The Dead South bring their 2020 Served Cold Tour, to Manchester Academy.
Canada’s The Dead South often refer to their band as “Mumford and Sons’ Evil Twins” and take a tongue in cheek attitude with their aesthetic of old western pioneers. But make no mistake, The Dead South are a genuinely good band that goes far beyond how they bill themselves, which is showcased on their debut album Good Company.
As soon as the doors opened the venue had a steady flow of fans into the Academy, so much so by the time the first act Noble Jacks came on stage two thirds of tonight’s crowd had already assembled.
With the fiddle taking the lead, NOBLE JACKS take no prisoners as they deliver a footstompin display of reels and rhythms immediately bringing the large crowd on side. Promoting their debut album “What the Hammer”, its easy to see why they have been in demand for Glastonbury and the Cambridge folk festivals, they will headline their own show at Manchester’s Deaf Institute in the next few weeks.
Main support for the evening is the excellent Will Varley, no stranger to this area although he hails from Kent, once again as with the previous act Varley was a revelation Sartorial songs and humorous antidotes, dispersed with Melancholic and heart-breaking ballads. Some what a rebel in disguise the odd protest song thrown in, do yourselves a favour if you see he is gigging near you get along to see a wonderful artist.
The Dead South, a gold rush vibing four-piece acoustic set from Saskatchewan, infuse the genre’s traditional trappings with an air of frontier recklessness, whiskey breakfasts and grizzled tin-pan showmanship. Their sound builds on a taut configuration of cello, mandolin, banjo and guitar, speeds like a train past polite definitions of acoustic music into the grittier, rowdier spaces of the bluegrass world.
Currently one of the hottest tickets on both sides of the Atlantic, The Dead South have doubled their draw with each subsequent tour since 2018. 2019 will see the band make their debut at iconic venues and festivals in the USA and UK, Red Rocks and Glastonbury. The story behind their incredibly robust worldwide fanbase is both a modern music biz fairy-tale, a 130 million view video for a song released in 2014, and a timeless tale of a band that built their audience show by show, delivering a relentlessly great, high-energy frenzy that resulted in nearly 50,000 tickets sold in 2018. Through partnerships with ethical ticket resellers, The Dead South are helping fans fight back against shady secondary ticket markets, and have become, in their success, a model of fan-first artist citizenship.
The Dead South’s original and current line-up includes the gnarled baritone of Nate Hilts, Scott Pringle on mandolin, whistling cellist Danny Kenyon and virtuosic banjo player Colton Crawford. The four-piece, string-driven approach puts the interplay of unique and versatile voices front and centre, with Hilts, Pringle and Kenyon all sharing lead vocal duties.
The Dead South have a relentless pace that is gathering a real momentum, their infectious sound is backed up by a visual backdrop that has the crowd hanging on every song.