It was hard not to detect the irony as Megan Washington opened her set with Fighting The Good Fight. “So many friends. So many friends…” she sang, before interjecting “What, there must be like twenty five of you?” Alas, she was telling the truth and, whilst her remark may have cut the tension in the room, it also highlighted how sparse the music hall in The Deaf Institute was.
I’m not sure whether it was the cold Sunday night, under-promotion of the gig or simply Washington’s lack of a Manchester fan base that led to the empty venue, but Washington trooped on unperturbed. She was going to inject as much energy into this performance as she would do at a bigger event.
An impressive piano performance of How To Tame Lions got the well-informed audience dancing and as she continued performing her bigger hits the enthusiasm in the room grew, even if numbers didn’t.
A solo piano set saw Washington perform a new track about when she thought moving in with her ex-boyfriend meant it was forever (“It’s a funny joke, right?”) and a poignant rendition of 80 Miles. With the band back on stage, Rich Kids was a personal favourite for me and following it immediately with Sunday Best worked well for the crowd.
Ending her set with Concrete, it was clear the audience had enjoyed themselves. I’m doubtful if Washington herself had, but she ended her set with a joke and thanked us one final term.
Manchester really missed out on a treat with this gig. I only hope the crowds are fuller around the country.