On Sunday night I arrived home after 5 days in the UK. I attended two #WeWereHere gigs: in London and Brighton. The Shepherd’s Bush Empire gig was pretty much awesome, but the Brighton gig was something else. Read on for some pictures, videos and words on these two amazing gigs. Today I review the London gig, with Brighton to follow soon! 🙂
Shepherd’s Bush Empire London (20 Nov 2013)
After some re-arranging and shuffling I managed to get leave from my job from the 20th, which meant I could fly in on the 20th and surprise my host with tickets for the London gig. Brighton was to be the main event, for me, but that gig being in a church I wanted to experience to proper London gig night too. And Shepherd’s Bush turned out to be quite like that. I think. There was some waving to other fans, a pint from the bar and as the night progressed: more singing and dancing!
The night was kicked off by Richard Judge to a slowly growing crowd. Richard played some guitar songs in classic singer/songwriter fashion. Being the first of two support acts, Richard has to fight the noisy crowd, but he doesn’t do too bad at all. In fact, his final song, the Oasis cover Don’t Look Back In Anger does create a nice vibe in the room. Check out his song Foundations on SoundCloud here.
Kevin Pearce fulfilled one of his dreams standing on the stage of SBE. He kicked off with a confident performance of his song Tides. A warm guitar sound combined with a powerful voice filled the venue, as Pearce moved on to other highlights, including Tides, from his latest album, and traditional folk track Monday Morning. Circular Haze inspired some audience participation (“There’s a chance we could own our lives”) and new single We’ve Been Lovin’ couldn’t go amiss in the set (as Kevin mentioned during his set, there’s a lovely video for it here). It’s one art to make your record sound great, but it’s another to play songs on your own and make them come alive and sound stronger. Kevin did just that in SBE. So I think he can safely say: “dream come true”.
Turin Brakes took the stage about 30 minutes after Kevin’s performance. Walking on stage announced by some classic rock courtesy of Pink Floyd (inspiration for tracks as Blindsided Again and Sleeper), the band kicked straight into the first tracks of Time and Money. This was a clever move, because while Time and Money lacks the epicness of a track like Sea Change (present in fine form in the encore tonight), it does contain everything we love about this band, and so do the tracks that follow it on the album.
After a moving performance of We Were Here, Olly, Gale, Rob and Eddie kicked into the rocking Dear Dad. Olly and Gale moved closer to sing in the same microphone and Ed went on one of his crazy bass journeys. Totally fixated on the rousing performance this band was giving, I completely missed the flutist popping up on the right side of the stage and kicking into the flute solo. Turin Brakes had tweeted they had ‘horns and stuff’, but to be honest: I thought that was a little joke. Because I don’t think TB ever had horns.
But they had tonight. As the song’s supposed to, Dear Dad slowly dismantles and then builds up again into the already legendary Blindsided Again. Gale went for it, Olly went for it, Ed went for it and Rob for it… By the time they were done, it felt like we already had a whole gig’s worth of emotions and styles, but we only had four songs.
Up next was a nice surprise: Above The Clouds, from JackInABox arrived right on time, to provide a breather and focus on the Turin Brakes core: lovely guitars and harmonies. It would be fair to say the song hasn’t gathered the same reputation as some other songs in the set, so I love it when a song like Above The Clouds gets an outing. It was followed-up by the classic Mind Over Money. Can’t go wrong with that one, I’d say!
And then we were onto the next surprise of the night: Guess You Heard featured two saxophones, which gave the sound mix some additional ‘wholeness’. I wouldn’t really describe the role of the horns here as solo highlight, but overall they added to the catchiness of the next single (out in December). Ed proclaimed the band didn’t really like the version of the song they did in Australia, and if nothing else, tonight showed how much the song has grown since then. And I liked that Australian version to begin with!
Rain City was next, with Olly adding that this song finally was relevant tonight, because it’s all about London. Up next were some classics Emergency 72, Future Boy, Painkiller, Fishing For A dream and, to round the main set off, an absolutely amazing version of Red Moon.
The encore was kicked off with The Sea Change. Unfortunately without the danceable African-style drums, but Rob gave it his all to make up for that. A soothing version of No Mercy provided some introspection, while Underdog was a sure-fire way to go out on a high.
Except ofcourse, the guys came back for a final performance of Goodbye. Dedicated to Lou Reed, the song was as moving as it is on the record. I was pretty happy that this Goodbye wouldn’t be too long…
Come back later for the Brighton report!