Live Review: Lucy Spraggan - Manchester Academy, Manchester 18/10/2018

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Over five years since her appearance on the X Factor, Lucy Spraggan played her biggest sold out Manchester show to date on Thursday night. She played a selection of her old classics as well as new and unreleased tracks to a crowd of adoring fans, shouting her name even before she came onto the main stage at Manchester Academy.

First support act was eighteen-year-old singer-songwriter Emma McGrath, who warmed up the audience with songs such as ‘Love You Better’ and ‘Butterfly’ from her latest EP, ‘Silent Minds’. Next was Scottish singer Callum Beattie, who’s set list also included an acoustic cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’, as well as his popular track ‘Man Behind the Sun’.

Soon, the lights went down and Lucy Spraggan’s band started to play just as she bounded on the stage to the cheers of her audience.  Without her guitar, she danced around the stage performing ‘Paper Dreams’ from her debut album before exclaiming ‘Manchester, you look amazing!’. It seems that Spraggan was stunned by the extremely warm reception from the crowd, as she wore a huge grin on her face for the entirety of the show. Next came fan favourite ‘Lighthouse’ and its infectious beat with the audience singing every lyric with her as she performed with her guitar. 

‘Tea and Toast’ had the crowd swaying together in unity, and after ‘Mountains’ Spraggan informed her audience that this was her ‘favourite show’ that she has ever played. The energy in the room and love for the singer-songwriter was undeniable. She then introduced her new album, out in 2019, named ‘Today Was a Good Day’ and went on to perform the titular song from the record, speaking a little about being an advocate for positivity and mental health. The tempo was then revved up once again as Lucy performed the song that sprang her to fame, ‘Last Night’ or ‘Beer Fear’ as it’s also known. The entire performance was intertwined with anecdotes about her tracks, and the next one was no different, as the performer told the story about writing ‘Don’t Know Nothing About the Blues’ to get back at a heckler at a Blues bar. The singing and dancing in the crowd never faltered, even in the slower tracks, which provided the whole night with an incredible, lively and positive atmosphere. 

Shouting ‘I never want this show to end!’, Lucy went on to play ‘Someone’ and ‘Loaded Gun’, before treating the crowd to more unreleased tracks such as ‘Home Wasn’t Built in a Day’ and ‘Dinner’s Ready’, and their lyrics further proved what an amazing songwriter Lucy Spraggan is. Firework-like lights came from each side of the stage just before the encore, which was timed perfectly to the lyrics of one of her new tracks as she sang ‘light up the sky with lightening’. Finishing on ‘Unsinkable’ and it’s uplifting lyrics and infectious beat, there was an explosion of confetti which was met by the cheers of the audience.

Lucy Spraggan’s confidence and energy at Manchester Academy made it evident that she has only got better and better the last five years, as both a songwriter and a performer. It is clear that she enjoyed the show just as much as her audience did, and I would recommend this artist to anyone that wants a night of dancing, uplifting lyrics and an incredible atmosphere.

Words and Photography by Jess Foster