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Oliver Mann with Grand Salvo @ Thornbury Theatre 20-03-09

March 22, 2009

oliver mann 
What a nice show this was. Thornbury Theatre was the perfect venue with its high ceilings, fancy decoration and warm atmosphere. Although a lot of the crowd seemed to be there just for a ‘night out’ instead of watching the two brothers doing their thing on stage, but it was never really distracting so long as you stood away from the bar. I admit I was mainly here to see Grand Salvo and not his brother who was headlining the show but both their sets were extremely impressive and I walked away of Oliver Mann.

Grand Salvo has that sort of quiet and magic quality to his voice that is enthralling, he makes you listen so closely and you get so drawn into the lyrics and the stories he has created. He’s a very hard performer to ‘zone out’ to while watching as his performance demands your utmost attention. This was the first time I have seen him play completely solo and he still has remarkable stage presence for such a quiet man, although I was pretty upset that Zoe Randall was not there providing hauntingly beautiful backing vocals and generally being lovely. He softly strummed his way through a varied set, favouring his older work instead of his newest album Death, bar a couple songs including a mesmerising version of “Bear”. While Paddy was alone on stage, Oliver did come and join him for the last few songs playing the drums (very very quietly) and the glockenspiel for the stunning  “Brave Like a Goose”.

Oliver had a very different show and style. He was joined by a six piece band (including his brother on bass) but it was really his voice that made all the difference. Most of the instrumentation provided was quite restrained and really worked as a wall for Oliver to bounce his terrific voice off. While his brother is quiet and shy, Oliver is hugely loud and commanding hitting some notes that were mind blowing and had a much friendlier stage presence. Probably the easiest way to describe his voice is as operatic, but  him and his band mostly played folk styled songs although with odd arrangements and timings. Some songs barely stretching past a couple minutes but it was obvious they had got their point across, while others went on for a long while with Oliver’s voice switching between falsetto and a resounding bellow. The crowd seemed pretty enthralled by all this and it really was a fantastic show from both brothers.

Grand Salvo’s Myspace
Oliver Mann’s Myspace

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