Four Tet @ Old Granada Studios – Live Review

It’s not that often when an artist who means so much to you, who you’ve listened to for a number of years and has also had a direct impact on your personal sound, plays a relatively intimate gig within your city.

Well, Four Tet did just that by playing the reasonably sized Granada Studios in Manchester.

Walking into the arena itself, there were little lights. Only around 10 red spotlights dotted around one half of the room. Placed neatly in the centre of the room, was a slightly raised platform, with two desk lights, a computer, and the rest of the equipment used by Kieran Hebden. I wasn’t expecting him to play in the middle of the room, but immediately became very excited.

When Kieran walked up the podium, the lights dimmed, and the room depended into darkness. The only lights on, were Kieran’s desk lamps, and the light coming from the large opening where the bar was situated.

The set began with a swell, a couple of synths floated out of the PA and then a very recognisable chime began to play. The set was opened with ‘Planet’, the closing track from the latest Four Tet album ‘New Energy’. The track fell together perfectly, with different sounds and precision being added to the track every so often. It was neatly executed, and the progression and clarity of sounds made for a terrific opening for his set.

Next up, and to great delight of the crowd was the seminal banger ‘Parallel Jelabi’. It was loud, progressive, yet odd. The lack of light show made the ordeal almost strange. You would expect, for this track at least, that there would be flashing strobes or colourful imagery, yet there was nothing. It made you focus on the sounds that were being produced, and not the lights. By this point the crowd were drawn into his world of trance, dance and synth.

Drum nd bass drenched track ‘Kool FM’ was swung into the mix, much of a surprise. It seemed louder. The bass was vigorous. The PA seemed to have been turned up to max. Every little detail within his sound was noticeable, not hidden away. ‘Two Thousand and Seventeen’ slowed the show right back down. Arguably one of the artists best tracks from his recent record, it enabled the crowd to calm, and truly focus on what was being played. ‘SW9 9SL’ was met with a cheer. When the bass kicks in people began to move and almost seemed hypnotised by the soundscapes being created.

As this was Kieran first live show back this year more tracks were given their live debuts.  ‘Daughter’, ‘LA Trance’ and You are Loved’ were all met with great appreciation. ‘Lush’ was another of these tracks. What seems o be another track that will be cemented in Four Tet’s live shows for the rest of time, ‘Lush’ delivered a dancey feel to a set filled with ambient noise and exotic sounds.

The finale was of course going to be ‘Morning Side’. The 20 minute long, psych dance piece with sampled Indian vocals is THE fan favourite. Its an elegant and electryfying  ballad of dance, emotional vocals and ever changing soundscapes which were blended to such an impressive level. Towards the end of the track, people were fully transfixed to the sound. The lack of lighting seemed to take no ones bother anymore. It was all about the sound, and the music, with that intimate feel of total darkness it seemed even more special than it already was.


Featured image taken by Sebastian Matthes (twitter – @manox_net )

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