Billy Seagrave headed into the spiritual heart of Manchester Cathedral, for what would be an emotional performance from American country singer Zach Bryan.
At the age of 17, Zach joined the United States Navy but in his free time, he was writing songs and recording his performances on YouTube, he went viral with his song “Heading South.”
He released his debut studio album “DeAnn.” In 201, It was followed by “Elisabeth” in 2020. which peaked at 192 on the US Billboard 200 this drew attention from the country music industry. On April 10, 2021, he was signed by Warner Records.
In 2021 he released his first major-label studio album, “American Heartbreak.” It became his first Top 10 album in both the US and Canada and contained his first single to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, “Something in the Orange,” which peaked at number 10.
As I arrived at the cathedral there was already a line of excited and exuberant fans lined up outside and as the doors opened the rush for the barrier was on and almost instantly the 1000-plus venue was full all here for a night of alternative country. And now the atmosphere was starting to build, maybe it was the Holy place we were all gathered in but there was something in the air.
But first, it was the support for the whole tour Oscar Corney, an independent singer-songwriter from Cambridge. Drawing from a wide range of influences from country to indie, pop and rock which has all comes together in a songwriting style that showcases his unique voice. Tonight we are treated to a set of brilliantly crafted indie pop songs, performed to perfection, think Sam Fender, Only The Poets and you are on the right track
I first came across Zach, through his YouTube videos, so here I am In a Cathedral in the heart of Manchester, surrounded by a fan base that has been brought here through the same process.
What I was not expecting was how powerful and emotive it would be, as the band take to the stage, Zach looks out at the face’s in front of him and this this amazing setting “Alright Manchester, it’s an honour to be here, thank you for coming out”, A sea of mobile phones and cameras light up, as did the hair on the back of my neck, “Open the gate”, starts and the crowd are already singing word for word.
Next up is “God Speed”, and the crowd get louder there is surely going to be some sore throats tomorrow. A rare outing of “Deep Satin”, follows and it’s evident that Bryan is a storyteller, documenting the experience of the poor, the ex-servicemen, and the tired and messed up people that get left behind and forgotten. His music IS his American and Bryan epitomises the “American Dream”. Throughout “Dawns” and “Something in the Orange” I was lost in the moment, with several lines hitting home. It’s clear now why so many couples are here tonight, his songs, sit next to you and whisper in your ear.
“Oklahoma Smoke Show” sees the excellent band up their game, and its powerful, “Snow”, and “68 Fastback”, became a real singalong, I feel that we are witnessing something very special here, as we head into the penultimate song, “Heavy Eyes”, Bryan is fully orchestrating the crowd, and they are playing their part, the last song of the set is “Burn, burn, burn”, is jaw-droppingly excellent, with an opening line of lyrics that brings out a raw and raucous crowd, “Everyone seems a damn genius lately, Tik -Tok talking, Late night TV, and there’s still so much I have yet to know”. The cameras are still aloft the voices in full song, and the set finishes, the crowd are begging for one more song, one more song, one more song.
After what seemed like a ten-minute break, more like three, the band start returning to the stage, Bryan has already started playing the introduction to, “Revival”, as he enters the stage walks to the front the band all lined up at the back singing along, as Bryan builds the crowd up the bands come in with their instruments and the final few minutes of shear excellence and bliss is played out, this was a set of epic proportions. One I am happy to of been a part of, one that will have me in years to come, saying, I was there. As a debut tour, this gig has been one of the best I have ever attended.
1/ Open the gate!
2/ God Speed
3/ Deep Satin
4/ Quittin time
5/ Highway boys
6/ Fifth of May
7/ Heading South
8/ The good I’ll do.
10/ Something in the Orange
12/ Oklahoma City
13/ She’e alright
14/ 68 Fastback
15/ Heavy eyes
16/ Burn, Burn, Burn
FOLLOW ZACH BRYAN
FOLLOW OSCAR CORNEY