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Gallery and review: Clairo brings her emotional indie-rock leaning melodies to Manchester

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Featured image: Georgina Hurdsfield

On her first UK run in three years, American singer-songwriter Clairo (AKA Claire Cottrill) made a triumphant return to Manchester with a stunning performance at Academy 1 and it’s safe to say she didn’t disappoint.

Donning a navy blazer, grey trousers and a white t-shirt to play the penultimate night of the world tour she has spent the majority of this year on – it was no surprise to hear cheers in their thousands as the singer walked out to play the fully sold out 2,600 capacity venue.

Performing a perfect combination of the entirety of 70s inspired sophomore effort ‘Sling’ alongside older hits from her discography, initially it was hard to figure out how the newer material would go down with the audience due to its slower tempo but it took mere seconds for them to warm up to opening track ‘Bambi’.

Accompanied by a six-piece band of multi-instrumentalists on with the stage design mimicking a swanky living room, fancy lamps and all, it was clear to see that despite her sometimes shy demeanour; the stage is where Clairo feels most comfortable. 

Photography: Georgina Hurdsfield

There was a palpable excitement in the room as a guitar tech brought on an electric guitar, addressing her audience with a twinkle in her eye and a huge grin from ear to ear. Then it was suddenly time to focus on the indie-rock leaning melodies of debut record ‘Immunity’.

‘Bags’ was a highlight of the evening, a highly relatable track about being unable to tell somebody that you like them. The crowd erupted and it was almost impossible to hear Clairo for the audience screaming every lyric, which she met with the encouragement to ‘sing like you mean it,’ especially once it came to the bridge.

‘Softly’ and ‘Alewife’ followed, the latter signalling that it was time for some sadder songs as fans held up signs inscribed with the words ‘We are so proud of you Clairo’ as part of a fan project, before the singer and her band launched back into the quieter tones of ‘Sling’.

With most of this album ruminating on struggles with mental health among other things, songs like ‘Blouse’ and ‘Just for Today’ made for an emotional few moments as fans tightly gripped their friends while they cried. 

As the end of the night was fast approaching, it was time to bring out the classics – bedroom pop tracks like ‘4EVER’, ‘Flaming Hot Cheetos’ (a recent re-addition to the set) and ‘Pretty Girl’ that contrast with the laid back tones of ‘Sling’ but after all, they are what made Clairo a star.

Finishing with ‘Sofia’, a favourite among many of her queer non-male fans, she produced a film camera to snap photos of her audience as she skipped around the stage before bidding a fond farewell.

This sold out night at the Academy felt like Clairo at her best and most intimate, an unforgettable two hours that made the almost agonising three year wait more than worth it.

Gallery: Georgina Hurdsfield

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Minty Slater Mearns

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