The Family Rain: Stockton Concert Review!

Where? ‘The Green Room’, Stockton.
When? Monday 3rd June 2013.

After first discovering The Family Rain on Twitter last month (thanks to @NME!), I have listened to them constantly. I was thrilled to hear that their spring/summer tour was heading up North, and even better, they were playing a venue only 15 minutes away!

The Green Room is a really quirky venue tucked away on the banks of the river Tees, hidden in the corner of a little cobbled courtyard. The room itself was no bigger than a living room, but the intimacy created due to this just emphasised the magic you feel at a gig. The walls were covered in album artwork and gig posters from previous acts who had performed there, and I was particularly intrigued by the sound system desk which was fashioned by a collection of vintage vinyls overlapping each other.

Arriving at the venue just after 8pm, I was a bit underwhelmed by the lack of people there. There weren’t enough people there to relieve the awkwardness of being in a room of strangers, but just a bit too much to ensure a seat for me!

The support act was a brilliant local group from Billingham, called Musket (you can find them on SoundCloud and Twitter by searching musketuk). They had the perfect rocky vibe to really get us all in the mood for the main act. The versatility of the two members was impressive also, as they interchanged roles in between songs, both mastering vocals, guitar, and drums phenomenally well. My favourite song from the Musket set was The Last Time, as I loved the disjointed nature; it just felt

really original and raw. It also really showcased the talent the act had manipulating the electric guitar. My only ‘bug-bear’ of the Musket set was the way the percussion overpowered the other aspects of the tracks at times. It was sometimes difficult to distinguish vocals and the intricate guitar riffs of the song because the drums were just so heavy. I don’t think this is a criticism of the band however; they were talented and lovely guys. It was most likely down to the lack of real technical mastery in the venue which bigger acts have to control different aspects of their tracks to make sure they all come together and work well.

After a wait that was a bit too long, The Family Rain came onto stage. Starting their set with their well-known and loved tracks Carnival and Friction, the crowd really came alive and finally edged to the front of the stage! For the support set, we were all a bit apprehensive of putting ourselves ‘out there’ and being so up close and personal with the act! It was really heart-warming to see how much the guys interacted with the audience and how much they enjoyed that we were enjoying them.

Aside from the crowd pleasers, The Family Rain played some never-heard-before tracks which were really interesting and brilliant rock-pop tunes. You know you’ve got a winner if the crowd are singing along to a song they’ve never heard before after a few minutes. And that was pretty much every song. The track that really stands out from the unknown tracks in the set is Waterfall. I immediately fell in love with the calming harmonies in the vocals and how chilled out the track was. It was made for summer! A live version of this track is available on YouTube, recorded for Sound City, you should definitely check it out!

The Family Rain are fast becoming one of my favourite artists to listen to this year. And behind the stunning vocals and musicality, are three down-to-earth, lovely lads. I got a chance to meet the band after their set on Monday, and they were really friendly and even offered everyone in the audience a free signed poster. Mine is now in pride of place on my bedroom wall, with the lovely message “welcome to the family”. It’s the best family to be a part of, won’t you join?

The Family Rain – Pushing It EP is available to download on iTunes now. A collection of their tracks are available on SoundCloud, and you can also find unrecorded tracks, such as Waterfall, live on YouTube.

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Ellie McLaren

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