The Lathums

Albert Hall Manchester // Saturday 11th March 2023

“The Great Escape” – a MoshMag review by Daniel Bowdler

I know we often start these reviews talking about the weather and I know full well how cliched that is, but man alive, the weather on Saturday night was atrocious, and very typically Mancunian! Wet, cold and windy, it made the process of getting about town a right pain in the arse. Those familiar with Albert Hall in Manchester will know it’s slap bang in the middle of “Big Night Out” country. The clientele of the clubs and bars surrounding Albert Hall looked pristine, obviously some time had been spent planning their outfits however weather proof they are not. Every doorway and bar front crammed with revellers sheltering from the sleety cats and dogs. The scrum outside next doors Peaky Blinders bar making a mockery of Tommy’s “no fucking fighting” decree. Pushing and dodging our way through (Manchester’s vaping community and early session fallers being coaxed into an ever decreasing number of cabs) to the homely sanctuary of a night in with The Lathums.

Every time I see The Lathums I’m struck by just how decent they seem. Singer/songwriter Alex Moore’s manner almost cartoonishly the friendly Northerner. If he wasn’t such a talented songwriter he’d have surely been written into Corrie to play himself.

Hailing from Wigan it felt as though they’d brought half the town with them. With it’s rich musical history Wigan is on something of a hot streak at present with the Lathums very much leading the way for their Wigan Peers. With the Saturday night crowd, shoehorned into every nook and cranny of the beautiful old Albert Hall, quick to remind them of their ever increasing list of success?

“Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na, UK Number 1 Number 1, UK Number 1” the lads new album From Nothing to a Little Bit More recent chart success celebrated from the get-go. We weren’t there to watch The Lathums as such, but support them. Say My Name opened proceedings, punctuated by a huge confetti canon, talk about start as you mean to go on.

Left: Alex Moore holds up The Lathums Number 1 Award in front of the sold out Manchester Albert Halls

Land and Sky and I can See Your Ghost followed, with Moore prowling the shadowy stage like a well-shod tom cat. You could be forgiven for thinking they were trying out a new direction, a move away from the warm Lancastrian dynamic. That is until Moore addresses the crowd for the first time. “We all OK Luv’s? This morning I was having root canal surgery on this specific tooth (pointing inside his mouth) so I could sing this specific song”.

It was at this point that we encountered our first and only hiccup, when some of the more boisterous elements took Moore’s lyrics a little too literally. Just because an artist sings “fight on” doesn’t mean you have to literally start fighting. Makes me thankful The Lathums don’t do a cover of Come on Eileen.

From my birds eye view it seemed the kerfuffle was little more than pushing and shoving, but The Lathums run a tight ship. Nobody better be getting angsty here. I’m being genuinely serious. If someone’s not being alright move away. We’re all here to have fun and I know you want to jump around a bit but people might get hurt. I want you to have a good time but I want you all to have a good time.” See, he’s just so bloody lovely he’s in danger of becoming ‘mother’s favourite Alex Moore’. “If this next one doesn’t chill you all out, I don’t know what will” before reminding us How Beautiful Life Can Be.

Speaking of mothers, I Know Pt 1 was tributed to “all the bloody lovely women” in the bands lives, fitting in the week of International Women’s Day (19th November since you asked – I’ve got your back Richard Herring) before a classic example of misdirection. “This is the first time we’ve played this one, it’s a very new song” Moore explained, tricking this reporter into anticipating a ‘scoop’. “Ahhh Ha!!” Moore endearingly yelled as The Great Escape revealed itself, he had me fooled.

Sad Face Baby closed the set proper, with the crowd seizing the opportunity before the encore for a little more “Na Na Na, UK Number 1’ing” . “I’m going to research the longest chant on tour and the next time we come back we’re going to beat it” Moore promised. By my reckoning the record currently stands at 1 minute 38 seconds…yes, I counted!

“We’re feeling the love tonight, the only way we can pay that love back is by playing you a song” as the show was brought to a close with final songs Artificial Scenes and Struggle. The crowd slowly dispersed down the creaking old Albert Hall staircases, a struggle of our own at times it must be said, and straight back into the cold chaotic Manchester streets. A stark contrast with the cosiness of our new found Lathums family. The delay giving everyone an opportunity to appreciate what we had just enjoyed.

The Lathums are an excellent band with an adoring, and ever increasing, loyal fanbase. Their songs are varied, from sweet 60s-esq pop songs, to sweeping rock ballads, there’s even a touch of the Greatest Showman’s A Million Dreams to The Great Escape. Which seems apt, as those of us with kids can tell you (that’s my excuse anyway), the Greatest Showman is about P. T. Barnum. a businessman from humble beginnings who’s somewhat unconventional act became a roaring success. Sound familiar?

Conventional is overrated anyway. Fashion’s come and go. One minute you’re the dogs bollocks the next you look like a twat. Substance is what it’s all about and The Lathums have that in spades. Well, substance and being good human beings; and in a country is drowning in “successful” talentless arseholes The Lathums are a welcome antidote. Moore may not be the Fonz, but The Lathums look set to give us all many many more happy days.

The Lathums are currently touring the UK, showcasing their second No.1 Album – From Nothing To A Little More. The rest of the tour includes sold out dates in Norwich, Cardiff, Nottingham, Birmingham and London. They’ll be back in the UK in May, (after a flurry of European shows) performing some very intimate in-store shows up and down the country, culminating in a huge show at Manchester Castlefield Bowl in June, and some obligatory festival appearances! Don’t miss out!

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