Michael Manring gig


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I just got back from seeing Michael Manring and Steve Lawson play at the Round Midnight bar in Angel. It was a truly inspirational experience. I managed to find someone to share the experience with me, as the majority of my friends don't share the same love of the bass guitar!

Steve Lawson used a lot of looping and other effects and created some interesting and clearly accomplished soundscapes. He then played with Michael Manring and things became really interesting.

Michael Manring's solo performance was phenomenal. It was a completely immersive experience, no longer a bass guitar but an entire world of sound; something that removed me from the room – a transcendental experience. I always think that if I go to a gig and at one point I get shivers up my spine, then it's been worthwhile. There was a time this evening where chills ran up my back. His track Helios was a real high point.

He technical prowess and wonderful musicality made for a completely captivating night in a small bar, off Upper Street, 95% full of bass players. It varied from majestic Eastern influenced compositions – to funky, rhythmic slap and fast finger plucking. He used an E-bow at points and a Boss GT-3 pedal.

I shook his hand at the end of the gig and said: 'That was a genuine pleasure – you've changed my perspective on playing the bass guitar'. I meant it. I could see various small ideas I'd had, or avenues I'd started to go down and then for some reason stopped, that he'd taken to the nth degree and created fully formed musical concepts. It made me think, why did I not pursue that, what stopped me? I'll now be practicing harder than ever.

His influences were at some point very obvious, it's no mystery that he's influenced by Jaco and there was one song where he'd basically taken the harmonic run at the beginning of 'A Portrait of Tracy' and made a whole composition from that. It sounds trite to pinpoint a reference like that as he's taken his own pioneering style of playing to an exceptional level.

If you haven't already checked out Michael Manring then I strongly urge you to – he also seemed like a really humble, decent guy.

The whole experienced reminded me how important it is get out and see these guys play. I learnt more in one evening of listening than I could think possible.



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zardoz said,

December 20, 2009 @ 3:29 pm

some great tunes over at Michaels Myspace. Its a pity he isnt keeping it up to date. If he ever gets over to the UK id love to see him live.


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