A pretty perfect way to wind down on a Sunday evening, Shaun Ponsonby takes in some Manchester soul on Bold Street.  

Manchester’s Mica Millar has been tipped as one to watch from a whole host of trusted sources, including BBC Introducing.

To launch her latest single The Defender, Leaf is decked out accordingly. The tables are filled with candles, there’s a relaxed atmosphere on a surprisingly warm Sunday night. It feels like the right place to be.

As Millar and her band take to the stage, the first thing that becomes apparent is that the stage at Leaf is somehow able to fit ten people – four of them backing singers. Who knew?!

The backing singers add an almost gospel element to the performance. This is fairly apt. She is clearly steeped in soul. Several songs, such as Heaven Knows, have these subtle organ flourishes that come right out of the Al Green sound.

You could argue that lyrically she isn’t presenting anything new. These are classic themes. But then that’s not the point. Her soul sells these songs. As does her elegance. Somehow she captures the atmosphere effortlessly.

👉Diversity is the biggest issue in the Liverpool music scene👈

The only real downside was out of her hands. One intoxicated gentleman without a ticket somehow managed to burst in the room a couple of times and make a scene (even removing his shirt at one point). Thankfully, though, Millar was unfazed. She didn’t flinch until after she finished the number, quipping “I thought this was going to be a quiet night!

Ending on the doo wop inspired Will I See You Again seemed fitting.  It took us right back to the beginning of it all, after which Millar and her band bowed gracefully to a standing ovation.

So, is she one to watch? Absolutely.

Opening the show was Caiine, who arrived on stage pretty soon after doors opened.

She seems to still be developing as an artist, but right now she reminded me of Sade in a sense.

Her music didn’t necessarily sound like Sade, but she has a fairly similar voice, and a look that harkened back slightly to her breakthrough Diamond Life era.

She was actually a pretty perfect opener for Mica Millar and set the scene extremely well. We’ll be interested to see how she develops for sure.

Pictures by Gary Dougherty