Manchester is the home to hundreds of talented and incredible musicians, ranging from heavy rockers to effortlessly cool hip-hop crowds. You name it, Manchester has it.
Delving deep into Manchester’s homegrown music scene are the Twisted Tubes, a timeless collaboration of ten musicians specialising in brass instruments.
The Twisted Tubes have brought something special to Manchester’s music scene that no one else has. Ranging from classic jazz, pop, soul and funk, this talented bunch have plenty to offer with their covers and original pieces.
November 5 brought the official launch of the Twisted Tubes’ EP, “The Grass Is Greener,” at Manchester’s infamous music venue Band on the Wall. I had high expectations of the group after seeing them perform a few cover songs previously at a bar in Manchester.
I have to say, it was an incredible experience hearing Kanye West’s “Gold Digger” sound a hundred times better on sousaphone and saxophone. Just saying. But I had yet to see them perform their own original content.
Arriving at the venue deep within Manchester’s Northern Quarter, my sister and I helped ourselves to a couple of gin and tonics at the bar whilst awaiting their arrival on stage. It was at around 9.45pm when a ripple of applause and cheers came from the audience around us to welcome the brass-clad gents on stage. Here’s a quick introduction to each member before the review commences to spare any confusion:
Joshua Poole on Alto Sax
Jimmy Stuttard on Tenor Sax
Dominic Lawson on Vocals & Baritone Sax
Roland Parsons on Trumpet
Aaron ‘Elbow’ Wood on Trumpet
Chris Jones on Trombone
Conall Gormley on Sousaphone
Sam Tunstall & Phil Steventon on Percussion
Martin ‘Teens’ Gordon & Joe Luckin on Drum Kit
Alto sax player Joshua Poole welcomed the audience to the gig, and the group launched into the perfect cover of Jill Scott’s “Golden.” The combination of the brass alongside vocalist Dominic Lawson’s stainless Lionel Richie-style vocals was comparable to nothing; a superb start the night for the Tubes, and also for the audience who simply couldn’t resist dancing in time to the music from the first note.
This was followed by “American Boy,” which again, rose above Estelle’s original. This group uses the sounds of classical brass instruments to enhance particular songs and sounds, which is what really makes the Twisted Tubes one of a kind. And it’s only two songs into the set when I come to this realisation.
With this particular gig being the launch of their new EP, I was eager to hear it for the first time – especially as a live performance. “Grass Is Greener” lived up to expectations. A funky yet beautifully arranged piece of music, this track ticks the boxes of classic jazz and foot-tapping melodies. Most importantly, it lures in and accommodates to any listener; it’s simply hard to not like.
The live performance created an electric atmosphere within the audience. Put simply, I don’t dance. But I found myself dancing all night from the powerful presence the Tubes hold when they perform. Dancing badly, perhaps, but that’s saying something.
Even more amazingly, after hearing the studio version of “Grass is Greener,” I struggled to differentiate between the live performance and the recorded. Only true musicians can put on a performance even better than what has been recorded in a studio.
The night consisted predominantly of covers and older material, along with the guest appearances of singers Dave McCabe, a modern-day Robert Plant, and Jenna G, with her effortless and breath-taking vocals.
This night didn’t seem like a regular gig, in my opinion. It was a display of the talent that young musicians have to offer today in Manchester’s music scene. It was also highly refreshing to hear real music, not to mention a jaw-dropping saxophone solo from Jimmy Stuttard, bringing all hands into the air.
Wrapping up the night was “Voodoo,” a further piece of new music from the Tubes. This number bought a new lease on life to the crowd, having everyone dancing from sheer enjoyment brought from this performance. Dominic’s vocals alongside the upbeat brass and non-stop percussion that this song delivers created not only an incredible piece of music, but a show-stopping finale to the show, a feeling that was clearly mutual across the audience present that night.
The dynamic group closed the show with a cover of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity,” a massive audience pleaser and the ultimate finish to the night.
Budding young musicians out there, take note! The Twisted Tubes are a perfect example of how real musicians should be, and their attitude towards their own music is outstanding. They aren’t in it for the social media followers, or how many records they sell. They are in it to bring the real music back, and I have to say, they couldn’t have done it any better.