Chad Valley @ Glasslands, 4/12/13

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Chad ValleyOn Friday, 12 April, Chad Valley put on a groovy performance at Glasslands. Chad Valley is the solo project of Hugo Manuel, vocalist of Oxford’s indie band Jonquil and founding member of the Blessing Force collective. With Chad Valley, Manuel has taken his songs in more of an electronic direction, radiating lush synths and emotive lyrics.

The show got a bit of a late start, with a quick and quiet setup by the band after the opening act. Glasslands reeked of a frat party and was rather photo unfriendly, with lots of darkness and red lighting. Manuel had two band mates on stage with him, who initially seemed excessive since the last show he’d played (at Brooklyn Bowl) featured only him.

Manuel belted out his honest lyrics with unbridled emotion, and I heard the girls next to me remark that he was “adorable.” His male band mate played the drum kit, which always looks a little like air drumming when viewed from way too close up. His female band mate was sparkly and her stage presence grew on me throughout the show. All of his songs sounded excellent. Manuel called his song “Evening Surrender” a “slow jam on a Friday night.” He played a groovy interlude that rolled very nicely into the song “Up and Down.” In between songs, the downward and sideward smiles he’d give in response to audience reactions really matched what those girls had been talking about earlier.

At the end of the show, Manuel thanked the audience and commented on how meaningful it was to play again at the venue where he first played in New York. One of the last songs he played was “Shell Suite,” one of the most beautiful ones of all.

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