Richard Ashcroft @Castlefield Bowl, Manchester [Review]

Richard Ashcroft review
Photo Credit: Dean Chalkley
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On 02/07/2017
Last modified:03/07/2017


Alejandro De Luna

Richard Ashcroft is a hell of a songwriter and undeniably still one of the best frontmen in Britain; cracking voice, brilliant lyrics, colossal tunes, northern swagger and of course, as always, the right shades. In the 90s with The Verve he quickly moved from adventurous and psychedelic maverick to britpop icon and author of timeless pop songs that effortlessly became part of the British consciousness. However, his career as self-imposed loner has been a volatile journey, with dashes of genius and undeniable proof of Ashcroft‘s overwhelming talent, but also lacking consistency.

In Ashcroft‘s defense, where else to go if you’ve already touched the sky?

Yet, onstage is where Richard Ashcroft‘s touching songbook works best either with his full band, or solo with an acoustic guitar. He plays on the safe side with a setlist that heavily relies on crowd-pleasing classics from The Verve‘s best-selling and most accessible record Urban Hymns, but also on These People, his latest solo album that sounds much better live than on the record. Classic Verve songs like ‘Lucky Man’ and a deeply moving version of ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’, dedicated to the victims of the tragic Manchester bombing, remind us of Ashcroft’s songwriting quality, but solo efforts like ‘A Song For The Lovers’, ‘They Don’t Own Me’ and ‘Break The Night With Colour’ could easily rank among some of his best tunes.

Despite the volatile career of ups and downs, Richard Ashcroft still plays by his own rules and on stage he’s one of the best in Britain. Sublime voice.

I know that you
Ain’t like the other ones
March to a different beat, babe
Banging a different drum
I think I told you before that
They don’t
They don’t own me
I think I told you before that
They don’t
They don’t own me


Out of My Body
Sonnet (The Verve)
Space and Time (The Verve)
This Is How It Feels
A Song for the Lovers
Velvet Morning (The Verve)
Science of Silence
Break the Night With Colour
They Don’t Own Me
Music Is Power
Lucky Man (The Verve)
Weeping Willow (The Verve)
These People
The Drugs Don’t Work (The Verve)
Hold On
Bitter Sweet Symphony (The Verve)



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