Brother & Bones Interview And Live Review

Brother & Bones Interview And Live Review

The Bodega, Nottingham September 12, 2015

Interview, Review, and Live Photos By ~MaggieUk @FullMetalRock

Down a quaint, cobblestone street in the center of Nottingham, amidst pubs, cafés, and tattoo parlors, I found my way to The Bodega to catch up with Brother & Bones ahead of their gig that evening. Getting a pint of lager each, James Willard (guitarist) and Alex Karban (bassist) joined me and my Jack Daniels at a table. "Do you always drink it that way?" Willard asked me, acknowledging that my Jack was on its own, with a separate glass of Diet Coke. "Always," I replied, and we sat for a pre-interview chat that seemed more like old friends catching up. We talked about the Foo Fighter's cancelled gigs, prompted by the hoodie I was wearing, and I brought them up to speed on my Brother & Bones experiences. Karban remembered The Engine Shed at Lincoln, where I first met the band; and they both joked about how they tried to get away with their set on the acoustic stage being as "un-acoustic" as possible at Download 2014. In the year or so since then, their music has progressed astronomically, and I was about to hear the new material live for the first time.

Just before we started the recorded interview, a slightly pale looking Richard Thomas (lead vocalist, acoustic guitarist), flanked by Yiannis Sachinis (drummer) and Robin Howell-Sprent (percussionist), stopped by to express his apologies for not joining us. The tour manager had explained to me earlier that Thomas had been ill that day and they were on their way to see if Thomas could hold some food down, and buy a toothbrush! After I told him that no apology was needed, and that I hoped he was feeling better, Willard, Karban and I recorded the audio interview available on this web page. What followed later that evening was an outstanding performance, leaving no doubt as to the talent, and professionalism, this quintet have.

Opening with Omaha, the level to which Brother & Bones had advanced was immediately evident. This band mastered combining contrasting elements in layer upon layer and this song was a prime example. Opening softly for the first few measures, it could've been mistaken for the start of an acoustic set, but they quickly proved that they are a rock band like no other. And this crowd didn't need warming up; they knew what was coming and were ready for it! By the time the chorus was reached, the whole room was bouncing. Brother & Bones delivered a real winner with this song, showing they are deserving of success. The "light and shade" that was referred to in the interview was clearly evident. This is not a folk band, not a "they sound like...." band. Everything about this quintet oozes originality from the Cornish accent in Thomas' voice to the structure of the music.

Before the next song started, Thomas paused for a drink of water, and offered an explanation that some dodgy toast eaten the night before was responsible for his being ill. Had he not mentioned it, no one would have suspected for a moment that he hadn't been well. His voice and guitar playing showed no signs of being affected. Crawling, which starts with a chant, breaks into one of the heavier songs from the album and ends with a huge cheer from the crowd. These people had just heard two of the news songs for the first time and what a reception they gave them; a sure sign of how successful this album is going to be.

You could've heard a pin drop in the room when Raining Stone started. For some reason, this song reminded me of Johnny Cash, not that it sounded like his work in any way. It was the story telling aspect. Originally from the "To Be Alive" EP and included in the new album, it is one of those songs that makes you want to know more about the person Thomas was singing about. Who was she? What happened to her? The lyrics were intriguing and the song was delivered to a completely fixated room. Although Thomas' voice and song writing skills are a big feature of this band, it is obvious that there is a talent in droves here. Kerosene proved that and then some. From Karban's clever bass line, to the way it linked in with the percussion and drums of Howell-Sprent and Sachinis, to Willard's guitar solo... it is a song that defied the constraints of genre labels and dares you not to dance. The high energy Brother & Bones gave on the stage was completely contagious, the impact of which I could feel from the back of the venue.

