Back in 2015 a six second clip caught my attention. Showing only two mouths covering Calvin Harris’ recent club hit How deep is your love, I was captivated. A short internet search and I was welcomed with open arms into the family of Us the duo, or just Us, as they were known in the early days.
The duo, made up of husband and wife team Michael and Carissa Alvarado, are not only fabulous performers; they’re absolute fucking couple goals. A quick browse of their charming YouTube and it’s difficult to not be besotted. Video after video of covers and their own original catchy tunes, paired with the total obvious adoration they hold for each other and I was a changed woman, which is why when I heard they were coming to the UK headlining their first European tour I was dangerously close to requiring a triple heart bypass.
For the first time in my life I actually understood what the classic Pointer Sisters meant when they wrote their hit I’m so excited – after years of following (and falling for) a band which meant so much to me personally, I was going to be able to witness the magic LIVE.
Now i’m not going to lie to you – even though I could recite the proposal video, the wedding song and the aforementioned Vine from memory, I had never really concerned myself too much with their original tracks. As a self proclaimed super fan, there was no chance in hell that I was going to rock up to the venue (closest gig was in Sound Control, Manchester) without being able to join in, so back to the good old trusty internet for some
swotting up. After a brief search I was able to obtain the set list from another genuis, amazing, like-minded individual who had been witness to their sorcery in Dallas, US. I made a playlist, and for the next couple of weeks drove my family crazy blasting the duo’s trademark folk-pop tunes.
Then came the gig itself. A mad rush down the M60 stretched out for what seemed like forever, due to the fact my companion had been kept late at work. You can probably imagine my utter joy at hearing this…of all bloody nights! That aside I decided it best to not get my knickers in a twist – Within a few hours I was going to be watching a band that I had only ever seen on the internet…I wasn’t even sure these guys were actually real!
Descending the stairs into the main room the atmosphere was bustling. Soft covers and melodies filled the air and bounced off the red brick walls whilst the eager fans (like myself) attempted inconspicuously to get as close to the stage as possible without offending anyone (c’mon, it’s a British thing!). As close as nerves would allow, it wasn’t long until a chance look over my shoulder allowed me to see Michael and Carissa wading through the crowd – I could have died.
Starting off their set with a medley of hits from 2016 proved popular, as within minutes everyone in the audience was joining in, albeit a little less rowdy than what I was used to. The couple held their own and treated us to a range of songs from their new EP Public Record, complimented by their naturally humourous personalities. I was in my element. Singing as loudly as I could, the relentless practising had paid off and word for word crooned along to songs which effectively tell us the story of their lives. Magic
Quite quickly I twigged that the audience were there for arguably their most famous song, No matter where you are, and unfortunately this was apparent, as at times through no fault of their own the atmosphere felt a bit…flat. In addition, my only other grumble is purely down to the layout of the venue itself, as a wide concrete bollard inches from the stage hampered our view. This was not unnoticed by the band though, and they made a conscious effort to keep peering around said bollard to engage with us throughout the gig.
Personal highlights included Goodbye Forever and Fighting for you, yet a request constantly repeated from the audience (Oasis’ Wonderwall…this is Manchester I suppose) sealed off what I had completely expected; a stellar performance from two complete professionals, accompanied with the coolest, happiest, well written songs I could think of. I’m so pleased I had the chance of attending this gig, as it really did sum up for me exactly why I do what I do – for finding the relatively unknown, and witnessing the genuine magic that they create.
Until next time,