnerability and an acceptance that to survive on this planet, we need something more to guide us.
For the crowd gathered last night at the Village Underground, that’s an acceptance and truth they’re willing to bare – and it stems from the band taking to the stage in front of them. MONEY have emerged from the Manchester streams not as another musical by-product of a generation, but as a force within themselves – spearheaded by the poetic words and honesty of frontman Jamie Lee. Releasing their second LP earlier this year (Suicide Songs), it suggested a man teetering on the edge of insanity and on the brink of forgoing life and the pressures pushed upon young men and women.Touching the lives of many who have listened to it, their importance within the 21st century is staggering, and taking to the stage in the epicentre of Shoreditch’s paved streets, it’s one not to be taken lightly.
Lee’s minimal and sparse walk to the stage denotes a man unwilling to frolic in the conventions of a modern ‘rock star’, and his heartfelt message thanking those here and those who had to walk away in the face of his own personal demons, is a sign of the emotional weight to come. His gravel-pitted vocals excentuate the sorrowful tales laid out before him, with “You Look Like A Sad Painting On Both Sides Of The Sky” brutal in its sheer rawness, silencing the crowd into a mesmeric glaze. Gracefully building and petering, it’s core message withstands in a live environment and if anything becomes even greater. The LP’s lead single “I’ll Be The Night” is an emotional guttural punch, heartbreaking as it is uplifting, with a layered and textual feel that fill the archaic halls with aplomb. Both immersive and lonely in equal measures, MONEY’s power lies in spotlighting the individual struggles present within, as the harrowing sparseness of “Suicide Song” duly elicits, the sheer hopelessness emanating from Lee triggering tears swelling in the crowds gathered. Its a truly moving and captivating moment, of that connection between artist and audience.
In full swing, they’re unbreakable and in equal measures when scaled down their vulnerability makes them even stronger as “Night Came” showcases, demonstrating the two sides to this effervescent coin. Seismic, engrossing and perfectly orchestrated, it plays as the unravelling of a troubled mind, with Lee potent in is delivery and visibly affected by the sheer velocity of the performance. It’s a breath-taking live moment and a shining example of how special this band truly are, unafraid to expose themselves in order to become truly everlasting. As the soul-gripping “All My Life” unravels, their transcendent ability is cemented, not only as a band but as a therapeutic output for themselves and the people around them, extended by set-closer “Cocaine At Christmas And An Alcoholic’s New Year” that rounds off an emotional evening with the final cathartic unravelling of the turmoil and troubles that plague us all.
It’s not often that a live setting witnesses such a personal evening of reflection, therapy and acceptance such as last night. As a frontman, Jamie Lee stands as a mesmeric force, somebody brave enough to open themselves to let people see the reflection that’s deep within. The pain, the doubt and the sheer darkness that engulfs MONEY and “Suicide Songs” can at times be too much to bear, yet it’s by bearing and accepting it, that the true nature of being human can live on. This was one of the stand out live performances of the year so far, not only because of great songs but because of how vital it sits to modern society.