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You are in: Manchester > Entertainment > Music > Reviews > José González at the Opera House

José González (c) Shirlaine Forrest

José González (c) Shirlaine Forrest

José González at the Opera House

The faded glamour of the Opera House played host to Swedish guitar hero José González, with the proscenium arch and red curtains framing the room striking a stark juxtaposition with the stage setting of simply three chairs and two drums.

The surroundings made for a polite jostling amongst the crowd, as the excitement brimmed under – that is until Jose arrived.

José González (c) Shirlaine Forrest

José González (c) Shirlaine Forrest

As he shuffled on stage in his usual humble manner, the crowd went wild, and it was immediately clear that there was a huge affection for José. That appreciation never dipped with one admirer shouting his love for the guitarist halfway through, an outburst brilliantly at odds with the music and the man.

He began in his usually understated manner and everyone went quiet. With one red spotlight on his small lonely form, it felt honestly intimate, making the flashes of light cast into the dark auditorium as people came and went seem a rude interruption to a private moment.

The reality was that tonight, José González was everything you wanted from him. His guitar style, complex and almost unbelievable to a layman, makes you want to play like him, while his very occasional words, some of which are difficult to decipher, are hugely appreciated, as again you feel like you are part of something personal.

José González (c) Shirlaine Forrest

José González (c) Shirlaine Forrest

Behind the music, the stage set is augmented by a screen, changing images from boxing horses to endless treadmills of roads and trees. The repetitive nature of these with the music makes us feel almost hypnotised by it all.

Still, there is light and shade to the performance, as a change of atmosphere brings Yukimi Nagano and percussionist Erik Boden to the stage. Their presence opens up the performance, and with percussion and clapping, the music is brought to a crescendo, with ‘Lovestain’ and ‘Remain’ just two of the crowd pleasing favourites. He ends with the emotionally wrought ‘Teardrop’ and leaves the crowd demanding an encore.

It came in the shape of his brilliant version of ‘Hand On Your Heart’ and a great rendition of Bronski Beat’s ‘Small Town Boy’,  the pair bringing us up, only for the inevitable crash when he finally leaves the stage – truly, a case of leaving us wanting more.

last updated: 16/04/2008 at 11:02
created: 16/04/2008

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