Roy Ayers at Band on the Wall, Manchester – Live Review

The jazz-funk pioneer, Roy Ayers, returned to Manchester for a second sell-out show at Band on The Wall. The 78 year old, musical legend was in high demand with fans snapping up tickets in quick succession. Last week he played to thousands at the world’s most famous music festival: Glastonbury. However, for those who couldn’t make it to that epic event, there was still a chance to see the golden oldie play a few dates around the UK. These included Leeds, Dublin, Kendal, and Manchester. 

The night started with support act, DJ Andrea Trout spinning soul and funk records upstairs in the bar. The venue was filling up with eager fans, who started heading towards the basement to find a good spot for the evening. 

The excitable crowd was packed like sardines in the basement, whilst Roy Ayers and his band took to the stage. They started the show with ‘Red, Black and Green’ receiving a huge cheer of appreciation. Ayers took to the mic and started playing his famous vibraphone. The next song followed, ‘Everybody Loves The Sunshine’ which had the crowd singing along to the famous lyrics. 

Image credit: Martin Barratt

The American composer and his band performed more classics on the night, these included ‘Searching’, ‘Love Will Bring Us Back Together’ and ‘Running Away’. He finished the performance with an improvised version of ‘Long Time Ago’ and ‘Don’t Stop The Feeling’. Roy Ayers didn’t steal all the limelight though, with the spotlight being intentionally put on the band for most of the night. Every song was met with a lengthy breakdown, with Ayers sat with his back to the crowd in awe of his talented musicians.

This performance was packed with feel good songs and delivered by one exceptionally tight band. The fans were left wanting more and there was a sense of happiness in the air. Roy Ayers may have age on his side but he certainly knows how to schmooze a crowd.

Cover image credit: Martin Barratt