Star rating – 5/10
It felt exciting to be going to a gig in Chorlton – it’s not West Didsbury but it’s the next best thing. The Handsome Family played at St Clements' Church as part of Chorlton Arts Festival, and a suitable proportion of the audience came with sandals and beards, having left their lentils at home.
They’re a bit of an odd couple, to put it mildly. Brett Sparks spent the whole set grumpily moaning and having to be pandered to be his charming wide Rennie. ‘You’re doing fine’ she would say as he forgot his lines (again) or fluffed the odd chord.
Their songs are folk ballads about murder, creatures from the deep, and fabled giants, many based on true events. She has a lovely voice and calming presence. He prefers to dwell in darker, more melancholy places, with a loud, gruff voice to match. The church was very hot - not an ideal summer gig venue perhaps, and it felt like a set from Beauty and the Beast. If Beauty had featured on more vocals I think I would have enjoyed it more, but the big Beast Sparks, with copious pints of beer to help him along, was definitely on top this night.