Esprit D’Air (with support from Nebulesse) – Rebellion, Manchester

Esprit D’Air (with support from Nebulesse)
Rebellion, Manchester
Live Review by Laura Barnes

Now, prior to this night I hadn’t been to a gig in what feels like an agonizingly long time, so allow me to self-indugently set the scene here. It is a scorching Tuesday evening in Manchester. The streets are busy with jolly day-drinkers making the most of lingering sun. Outside of the Rebellion bar stands a small queue, in which people of all ages, genders and subcultures mingle excitedly as they wait for the doors to open. Rebellion is exactly the kind of venue I was craving: all wood-chipped and sticky-floored with just a tad of peeling fluorescent paint. It is also an intimate venue: perfect for a night like this one. 

Manchester locals Nebulesse were the first and only support act, and boy-oh-boy do they do their job with gusto. Nebulesse play what can best be described as noughties style alt-rock, but my more creative description is this: emo with a deliciously spicy kick. Being a support act can be challenging, especially when playing to a fanbase as dedicated as Esprit D’Air’s – more on this later – but Nebulesse handled this challenge with ease, winning the crowd over in what felt like an instant. If there were any doubters, they were soon silenced by Nebulesse’s rousing cover of My Chemical Romance’s ‘House of Wolves’. A special mention must be made here to Nebulesse’s absolutely electric frontwoman Pix, who commanded the crowd in an authentic and characteristically Northern way. By the end of their set, people were enthusiastically singing along to the anthemic ‘No More Waiting’. Nebulesse aren’t just a band that give you a good bloody show, but are also one you would happily grab a pint with at the end of the night. I recommend you check them out sooner than later; they are one to watch.

With the band all fired up, it was time for Esprit D’Air themselves. Esprit D’Air, it seems, are suckers for a dramatic entrance – one by one the band members enter the stage to rapturous applause, accompanied by the cinematic ‘Into The Oceans’ intro track. The biggest cheer arose when frontman Kai arrived. Dressed in loose black robes and silver jewelry, he looked like a very joyous grim reaper. And that joy was infectious! Although Esprit D’Air’s music is emotive and has a strong focus on personal struggles, there was something euphoric about the whole night. It is rare for a band to enjoy performing as much as the crowd enjoys watching, but this gig saw the band and the crowd feeding each other’s excitement until it filled the entire room.  Esprit D’Air played a very no-nonsense set; the focus was very clearly on the music, with only brief introductions to their hits. Such a focus really allowed for their musicianship to shine. The killer drum solo in the first half of the set was the perfect way to keep the crowd on their toes, and set the live Esprit D’Air experience apart from the studio album experience. Likewise, within the dark walls of Rebellion, the guitar solos were much larger and more powerful than on the albums. Free from glossy production, Esprit D’Air unleashed their full potential. It was delightful.

Another special mention here must go out to the fans. Gigs are always places of camaraderie and friendship, but Esprit D’Air have fostered a whole community of fans. People who had only ever spoken on the dedicated fan Discord server met each other for the first time, exchanging gifts and hugs aplenty. Half the crowd already seemed to know each other, and the other half all made friends over the course of the show. Gigs are life-affirming events, and as frontman Kai serenaded the crowd with ‘Guiding Light’ I remembered why I had missed them so much.


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Laura Barnes and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

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