Among Brothers were the main act on the bill at the Barfly in Camden when I went along the other night, and I’m glad I came across them. They’re a five piece best summed up by the description on their website: “They fuse electronic rhythms, theatrical chants and percussive flourishes to create vibrant pop-influenced arrangements anchored by narrative themes.” There are no words in that sentence that I don’t love. And not much about Among Brothers I don’t love. Sound aside, their performance is a spectacle, with a wealth of instruments and playing techniques giving something worth watching. It’s obvious the Cardiff-based band are close, and really perform as a unit – something you subconsciously expect of any music group, but only really appreciate when you see it so obviously in action. The attentive crowd stood around silently watching their performance as though afraid to disturb the work going on. It was special.
Among the merchandise Among Brothers were flogging at the end of the show were t-shirts and retro cassette tapes of their music. Nice idea, but as the guy in front of me pointed out “Where am I supposed to play that?” Ahh, a little sign of the times in mid-week Camden Town. I did invest the very reasonable £4 in their EP ‘Homes’ and have been enjoying it ever since. Their music is bigger than the Barfly, and it’s bigger than the cassette tape you can buy it on. I look forward to hearing them in a stadium. Do check them out through their website amongbrothers.co.uk
On Wednesday night I got the chance to go to an exclusive performance by Joss Stone at Under The Bridge in Chelsea, London. She was premiering material from her forthcoming album ‘The Soul Sessions 2′ and the show was broadcast online so fans around the world could get in onthe action. First of all – what a wicked venue. I’d never been there before but it’s a great space for a reasonably intimate gig (fits maybe 200 or so). It’s within the grounds of Chelsea stadium and the theme of the interior is a collection of lots of iconic photos of British musicians through the years. Though I was the only uncool one running around looking at them all. Kind of like a Hard Rock Cafe of photography if you will.
The support act was a band called Yes Sir Boss, the first act signed to Joss’ own record label Stone’d. They’re like a crazy ska band with a bit of an indie feel. It’s very Madness meets Maccabees. They’re one of those great bands you can see absolutely owning a crowd at the festivals. As soon as you add a bit of brass section in, I’m won over. Great songs too – I’m listening to their EP now a few days later and actually remember some of the tunes and riffs quite well so it’s obviously working. Their EP is called Desperation State and you can download it, as well as find out everything else about them, on their website: http://www.yessirboss.com/
Joss played through the entirety of the new album – all covers of old soul stuff, as a sequel to her debut – over an hour, throwing in ‘Fell In Love With A Boy’ and ‘Super Duper Love’to keep the energy up. She was really a bit nervous to be doing the new songs for the first time, but when you’ve got her voice, with classic soul tracks, you really can’t go wrong, and the audience were loving it. She has an awesome band too, with three great singers, oozing personality among them. She had a bit of a wardrobe malfunction early on, did Joss – so she had to do a quick change, but the general consensus was that the replacement outfit was a better one. She came back on for two encores, as the crowd were really chanting for more. She did ‘You Had Me’ and ‘Right To Be Wrong’ as well as another new one, and even tried doing some spur of the moment requests that were being shouted at her, but sensing that she and the band didn’t have every number ready to pull out like that, she gave some a cappella renditions to keep people happy and it was a really cool, organic moment for that intimate venue – really nice. There were some die hard fans loitering around waiting to speak to her afterwards, and she didn’t disappoint. She was doing photos, signing Union Jacks and chit chatting for nearly an hour after the performance. Lovely gal. Great night for all.
The Soul Sessions Vol.2 is released in UK July 16th and USA July 31st.