Live Review: Ten Tonnes, The Deaf Institute, Manchester

Ten Tonnes

The Deaf Institute, Manchester, 31st January 2019

Words and Photography: Gary Lambert

Ten Tonnes

Well I was not expecting a gig like this from Ten Tonnes. Admittedly, I’ve only seen him perform at festivals and in support slots, but for his sell out night at The Deaf Institute in Manchester, the mixed audience I associate him with is not there.

Instead, from early on it’s pretty much Beatle-fuckin’-mania as teenage girls pour into the room and wait expectantly with a mixture of not-quite-chaste lust and unadulterated excitement and warmth. Listening to their conversations gives me an insight into the mindset of these young women as they discuss how to position themselves to get a glimpse of him as he gets to the stage whilst stopping people from bothering him. Seriously! They care about Ten Tonnes so much that they were figuring out how to hold back their fellow fans if he came through the door rather than the back of the stage, and discussing the options for dealing with people who shout out requests of George Ezra songs. For those who don’t know, Ten Tonnes happens to be the younger brother of George Ezra.

By the time Ethan Barnett (to give Ten Tonnes his Sunday name) takes to the stage the crowd has been built up into a frenzy by a storming opening performance by Newcastle’s The Pale White. The band are in quite a curious position as whilst they are supporting, it is only a matter of a few weeks before they headline this venue themselves, a gig they mentioned had only forty tickets left. With tracks such as ‘Medicine’ and ‘Loveless’ rocking the room, I’d be surprised if there were many of those forty left. These lads really feel like a band who have everything in their locker and could go on to do great things.

The Pale White

Ten Tonnes, though…. How can somebody so young be able to create music like this? Don’t get me wrong his clean cut look probably gets a lot of people taking notice of him at first, but it is the effortless quality of the tunes which will keep them there for today and beyond. It is the kind of genius that crosses demographics without even trying.

Like a DJ being able to drop ‘Satisfaction’ by The Rolling Stones at an indie night, a pop night, a retro night, and a rock night without seeming out of place, tracks like ‘G.I.V.E.’ (my personal favourite song from the whole of 2018) fit in pretty much any circumstance where guitar music could be played.

The musical highlight though had to be earlier release ‘Lucy’ which finished the night to a deafening roar at the mention of the track’s name. This audience has been with Ten Tonnes from the start.

Ten Tonnes

The abiding memory of Ten Tonnes’ set was not the music, but the feeling of the floor. From the moment the band started playing, the crowd were bouncing like it was a dark and dirty basement with a ruthless punk band shredding all comers. I know the wooden floor of The Deaf Institute has a reputation for this bounce, but I’ve never experienced it feeling this much of a trampoline.

Ten Tonnes has the world at his fingertips. Roll on April and the release of his debut album.

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