Trof Fallowfield, Manchester | 23rd January
Trof is a venue that welcomes only the finest acts breaking across the country, so it’s no surprise that, having cancelled their previously booked date in November due to illness, the door was left open for Stubborn Heart.
Fortunately there are no parasites or health-encroaching entities in the vicinity tonight, as made evident by the mesmerizing strength of Luca Santucci’s outstanding, soulful vocal. The modest frontman is a warming centrepoint for the ‘electronic soul’ duo, restrained in his physical movements but fascinatingly emotive in his delivery. Eerie silences from the crowd in between songs are not for lack of attention; there is a beauty in the music here that is a binding, subduing force, evoking a romantic ambience. This is also somewhat fuelled by the venue’s soundsystem, which if nothing else explicates that Stubborn Heart’s sound is one that would be better contained in grander venues.
Ben Fitzgerald’s multi-instrumentalism at the back of the stage does a decent job of emulating a ‘live’ performance too, bringing as much of the album to life as possible with synths, beats and samples. At the end of a long and varied set the duo are clearly humbled by the insatiable audience response, but are not undeserving of it – this was a pristine performance.
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Words: James Balmont