Manhugs in Wakefield on a Monday night


Monday night this week was gig night. I dusted off the gig jacket and we headed over to The Hop in Wakefield to see one of our favourite singers Simone Felice. I’ve written about him before as I’ve seen him live quite a few times, but this was a uniquely intimate gig at a very small venue.

The Hop is essentially a bar that hosts bands in their upper room, which I’m guessing will hold around 60 people comfortably and I reckon there were about 40 people there. This is quite a low attendance for Simone Felice as we’ve seen him easily fill the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds, which is much larger. He was clearly in the mood for doing some low-key gigs and this was the opening night of his UK tour.

Simone sings from the heart with a passion and depth of feeling rarely seen in performers. He seems to dredge up every ounce of angst and joy and delivers it powerfully through every song he sings. How he keeps that level of intensity going night after night is beyond me – it must drain him of every ounce of energy. He leaves absolutely nothing on the stage after every performance.

This tour he is singing, unusually, with a bass and lead guitar player which lent a more muscular air to his songs which can be delicate and fragile, but this production gave every song a more amped up vibe and when Felice jumped on the drum kit we were firmly in rock and roll territory.

At the end of a moving and engaging set, Felice did his usual trick of stepping off the stage and into the crowd, seeking out everyone for a thank-you, handshake or as in my case, manhug. This is remarkable moment and very unusual in terms of gigs. How many live acts have you seen that make sure everyone is thanked as brother and sister? Of course we were suitably wowed enough to buy tickets for his next local gig in York on the 1st July.

Manhugs ahoy!


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