MUSIC TO purge the soul. Paul Draper, the former frontman from Mansun, the "there but not quite there then gone" band from the late 90s and early '00s, was performing his first acoustic tour. After a fashion, for his wingman, guitarist Ben Sink, was mostly playing electric guitar.

Draper disappeared for a long time when Mansun dissolved (he talked about a headbutt being the final kiss-off), and his lyrics are a painfully honest account of his struggles to fit into the music machine, and not lose his mind in the process.

Listen closer, and even when cresting the commercial wave, the words screamed with alienation, with none of Britpop’s misplaced arrogance. Without their widescreen backings, the simpler format threw a stronger light on the words, and they come away the better for the attention. Wide Open Space was played early on, that keening Jeff Buckley/Geneva voice untouched by the intervening 20 years. It remains strong and defiant, even when singing through the fires of self-doubt.

Opener Flo Perlins was also striking lyrically, with arresting off-kilter words offset by some clever violin from Robin Timmis. Like Emiliana Torrini, who she recalls, she has a talent that is well worth paying attention to, and with new music promised for 2019, the future looks upbeat.

For Draper by contrast, his time in the shadows has fired him up, and the set contained a strong mix of solo, rare (a B-side from his first EP for the aficionados) and the obligatory Mansun smattering. Now acclimatised to the stage, his self-help songs clearly resonated with the crowd. While his world view is glass empty, the performer gave out a warmth that dispelled the November murk.