Lisa Hannigan - Manchester Academy 1
Lisa Hannigan's delicate, ruffled folk warms and charms the early birds. Her approach, as ever, is gentle but her focus is steely. Here as support to Richard Hawley, the usual chattering is minimal: a classy crowd for a classy performer. With just eight songs, drawn from the Mercury-nominated See Sew and follow-up Passenger, she shows why this one-time band member (a key component of Damien Rice's outfit) possessed a vision altogether too sharp and distinct to leave untested. Hawley's headline set is powered by new found volume and clout but he benefits from playing to a crowd engaged and energised. Hannigan demonstrates tonight just what a smart warm-up act can do. A deft reading of The Band's 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down' sees her exit to a sustained ovation.