Macy Gray - Manchester Apollo - 7.6.02

Welcome to the weird dysfunctional world of Macy Gray - a Technicolor dream world that makes the Osbornes look like your average family. With a red shoes and a red wig to match Macy stands like the lone soldier with simply a guitar for back up and unleashes her biggest hit to date "I Try" to an bemused audience, which kind of shrugs its shoulders in unison with the sigh of "we might as well go and make last orders". Naturally when you start off at your highest point the only way is down and Macy slowly but surely takes us to the lowest low stealing from her musical heroes James Brown and George Clinton along the way culminating in a Harry Hill nightmare scenario of Macy Gray's mooning ass!!!

Some thing's just shouldn't happen and Macy Gray asking the audience Do You Like Sex? before replying in her best Marge Simpson impression "I love It!!!!!!" is one of them. Its nightmare inducing and if there's one thing worse than cheese before bedtime its the words "Macy Gray" and "Sex" in the same sentence. After attending the Anti-Royal Variety show a week earlier and having the image of The Queen and Oral Sex put in my head during Chloe Poem's rendition of "The Queen Sucks Nazi Cock" and now this...I'm destined to spend my days locked away in a monastery with celibate images.

But its a sex drenched show from "Sex-o-Matic" to "Sexual Revolution" and for those who want more than the cheap thrill of a one night stand there's classic love songs like the aforementioned "I Try" and the fantastic single "Sweet Baby". For at least the first half hour musically it like a naive schoolboy fumbling and experimenting but never really getting in right -raw to the bone and unrehearsed. Mistakes are made and its brushed off with a casual typical Macy chic, but once the musicians work there way in its a saxomatic experience for her 10 strong band featuring an overblown 70s prog rock keyboard set-up and two backing singers which are more than able to cover up Macy's stoned slip-ups.

In Macy's World you either get a great show or a terrible show and tonight we got the middle ground between to the two polars. Perhaps not as slick as last time she played the Manchester Apollo, but still one of the most interesting characters in pop right now and proving that for every bland artists like Sade or Tweet there's always a Macy or an Outkast to play ying to their yang.

Alex McCann

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