Despite the bitterly cold temperature on a gloomy Manchester evening, YES’ recently unveiled ‘The Pink Room’ was warm and welcoming in every sense on Monday; as Isaac Gracie kicked off his UK tour with a spine tingling, sold out return to the city.
As of late, artists capable of leaving their crowds almost speechless is a rarity; but not for the endearing, understated sounds of Gracie’s hauntingly beautiful songwriting, most of which was written and recorded in his London bedroom just a few years ago.
The thing with an Isaac Gracie show isn’t just about the music, though. There’s a true sense of intimacy as he makes innocent small talk between songs, his endearing, warm personality shining through not just his voice but his general presence.
“It’s quite smokey in here, isn’t it?” he asks as he takes to the pink drenched stage. It has to be said, Gracie is a master of atmosphere. Drawing in his crowd with the upbeat, infectious hooks of Running On Empty, dashing any concerns of the evening being one of those oh so awkward acoustic evenings which we’ve all experienced.
Anyone who has listened to his early demos will have a feel of the power of the former choirboy’s voice. It’s in the more stripped back tracks that it can be fully appreciated, Terrified and Hollow Crown offer raw, exposed emotion which resonates so effortlessly. The more recent sounds of Show Me Love, taken from the upcoming EP Close Up - Looking Down offer a more optimistic side to Gracie’s songwriting, while remaining as sincere as ever.
The passion and control behind Isaac’s vocals are fully proven in Silhouettes Of You, which flawlessly transitioned into a breath taking cover of Radiohead’s Creep. “Everyone has to love Creep, right?” he nervously joked.
Following the irritating sounds of a couple of crowd members chatting mid set, a shout of “stop talking!” from the back of the room seemed to give Gracie the confidence needed to silence them himself; “Yeah! Stop fucking talking!” he laughs, seeming to finally relieve the room of the irritation.
Drawing towards an end with All In My Mind and the Buckley-esque sounds of The Death Of You & I, Gracie teased the moment all had been waiting for, returning to the stage with his exceptional debut Last Words.
Met with his lyrics sang delightedly sang back to him, and even a couple of people on shoulders; Isaac's return to Manchester was nothing short of triumphant. Humble, endearing and emotional, there’s little doubt that anyone lucky enough to witness Monday’s performance will miss a chance to experience those spine tingling vocals again.