JACK Savoretti wowed a packed Ritz on Monday (October 19) and Quays News entertainment reporter Natalie Rees went along to the show for us…

After a triumphant return to music, the release of ‘Written In Scars’ earlier this year left Jack Savoretti fans eager for a chance to hear the songwriter’s soul-soaked vocals live. The first of the 32-year-old’s records to be released by a major label, BMG Chrysalis, the album boasts lyrics that have roots in a feeling of defiance, and triumph over difficulty, a poignant reminder of Savoretti’s battle with the music industry. October sees Jack and his band play seven sold out shows across the UK, and on October 19 it was Manchester’s turn to host the Italian-English talent.

At 7.45pm, the Ritz welcomed Max Jury on stage. The American, fresh from supporting Circa Waves at the Q Awards the previous evening, enjoyed a round of applause as he sat down at his keyboard to sing. Opening with ‘All I Want’, Max’s relaxing vocals contrasted with the buzz of the crowd and the single spotlight on stage reflected the beautiful simplicity of his forthcoming set. The end of each song was met with applause from the audience as Jury joined in with the growing anticipation for the headline act admitting that it was “a treat being on tour with Jack”. Prior to performing the tune ‘Black Metal’, Max told the audience the origins of the song, and how it was about an unsuccessful date he went on with a girl. Before closing with ‘Home’, Jury told the crowd he would be available for a chat at the back of the venue as he was selling copies of his CD, a reminder of the personal relationship independent artists can still have with their fans.

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Jack Savoretti and his band burst on to the stage at 8.45pm with an eruption of Spanish-style guitar, as the singer welcomed the crowd to the party. The energy was felt immediately, as he opened his set with the single ‘Written in Scars’, which had the audience bopping along to the beat. The intimacy of the venue, although at capacity, lent itself well to Savoretti’s relaxed style of performance. The following tracks ‘Back To Me’ and ‘Fight ‘Til the End’ had everyone clapping and singing along, before Jack introduced ‘Breaking the Rules’, a track released in 2012. He continued to thank the Manchester fans after each song, “You don’t know how much this means” and repeatedly expressed his love for the city, admitting that it’s his “second home in the UK”.

Jack’s refreshing approach to a live performance demonstrated a genuine love for music. His energy was unmistakeable whilst sustaining an immense stage presence, diving into the anthemic ‘Home’ which is due to be released as a single in the future. Savoretti’s husky vocals sailed through a cover of Bob Dylan’s unreleased ‘Nothing ‘Cept You’. Jack put his guitar down for this track and let his voice take centre stage. He explained how he discovered the song whilst writing his second album, ‘Harder than Easy’ and how it kept him going through the toughest times. The emotive lyrics coupled with Savoretti’s remarkable vocal had the Ritz silent as the notes echoed around the venue.

Although most phones were in pockets, a rarity at most gigs nowadays, Savoretti addressed those who were filming their favourite songs, jokingly stating “It’s like talking to witness protection!” The band continued to have the audience dancing, with crowd favourites ‘The Other Side of Love’, ‘For the Last Time’ and ‘Tie Me Down’ – the first single to be released from ‘Written in Scars’ and one which many, according to Jack, think is based on box-office hit ‘50 Shades of Grey’.

The band left the stage to roaring applause and cheers as the crowd demanded more, “We want Jack! We want Jack!” After a quick pause, they returned to perform two final songs. The band took different roles for ‘Dreamers’, one from Savoretti’s debut album ‘Between The Minds’. It was evident throughout the gig that the band had a close relationship as Savoretti introduced each member to the audience at the end of the night: “My Irish lucky charm… the best drummer I ever met… a fine English gentleman on keys… and one of my oldest friends on guitar”.

Savoretti finished with an energetic performance of the single ‘Back Where I Belong’ leaving the crowd buzzing and surely eager to return next time he plays Manchester.

By Natalie Rees

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