Jim Noir, The Bowery
FEW acts can get away with a set brimming with retro neo-psychadelia playfulness, but then few artists are as charming as Manchester’s Jim Noir.
With an overzealous fan mere inches from his face his new Zooper Dooper EP introduced a teasing edge; certainly instrumental opener Kitty Cat seemed reminiscent of a ‘70s sitcom theme tune.
Unmoved, the earnest charm of Don’t You Worry enthralled while Zooper Dooper engrossed with the doo wop backing of the two female keyboardists. For all the perceived merriment Do You Like Games showcased their moody side offset by an effortlessly beguiling melody until Ships and Clouds countered with a slice of dreamy psychadelia.
Finally the fan took (off) centre stage as Noir allowed him to play tambourine for My Patch which became schadenfreude when the chorus ‘If you ever step on my patch, I’ll bring you down’ was bellowed back.
Possibly embarrassed, Noir apologised for his encore of Shooting Deer, proving his charm to the end.
Teddy Thompson, Sheffield Memorial Hall
It’s fair to say things didn’t go according to plan for Thompson last night.
A “technical hitch” just a couple of bars into Song Two kind of threw things.
I’m a Teddy novice; apart from the fact that he’s the son of folk legends Linda and Richard Thompson and my husband is fast becoming a fan, I scarcely know his music.
I couldn’t tell when anyone was winging it. Or that, as previous reviews of this tour have criticised, the set was top-heavy with tracks from the new album, Bella.
I sat there, waiting to soak up Thompson’s lovely voice, the fabulous violin-playing of Jessie Nelson, which adds piquancy and emotion to a class four-piece band who can veer from folk to pop, then lull with a rhythm bordering on hypnotic.
There were quips and anecdotes from the engaging front man. Then he’d sing achingly of loss and punchily of being the one who wants to walk. There’s both pathos and humour in his lyrics; a jaunty rendition of single Looking For A Girl made tongue in cheek demands for a perfect woman. We also got Buddy Holly’s It’s so Easy to mark the anniversary of the day the music died - and a great version of Abba’s Super Trouper.
What turned me into a Teddy follower were his solo spots, particularly when, on a whim, he stepped away from the mike and sang, clear and sweet as a choirboy to the hall. The hairs on my neck stood to attention.