Sweaty. That’s one word to describe Joshua Radin’s gig in the basement of the University of Manchester’s Student’s Union. It was sweaty, hot and intimate.
Let me get this out of the way first, Joshua Radin is a beautiful man. He seems aware of this, though not obnoxiously, and he was quick to inform the audience of his hope that they were here for his brains and not his looks. I was very much there for a mix of the two (I’d say about 75% for his voice and lyrics, 25% for other reasons) and a perfect combination was effortlessly delivered to my senses.
Opening with No Envy, No Fear, Radin was quick to unplug his guitar and step away from the microphone making his talent immediately obvious. Both lyrically and vocally, Radin is a genius. As he explained the story behind Everything’ll be Alright the room fell silent, holding onto every word that left his lips. Impressive support act Rosi Golan’s vocals added an extra dimension to Streetlight and continued to offer an enchanting female element to Radin’s all male-four piece throughout the night.
Radin was on fire when it came to talking to the crowd and maintaining lengthy eye contact with individual audience members. With topics of his conversation ranging from memories of his ten-year-old self awkwardly asking girls to go to couples skating on a Friday night in Ohio to the prospect of doing a naked gig were everyone to hand in their phones and cameras on the way in (FYI Joshua, I think we gladly would and this idea should be further explored).
The whole evening offered a varied mix of songs from across his three albums, with a couple of brand new tracks thrown in for good measure. As an audience, we clapped, sang and wooped along on request and the band certainly seemed to share our energy. Brandon Walters on guitar had fully enveloped Rosi Golan at one point as she led the clapping and once the electric guitar had been brought out, The Ones With The Light the performance reached a new high.
With temperatures rising, Radin removed his beanie hat and plaid shirt as the opening lyrics to Today seemed to take on a new, less innocent meaning as the aforementioned naked gig stage banter took place. In fact, the only awkward stage banter of the night came before the closing song of the main set. The previously poignant You Got What I Need was revealed to be a song written for his friends who wanted a song to try and conceive a baby to. Despite saying ‘No’ initially, a somewhat perturbed Radin persisted and the result was performed beautifully as the crowd re-evaluated the lyrics.
The encore was two-fold. A solo performance of Winter was almost haunting, whilst an unplugged group performance of a new song Where You Belong saw Walters nearly stamping through the stage and the show ended on an unforgettable high.
Having seen Radin in Academy 1 before, the tightly packed Club Academy offered a completely different experience. Joshua Radin knows how to work an audience, no matter how big or small, and his performance tonight was scorching.