Brother and Bones Live at Boiler Room Guildford

At the cramped Fishbowl Brighton © Neil_Mach

Every now and then a band comes along that really chippers us up. Brother And Bones really bounce. They put passion in your heart. This is one of the best live bands on the circuit today. They play like rabid beasts. They look like mythological heroes. And they write music that even the gods would bless. This is a band you dare not miss.

We first saw them playing live at this year’s Great Escape.  They were playing in a tiny pub –  ‘The Fishbowl’  in Brighton.  Most of the audience had to stand outside the public house and peer in through the windows to see their show.   Brother And Bones are the kind of band that need a lot of room. And I mean a lot … there are five of them, and they even have two drum kits.   Yet, here they were crashing and smashing around a cramped room.  And they played that gig after they had played a tiny launderette!  Give them their due.  These lads work hard.

During the summer, we caught them again at the fabulous RedFest music festival, set in the beautiful rural surroundings of Robins Cook Farm , Redhill, Surrey. This time the band had a huge stage to move around in.  And they utilised every inch of the space they were given. They are so energetic, it makes you feel tired just watching.

We had another opportunity to see the band this week at Guildford’s favourite venue – The Boiler Room.  The place was packed. The atmosphere was electric.

Their debut single,  ‘Back to the Shore’ has a dark heart, and streams of strumming black passion.  Angry vocals are spat out against storms from the guitar. And as the anger and the fire builds up, you realize that you will reach an outstanding and tumultuous chorus. And when it comes, it is literally stamped and thumped out.  They rage around the stage as if they are trying to put out a sudden blaze. It is about as expressive as you can get. And as exciting as having a tiger claw the pants from your body.

‘Good For You’ has a growling guitar that curls his lip at you and snarls out his intent. The vocals from Rich are manfully wrenched from his gut, and the pounding drums rabidly fluster. Every now and then a pure note is squeaked out from James on lead guitar. Then he builds up the pace, whining, moaning and throttling the life out of the strings.  After a good pounding of drums, the song opens up into a swaggering, swaying chorus. What a song. What a band.

James Willard at RedFest 2012 © Neil_Mach

‘Skin and Bone’ is bleating and haunting. An extraordinary verse dribbles before it crawls. Then it burns and blisters your heart with its disturbing relevance.  You don’t get much more masculine than front man  Rich Thomas. And his voice, on this song, is a mixture of bitter rum, black tobacco and barely held back, tense manhood.

‘Hold Me Like The Sun’ is the most folk-rock sounding of their output on the night. But Brother and Bones surpass all other peers in their genre. They sound genuinely ferocious on this song. It is as animalistic as it is raw. It must be the combination of razor-sharp percussion, sepulchral vocals and rushing guitars. This song places them in a breed apart from other contemporary folk-rockers.

At the Boiler Room, Guildford, Brother And Bones worked the stage like crazy animals. Wringing every gram of sweat from their pores. And almost destroying their instruments with a fury rarely seen.

Strewth! We look forward to seeing again.

– © Neil_Mach November 2012 –



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