JEFF Wootton has recently kicked off with his solo career after touring and collaborating with a magnitude of iconic artists over the years. On Wednesday (March 23) he was back in his hometown of Manchester playing the infamous Night and Day Cafe. Amy Williams was there for us…

Being a former Gorrillaz guitarist, Wootton’s experience on the instrument is monumental and shown on his new album ‘The Way The Light’ which was released last month. Not only does he use the guitar, but he plays a transcendent amount of instruments all by himself to make the music.

Wootton recently supported Blur on their tour and featured on Massive Attack’s new EP, but his new solo material is new to us all and will be the cause of his rising fame. With Damien Hirst designing the artwork for his album and the release being on vinyl as a limited edition, there is something intriguing about Wootton’s solo emergence.

Supporting Jeff Wootton was Nev Cottee Band who set a wonderful vibe for the already very atmospheric venue that had walls smothered in band posters and draped with fairy lights. Playing psychedelic symphonies and chatting to the audience from the stage, the band created a resounding standard for the night.

As more and more people poured into Night and Day Cafe, the crowd responses grew louder, and Nev Cottee Band left the stage having warmed everyone up ready for Jeff Wootton to follow on.

If you were ever to find an aura of cool emitted from the stage, it would be from Jeff Wootton and his band. That wouldn’t be one of arrogance – although he had every right to be – it was one that you could only describe as natural. Beginning the night with ‘Sea Of Sound‘, Wootton arrived in front of a rather packed Night and Day Café wearing his leather jacket with an electric guitar ready to rock.

The riffs from Wootton were unbelievable, and this instrumental forced the crowd to be in complete ore of each musician on stage. The drummer had an energy that you could not miss and had a noticeable passion for what he did; facial expressions, dramatized drum hits and smiles made it clear that he was completely immersed in the brilliant music composition.

The Way The Light Bends Around You‘ is a slower song from the album but was one that is memorable from the performance. With lyrical choices provoking reflection, the remarkable track enhanced the atmosphere and maintained everyone’s attention.

Sometimes- with all the band working together with incredible vocals – the music had a feel of Sisters Of Mercy in parts, where the riffs in vocals from the backing singer created amazement alongside the band making heavy and complex undertones.

Wootton referenced how he was back in his hometown, proclaiming that he was in “the greatest city in the world” which was “the centre of the universe”. He broadcasted his northern accent as he interacted with his fans, and you could tell with his presence on stage he had a love for being on the Manchester stage.

Finishing with ‘Sonic Drips‘, Jeff Wootton and his accompaniment left the stage with an echo of The End drowning through the speakers. After this one brought more funk, the audience were left with complete satisfaction and applause that elongated until after the lights came up.

Throughout the entirety of the night, the movement on stage looked natural and the appearance of everything on stage aligned perfectly with the genre; that aura of cool stayed until the very end. Even though Wootton isn’t used to being a front man, after you attend one of his gigs you know that he was born to make and perform music.

By Amy Williams 

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