See Emily Play, Molly Warburton and Pipa Moran: Night and Day, Manchester

Tonight at Night and Day we’re treated to a triple-bill of female fronted talent. While no musician should be judged on their gender alone, it’s still unfortunately rare to see a line up like tonight’s trio of phenomenal female performers. See Emily Play was the first female act to win an Exposed Award in her native Sheffield, and this evening’s performance shows us why she deserved it.

First up is Pipa Moran, a solo artist with a powerful voice and a penchant for sweet, simple love songs. The sentiments may be a bit clichéd but her amazing vocal range keeps the audience from losing interest. Moran spices up her set with a cover of Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’ and a mash up of Mumford and Sons and Ben Howard; putting her own spin on two often-covered hits. The highlight of her performance is her original song ‘Puppet’, and she displays amazing vocal confidence and talent on a cover of ‘Titanium’.

Molly Warburton and her band take to the stage next, changing the pace of the evening with their folk-rock sound and driving basslines. Molly’s unique and soulful voice is attention-grabbing and has the qualities of a singer with years of experience behind her, and the lead guitar is reminiscent of blues-era rock. Tracks like ‘Endless Night’ , ‘What The Night May Bring’ are an uplifting blend of folk and pop, while ‘Nowhere’ and ‘People On The Streets’ take a more serious, emotive direction. The band’s energy is non-stop throughout the performance, and Molly’s voice sets the act apart from the usual run of the mill acoustic folk acts.

As the night draws on, the main act finally gets into position at Night and Day. Contrary to her modest, almost self-deprecating presence offstage, Emily Ireland’s stage persona is captivating and instantly has the attention of the room. Launching straight into their first song with no holding back, the band are so in sync its hard to believe this is their first gig together since before Christmas. The piano-driven tunes are dark and dramatic, and similarities could be drawn to both rockier acts and more theatrical pop. Emily switches from piano to guitar for ‘What To Do’, which has a more mellow vibe, followed by a song which she describes as sounding like it should be about a cowboy (it does).

The gig is slightly haphazard at times, but the occasional off-key note is hardly noticeable in the flurry of energy which See Emily Play brings to the Night and Day stage. The rest of the band take a break while Emily gives a solo performance of ‘The Best Day’ and the appreciative crowd falls quiet to absorb the simple yet sweet melody and heartfelt lyrics. After a whirlwind of a performance, See Emily Play ends with ‘Miss Penelope’, a raunchy, big-band style number which has the audience cheering for more. If you prefer your rock music with a touch of glamour, See Emily Play manages to please a crowd with her effortless talent and musicality. While it might veer on the musical theatre side at times it’s never cheesy, and you can’t help but be drawn in by Emily’s wonderful personality. Big things must surely be on the cards for this girl in 2014 as she continues to take any stage she graces by storm.