With a rich history spanning over two decades, the Turin Brakes live show offers a knowing expectation for those long term fans alongside the experience of seeing one of Britain’s best live bands do their thing.
Playing to a sold out Wedgewood room crowd tonight’s show was originally scheduled just before Christmas though illness unfortunately curtailed a bunch of gigs at the time. Now, 5 months later tonight is actually the final show of the tour to promote their 9th studio album ‘Wide-Eyed Nowhere‘. Since their emergence in the late 1990s, the band has cultivated a loyal following, growing and evolving alongside their dedicated fans and the atmosphere is one of loving appreciation. The band are talkative on stage, that connection between musicians and the fans has always been a strong one in this band’s case. Bassist Eddie Myers winning the on stage patter award for his heartfelt proclamation of small grassroots venues and the support of crowds like tonight supporting live music. Listing areas within the Portsmouth metropolitan area, it’s the first time I’ve heard cheers for Cowplain and Waterlooville at the Wedge!
When meeting up with an old friend after time away, old stories retold are always a highlight and so it is when classic tunes from favourite bands are played live. Old faithfuls are welcomed warmly with the double hit of ‘The Door‘ and ‘Future Boy‘ enthusiastically embraced by the audience. The set however doesn’t rely solely on classics of the past and the band continue to grow and experiment with their sound. New material from their most recent record is aired throughout. They open with ‘Isolation’, its swirling chorus being sung back by the hardcore at the front and an obvious fan favourite in the making. ‘No Rainbow’ also mines from a similar sound and approach whilst ‘Up For Grabs’ offers a little more of a soulful sound, its chorus harmonies reminiscent of Michael Kiwanuka. The band’s songs have become a little fuller in recent years, with the delicate introspection of the first records often giving way to a richer instrumentation and sing-along choruses. Set closer ‘Black Rabbit‘ is a case-in-point with its Bond-esque stylings transforming to a feedback laden outro. The band have certainly come a long way from the ‘New Acoustic Movement’ the NME lumped them into when they first emerged.
Halfway through the set, the band announce that they’ll be back on the road at the end of year in support of the 20th anniversary of sophomore album ‘Ether Song‘. From it, we get their biggest single to date ‘Pain Killer (Summer Rain)’ which receives a huge response from the crowd. The biggest cheer of the night though arguably goes to ‘Fishing for a Dream’, which has become a firm fan favourite over the years. Its verses feel like a cherished memory, whilst its instantly catchy chorus again fills the room with an effervescent energy.
Witnessing this band’s performance is a joyous experience. The stage radiates with genuine camaraderie between the band members, exemplified by their playful huddle, engaging in mock debate about whether to offer another encore. Of course, it’s never in doubt. As the enchanting strains of ‘Feeling Oblivion’ serenade us, the evening reaches its crescendo, culminating with another timeless gem from their debut album ‘Slack’.