With 3Ep's, a live CD and now the new album there was more than ample material to fill a set list. . Doing covers is always risky, as it can be difficult to maintain the integrity of the song and yet make it your own. Brother & Bones' interpretation of Coldplay's God Put A Smile Upon Your Face, was an opportunity to hear just how versatile these musicians are. Thomas' vocals were so unique, and so mesmerizing, I could be forgiven for initially mistaking the song as one of his. The drums skills of Howell-Sprent and Sachinis stood out in Long Way to Go and were a real driving force throughout the set. The way the song ended, so softly and quietly with just Thomas singing the last words a capella lended itself perfectly to the start of the next song. Save Your Prayers, a haunting, hypnotizing song that seemed to reach you right inside your chest. The crowd was completely under Thomas' spell. During the the soft, delicate notes of the chorus, you could have heard a pin drop in the room, and I would've bet that every woman in the room forgot who she was, who she was with and felt like she was the only person there. Some of the guys probably felt the same way too, even if the won't admit it!

Why be Lonely started with an electric guitar sound that called to mind the band The Killers, but that is where the comparison ended. As with so many Brother & Bones songs, this was a song to be be sung at the top of your lungs, and the fans did just that. Willard's guitar solo, powerful and intense, left me wanting more. To Be Alive, a song the whole room was familiar with, with its catchy chorus, had everyone singing and fist pumping. A favourite moment for me was when Thomas delivered the line of the bridge "now you're a ghost in this town and still so hard on the eyes", holding that last note in such a manner that it stayed with me even days afterwards. Every word he sang was delivered with so much passion and soul, you cannot help but feel it.

Wicked Man and I See Red, both from the "For All We Know" EP, were next on the set list, and I See Red sent the crowd wild. While they sang and chanted along I felt the fierceness with which the band played ripple through the room. A song that was a personal favourite of mine had not lost its impact over the years. The set finished with If I Belong, a song previously only released on the "Live at The Princess Pavilion" EP, and which is the last song on the debut album. Beginning in Thomas' lower octave, the lower tone enhanced the mood of the lyrics and continued through two rounds of verse and chorus. This made the impact of the higher octave in verse three much stronger and Thomas exceeded himself performing it. As the band left the stage, the cheering, clapping and foot stomping that carried on must've been felt all the way down Pelham Street. Unlike some fans that clap for a while and then start talking amongst themselves, this crowd carried on continuously until the quintet returned.

The venue was dead silent as the first few chords of Lost As One were strummed. A song that Thomas plays the piano on for the album, transferred beautifully to the acoustic guitar. One of the few moments that audience was completely still, hanging on every note, every word. And then to end the night with a bang, Brother and Bones blew the roof off the place with Back to Shore, the first song off their first EP, "Skin". A song to sing to anyone who's ever pissed you off or done you wrong, I was elated when it was included in the new album. The room was on fire for every moment of that song. Brother and Bones deliver music to be felt, not just heard. With an outstanding uniqueness that has to be experienced to be truly appreciated, they are set to change perceptions of rock genres and turn you on to something completely new. If you haven't ordered it, get it! If you haven't seen them live, all I can say is what are you waiting for!

Brother & Bones Are:

Richard Thomas: vocals, acoustic guitar

James Willard: electric guitar, backing vocals

Alexander Karban: bass guitar, backing vocals

Yiannis Sachinis: drum kit

Robin Howell-Sprent: percussion

More Info On Brother & Bones

Set List:

Raining Stone
God Put a Smile Upon Your Face (Coldplay cover)
Long Way to Go
Save Your Prayers
Why be Lonely
To Be Alive
Wicked Man
I See Red
If I Belong
Lost as One
Back to Shore

Brother & Bones Omaha Tour:

21 Sep Southampton Talking Heads
22 Sep Brighton Komedia
14 Oct Brussels The Rotunde
15 Oct Nijmegen Doornroosje
16 Oct Utrecht Tivoli de Helling
17 Oct Groningen Vera
19 Oct Amsterdam Melkweg Old Hall
21 Oct Cologne Gebäude 9
22 Oct Hamburg Hafenklang
23 Oct Berlin Comet Club
24 Oct Prague La Loca
26 Oct Vienna Chelsea
27 Oct Munich Milla
29 Oct Milan Biko
30 Oct Turin Spazio211
1 Nov Luzern Schüür

Watch The Video For Omaha: Here

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