All images © Mike Powell
“If you were here last time then good on you. If you were here the time before, go and see our manager to get your money back – we’re wasting your time” jokes Spector front man Fred Macpherson for one of his mid set wisecracks.
This is the third time that Spector have taken to The Duchess’ stage in their short career: it would be reasonable to believe that they’ve taken quite a fancy to the place. With the release of their debut album now a hazy memory and the media hype which stalked them through the summer of last year now faded, Spector are snug in the middle of a tour of intimate venues: trialling new songs and indulging the crowd in what can already be described as much loved classics.
Support for the night makes for a thoroughly enjoyable addition to the evening as York based band Blueprints win over the audience with their charm and Btown band Jaws create fuzzy, sun kissed melodies.
The main focus of Spector’s performance will always be the entertainment; even if this is solely acquired from the choice of attire. Tonight, Fred struts on stage in a smart suit coupled with Dr Marten boots and the thick set spectacles he is renowned for. He is met by an adoring crowd with some members even verging on hard-core fans. Although Spector’s achievements stretch to the dizzy heights of selling out Shepherd’s Bush Empire, something about their performance lends itself well to a more modest venue. This is perfectly demonstrated as a star struck fan reaches out to hand Fred a hand crafted, heart shaped and glittered badge of his very own face to which, clearly moved, he makes an impromptu yet eloquent speech of gratitude.
A year on from their last visit to York, Spector’s songs are just as enthusiastically received as the front rows sing along to each and every perfectly recited word; pushing and shoving to grapple Fred’s hand for a friendly handshake with no intention of letting go. The band themselves perform with vibrancy- lurching themselves around the stage and regularly putting the trust in the audience’s faultless knowledge of lyrics as the microphone is handed to the crush of bodies at the barrier.
Highlight of the set is, as expected, Chevy Thunder which remains by far their strongest song but No Adventure is a close second and the new songs which are sprinkled throughout the set are very promising.
There may be an air of smarminess about the band, and the songs may be- at best- good pop songs but, behind the slick combed hair and the pretentiousness, Spector are a band of wit and there is no doubt that their lyrics magnify fairly standard tunes into poignant pop.