Live Zone

Novo Amor, New Century Hall, Manchester,11th April 2024



The venue? Sleek and modern. The crowd? Young and good looking. The band? Novo Amor.

Manchester, the penultimate gig of the UK tour, with London’s 3,000+ capacity Roundhouse tonight (12th April), before shows in Europe, Ireland, the US and Canada keeping Nova Amor on the road until October.

This historic venue, which underwent a multi-million pound refurbishment – which has seen the likes of Jimi Hendrix perform here – is a stone’s throw from Manchester’s famed arena.

Novo Amor

The lights had been dimmed in the minutes leading up to 9pm last night, the crowd slowly but surely filling up the hall, until the rear doors became difficult to squeeze through – 800 capacity reached – and a wispy, smoke-machine haze blanketed the first few rows.

It was through this fog that Novo Amor appeared, heralded by applause and cheers; their arrival made all the more exciting by the light show which accompanied it; flashes and strobes and lasers darting out from all sides of the stage.

Ali Meredith-Lacey (aka Ali Lacey and Novo Amor), took centre stage, flanked by a group of musicians who are massively talented in their own right, and the first notes of “First Place” drifted over the excited audience.

Long extended notes hang from bass guitars, and keyboards fill the space with what sounds like an orchestra tuning up; building atmosphere and anticipation. The multi-instrumentalists change over to different instruments often. [Credit to the stage crew and sound guys].

“I asked Chat GPT to write some stage banter for me”, laughs the Welsh songsmith. “I like to imagine that our songs are little boats sailing out to your hearts”, was one artificially intelligent piece of stage chat, which, while said in jest, held a kernel of truth. “I don’t really have anything to say”, the frontman joked. “But I’m happy to be here”.

He might not have had much to tell the Mancunian audience, but his music certainly did. “I love you”, shouted a girl at the front during the closing notes of “Decimal”, one of a few times in the set she let her emotions become audible and yelled out the same phrase.

Perhaps it is a symptom of Novo Amor’s songwriting that much of the crowd was in pairs, a couple-heavy gig, and it was hard to look around and not see someone getting a kiss. Although a small five-man mosh pit almost opened up during the encore, so it wasn’t all lovey-dovey. Talking of love: one of Ali’s guitars he informs us, was handmade for him by his dad.

Novo Amor seamlessly navigated a 20-song set, replete with new material and crowd classics; songs from his fifth album, “Collapse List” which dropped on 5th April and dipping into previous long players – while the screen at the rear of the stage showed different scenes to each song.

For their slower numbers, stars twinkle behind the group, glittering constellations shift and map themselves out, backdropping the jangle of picked guitar and pressed keys. For their heavier numbers, lights flash and swell in time with cymbal crashes and power chords, the overall effect being incredibly immersive.


More crowd interaction nearer the end, as bandmate Ed tunes up: “Anyone got any questions?” A few random suggestions emit from the crowd:  “How are you?”, “How often do you think of the Roman Empire?”, “What did you have for tea?”. [FYI: He had Wagamama’s.]


Nova Amor Manchester

There is something about the music of Novo Amor that has something of an opiate effect. Perhaps it is the ethereal harmonies produced by almost all members of the group, their voices syncopating and melting into one.

Perhaps it is the slightly mystical lyrical content. Perhaps it is the calming combination of slide guitar and trombone. Whatever it is; tranquillity is the end result. As with all opiates and tranquilisers however, there is the danger of overdose…

Novo Amor’s brand of lavish folk-pop can at times, for me, become a wee bit samey, with a few of the songs seeming to run into each other and, to the layman, could possibly be mistaken for repeats by some people.

However, their overall sound is lush, soothing and Mr Lacey and his pals undisputedly treated Manchester’s New Century Hall to a quality night of music and entertainment.

  • Support came from lowswimmer, aka Ed Tullett, a sometime Novo Amor recording collaborator and a member of Nova Amor’s band [he announced he is leaving the ensemble after two more shows!]



Words: Harry Sharples

Photos: Romy Caton-Jones




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