Band on the Wall, Northern Quarter
Words: Victoria Hicks
Tonight is a bit of a different night for me- I’m reviewing Irit at Band on the Wall in Northern Quarter, Manchester. Irit is fronted by Irit Dekel, an Israelian singer-songwriter influenced by jazz, pop and classical music from her childhood. Fronting the band baring her namesake, her new album ‘Hello’ has gained huge popularity. The music stretches between many different pieces of world music, and being someone who doesn’t really listen to that genre, it is with great intrigue that I am reviewing her tonight.
Band on the Wall seems a very appropriate venue for Irit. A welcoming and long standing venue on the outskirts of Northern Quarter, its walls are adorned with pictures and posters of famous musicians, as well as ones who have played at this venue.
Irit are performing two sets tonight and the first set immediately starts off on a good note in my eyes, with them choosing to open with a very upbeat yet gentle song- ‘Just Because’- to ease the crowd into the music. The ensemble of instruments is something I’m not used to seeing. You have an accordion, electro-acoustic guitar and African-style percussion all sharing the stage, and it comes together to create this beautiful work of art that is so enjoyable to listen to.
All members seem very reserved, humble. They don’t need a gimmick or reason to show off, and being at a gig where the musicians actually let the music take centre stage is very refreshing. ‘An Honest Place’ is such a heartfelt song and reminds me of a slow ABBA ballad, and I love those.
Changing up the dynamic to a more feisty tone, Irit introduces ‘Lies’, a new single released about 2 weeks ago. Gaining a whistle from the crowd, she launches into this whirlwind of fast-paced Latino beats and Parisian accordion.
After a short interval, Irit returns, diving straight into ‘Hello’, the title song of the album. I can imagine their music being perfect to listen to whilst on a beach in a hot and sunny country- it has those holiday vibes.
‘I would listen to this song every night (after work), so it is quite cool that I am now singing it’, says Irit with a smile, as she describes the meaning behind cover song ‘To Love Somebody’, originally by the Bee Gees.
‘Coming from Israel, I have to do military service,’ says Irit, ‘when I start to sing it, it will make sense’. A short introduction to ‘Seen It All’; a very poignant and haunting song about real experiences, it has the entire room in silence, with full concentration solely on Irit. ‘I’ve seen it all, seen it all…’.
As soon as she finishes and quickly leaves the stage, people cheer for an encore, something Irit was not expecting. ‘I wasn’t sure that was going to happen’, she laughs and finishes the night repeating first song, ‘Just Because’ and it sounds even better the second time around.
Irit makes incredible music and if you need something to put you in a sunny mood, something to make you have a little dance to, I would definitely recommend putting her tunes on- they will brighten you up in no time.