Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach - 17 May 2011
The mantle of rocks next big thing can weigh heavily on the shoulders of some bands, however I dont think any such accolade worries BROTHER. Having introduced themselves at their debut London gig by announcing, If anyone here doesnt want to see the future of music, leave now, I dont think lack of confidence is something that troubles the band.
Unashamedly influenced by Britpop (now rechristened Gritpop), they are happy to use the look and sound of that era, especially that of early Oasis. They have even roped in Stephen Smith to produce their first album Famous Last Words, and it will be interesting to see if Blurs ex-producer gives them a sound akin to Modern Life is Rubbish. Having been signed by Geffen they have the might of a major label behind them and it shows. For a small venue such as this, they have a large screen printed backdrop (a scene of early 1900s street urchins smoking), guitar techs, roadies, a photographer and abundant security.
Their use of a QPR banner draped over the speaker was not the cleverest of moves, given that promotion rivals Cardiff had the same night been soundly beaten out of the race for the Premiership. Still they apologise and commiserate and voiced their hatred of Reading, the team who had consigned Cardiff to another season of Championship drudgery.
With only a small back catalogue of songs to call on they start with a couple of tracks unfamiliar to me, one of which I think was called Alarm Clock, presumably theyll surface on the LP. Then they throw in single Still Here and the party really gets into full swing. They are surprisingly tight for a relatively new band, with background harmonies being supplemented by a delightful Afro Caribbean lady. The gig is not a sell out, but the crowd are enthusiastic and the band already seem to have a hardcore following judging by the number of people who sing along word-perfect to most numbers.
For all his attitude lead singer Lee Newell appears to have a sense of humour and placated the crowd by saying that they would have to listen to a few new songs, but the band were saving the juicy bits to last. And indeed they did, as they bowed out with singles New Years Day (not a U2 cover thankfully), Darling Buds of May (equally thankfully not from the TV show) and Time Machine, all of which are cracking little numbers and eagerly lapped up by an audience that wanted to party like it was er 1995.
So the obvious question is do they deserve the hype? Well, I guess the answer depends on your age. If, as most of the crowd, you are in your late teens or early twenties then their look, attitude and sound will appear fresh and revolutionary. However, if you are a sad old git like me, then you know that rockn roll rebellion stretches back to Elvis and Jerry Lee in the 50s and has been played out again and again over the following decades, whether it be the Stones, Pistols, GunsnRoses, Oasis etc etc.
Does that therefore make Brother any less enjoyable? Definitely not, and with the help of Geffens corporate machine and their ability to write three minute slices of pop heaven, they could be destined for greater thinks. And as if to prove my point they shortly start their slot as support act with Saint Morrissey of Manchester and you cant much greater a recommendation than that.