Jane Weaver @ The Deaf Institute, Manchester, 21 March
To mark a celebratory evening at The Deaf Institute, Jane Weaver is dressed to impress. "Has anyone else got a Lorax onesie on tonight?" she jokes, showing off the lone Truffula Tree pinned to the centre of her chest. The Dr. Seuss reference illustrates this cult folk icon’s wonderful weirdness as she delivers an ingenuous set in honour of her sixth album, The Silver Globe – which won Piccadilly Records’ Album of the Year 2014.
The Silver Globe’s opening gambit, Argent, sounds great, Weaver’s ethereal hums competing with revving krautrock guitar to speed their way to a cascading synth solo. As she stares at the ceiling, though, she looks diffident, surprised at the interest the accolade has brought her – and this translates to the sold-out crowd in the early stages. Luckily, by the time The Electric Mountain’s classic rock riffs come in, Weaver begins to settle, following it up with the hypnotic, cavernous Arrows. Playful single Don’t Take My Soul gets the best reception, the room bopping in recognition at its oompah bass and infectious keyboard loop, led by Weaver’s falsetto coos and sizzling tambourine beat.
After the psychedelic Euro-disco trip of Mission Desire, Weaver proves at her best when at her ballad-est. The sparseness of Cells suits her perfectly – and, despite whipping out three unwieldy lyric sheets for new song I Need A Connection, Weaver ends the night on a high with the rolling waltz of Your Time In This Life Is Just Temporary, her voice reaching up above squealing solo madness. If Weaver seems unworldly, it’s only because she’s started aiming for the stars. [Chris Ogden]