I caught Cambridge alternative-rock five-some Lonely The Brave back at Download Festival 2014, calling them “gimmick free and exhilarating to listen to it their short set. Imagine The National in their glory and add crank up the sound to heavy and this is it, still full of richness, gruff guitar riffs and lyrics that are smart not stupid”. This time they rolled their biggest UK tour into my hometown and the result was even more of the same!
Opening was one woman and her guitar Hannah Lou Clark, who was an interesting choice. Alternative rock-pop with her glam-pop dipped in a tin of grunge and it hooks you in. Taking you from the sugary openings and tipping them on their head with her real gritty rock voice. Imagine if Howling Bells got into bed with Nirvana and the best way to describe her.
Lonely The Brave on record are phenomenal and to quote every scene 14 year old, ‘like seriously’. The Day’s War was one of my favourite releases of 2014, my bet is that it will become a sleeper hit, gaining more fans and fans with every play and show. Every riff, hook, drum beat just lifts you up into the clouds, fills up your tear-ducts and makes that bit of hair on the back of your neck salute. Live it’s faithfully that too Vocalist David Jakes pitch perfect, haunting and striking vocals pack an emotional punch even more than they do on record. They open with Call of Horses and get their weakest song (arguably) aired first, so the bar can only get raised higher and higher throughout the development of their set. Singles ‘Trick of the Light’ and ‘Victory Line’ overwhelm the senses and over power the small packed room; as if they should be on another astral plane.
Now as stupendous as David’s vocals are, like a modern day Florence Nightingale, he isn’t one for the spot light. Shyly tucked away to the side and at the back, he’s not the frontman by any stretch instead more of a modern day Ian Curtis in his tall, gangly frame and awkwardly grabbing his shirt for every song. The rest of the band compensate by putting all the passion from the record into animation by swinging guitars around and commanding to stage; but it just feels a bit awkward as to where your eyes are naturally drawn. That’s the only flaw really, that it just doesn’t feel natural visually as your ears are bombarded with these precise constructed jigsaws of songs. The instruments just feel drawn together instead of being forced to fit, instead all the layers nestle in with each other generating the warmth and this is culminated in ‘Backroads’. The crowd sing every word back and stand in awe at the spectacle that they’ve just witnessed. This is alternative-rock at its very finest here!
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Review by Richard Samuel | @rich_dbno