Live Review

Johnny Flynn, Manchester Deaf Institute

Looking at Johnny Flynn is enough to make any man angry.

Looking at Johnny Flynn is enough to make any man angry. Whilst you’re stood in the middle of a packed dance floor, desperately jostling for a position in which you might actually be able to see the stage, he’s walking on it with his lovely guitar – to a rapturous applause as well. And look how attractive he is, his boyish good looks – he’s like a farm hand from an old western or a musical. You can almost feel the girls in the audience swoon when he casts a look in their direction. Every single man in the audience looks both ashamed and in awe as he whips through songs such as ‘Tickle Me Pink’ and ‘The Box’. We hold hands with our girlfriends and simply pray that Flynn doesn’t have his eye on them.

Not only that, you actually feel sorry about the fact he’s got a massive cold and he’s still doing a set that’s well over an hour anyway. Any normal entertainer in his state would’ve called it off, especially when they’re doing a solo set. But instead of crumbling on stage or getting flustered, he just carries on, and sounds bloody brilliant whilst doing it. He’s like a soldier, battling onwards, ducking and covering beneath the warm, intricate guitar riffs he’s weaved before bombarding you with some of his incredibly witty lyrics, sung with his ridiculously well pitched voice. In fact, the husk that a sore throat gives seems to lend itself to Flynn’s honeycomb vocals, meaning he sounds spectacular and manly. The dick.

After he’s finished his main set he takes requests from the audience and, get this, he even plays them, retuning his guitar whilst telling a story. Even in his anecdotes he’s charming and engaging. In his encore, and overly long story about an encounter with the police ends with every single person in the audience chuckling in unison about his impish breathalysing antics. What’s most sickening is that his new material, taken from new EP ‘Sweet William’ and a forthcoming album due in Spring 2010, sound just as good as all the stuff from his critically acclaimed debut, ‘A Larum’. When he finally ends performance - to cries of ‘More! More!’ he even promises the crowd he’ll be back on tour in February. How is anybody meant to keep pace with someone as talented, beautiful and witty, as well as being thoroughly entertaining live? What an inconsiderate bastard.

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