Paul Draper

Hotly anticipated by the sold out crowd for years, an experience they had long believed time and circumstance had robbed them of, this was the first night of former Manusn frontman Paul Draper’s tour in which he and a bevvy of fine musicians were seen playing the seminal album ‘Attack Of The Grey Lantern’ from delightful start to secret track finish.

Psychadelic harmonies soared, layers of sound moved like the murmurations of the starlings on the pier – plunging and moving in their own deeply melodious turns, with Draper’s distinctive vocals leading the way. Snippets of lyrics broke through the wall of sound, dropping words like “gobbldigook” and storytelling phrases that teased as their followers were lost again in the sound system – a shame but not one that really affected the audience of long term fans who sang back at Draper’s every invitation.

Earlier Paul had introduced the opening set of his own material as the “support band”, aware of the headline-attraction status of what was to come, but it also was a real treat to hear the maturity of his voice,reaching for the baser levels of his range, and letting his lyrics stand clearly on their own strength.

The evening could have been billed as nostalgia. Instead we witnessed a man giving the people what they wanted, and a little bit more. With years in the interim since this album was last played, the decision to only start rehearsals in the last few weeks proved a good one as freshness and a cautious hopeful anticipation from audience and performer alike buzzed.

The Haunt, 19 February 2018
Rating: ★★★★½
Victoria Nangle

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