Doug Walker - Jabez Clegg Manchester - 3.10.06

Later this evening Paolo Nutini will be playing to a thousand people at the Academy 2, but prior to that Designer Magazine caught Manchester's own one man answer to the Feeling. Surprisingly this is the first time your correspondent has had the chance to see him in action after the Sugababes, late trains and just about everything else managed to scupper our chances
to see him at his various gigs around the city, but the wait was worth it for this rare full band show from Doug which sees him avoiding the Keane set-up previous incarnations have seen.

Touring around the world in a Legs Akimbo style musical theatre Doug is no stranger to any size of stage from smaller gig such as this through to performing solo at the Royal Albert Hall with a ninety piece orchestra but deep down pop music is his real love. Earlier this year Doug reached the finals of Popworld Promotes and out of 1000s of entries that month came second only to a teenage punk pop band who had put together a full street team to aid their win.

With a demo produced by Matt Wanstall, brother of Athlete's keyboard played Tim Wanstall, the production values are high that are difficult to recreate live and throughout tonight's set you wish Walker would invest in a dat tape to fill out those spaces , which although allowing the song to breathe, don't sound full enough in the same way that the Feelings organic set up does at the moment. That said the songs are some of the best Designer magazine have heard all year with songs such as "Wealthy Man" managing to stand up to the already magnificent "Stranger Than Fiction" and beautiful "My Delight".

Doug Walker has the songs in place at the moment and with a band behind him full time he really could start to develop that sound and add those much needed ingredients to make it the fuller sound these songs deserve. With the right breaks and the right support slots this man could be Manchester's answer to any of the litany of singer-songerwriters out there at the moment

Alex McCann

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