Live Review: Black Grape at Manchesters Ritz on 03/09/2021

Live gigs are well underway, and for me personally, I’ve hosted many and been to loads over the last month so apart from showing my double jabbed covid status on the door the live music industry is back to its glorious normal!

Manchester’s Ritz was busy with plenty of folks that must have started boozing straight after work, all nicely alight ready for the events to unfold, I still don’t understand why some 50-year-old blokes feel the need to dig out their lemon emblasened bucket hat every time they go to a gig but that’s just me.

Looking around the crowd it was nicely sprinkled with the next flock of music-loving humans loving the fact that they are about to see a national treasure in his homeland doing what he loves.

Dave Sweetmore, local DJ and Massive supporter of the grass roots Manchester music scenes on his Radio shows, opened the proceedings, he got the crowd going and played tune after tune, forcing the after-work drinkers to raise their hands in the air to sing the wrong words to many indie classics.


You never know when you will find the next band to embrace and take under your wing at a gig, all the headliners once opened up for someone.

Today’s opener was Alias Kid, they entered the stage with a swagger, they looked a bit like they had all just walked off the streets but that’s me being fussy.

The Ritz sound system has never been great but they used this to their advantage, the first tune kicked off and the crowd loved it, the muggy drum sound bounced around the room and every whack on the snare drum hit you in the chest.

Good vibes, a very well-rehearsed and tight band, songs about we are the boys, revolution, it’s all gone wrong hit the sweet spot with the crowd. the lead singer had his own style of swagger, often looking like he was about to march off with a purpose but quickly realising there wasn’t anywhere to go apart from a small circle of stage space was a tad off-putting but his voice was pleasantly organic and made up for this little insight into stage presence management. I will definitely check them out again.

Dave Sweetmore entered the DJ booth again to spin some tunes before we enter the business end of the evening!

It’s 25 years since Black Grape began and we were about to celebrate a journey into the band’s back catologue!

On came Black Grape, Shaun instantly started taking the piss out of the guitarist for drinking a bottle of wine, Kermit with a “Fag” on also took to the stage announcing to the crowd “We are back!”

Alan Mcgee was looking down from the balcony as the band kicked off with In the name of the father. Taking me straight back to memories of being out n about, up to no good in the 90s, this song is massive, the band was outstanding, every member are 1st class musicians and belted out this absolute classic!

Instantly the chemistry between Shaun and Kermit lit up the stage, it was almost as if 2 scallywags had just been let out after being cooped up for 18 months!

We had a few tunes from the Voodoo album then Shaun said to Kermit, “Let’s go back to the 90s Penis” Both cracking up and smoothing into Tramazi Party then Yeah Yeah Brother, it was interesting to note Kermit mentioning to Shaun that they hated each other recording this tune. A quick fist bump from the lads then onto another classic.

Kermit’s energy dancing around the crowd was infectious, moving around the stage engaging with the band at every opportunity, and then sharing the love they hold with each other with the crowd, We felt the love.

Shaun had all the charm you would expect from a national treasure.

Reverend Black Grape, Kelly Heroes, shake well before opening all went down and had the crowd in the palm of their hands! What 25 years it’s been 👊

If you are umming and errring about joining the lads on the tour then stop what you are doing and book tickets NOW BOOK HERE

📸 Credit – Neil Winward

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