Fatherson | The Hospital Club | 11 May 2016
Fatherson’s debut album sounds like a young band finding their feet. The songs are definitely there; the confidence perhaps not.
But two years on the road can be transformative. And tonight the three young men from Kilmarnock – all 23 – deliver an outsized performance more suited to Wembley Stadium than a soulless function room. Their energy and enthusiasm barely contained by a too-small, too-low stage, the trio plus touring guitarist roll out one giant chorus after another. In the process, Ross Leighton, Marc Strain, and Greg Walkinshaw reveal how the songs from 2014’s ‘I Am An Island’ have grown in the live arena, while showcasing the forthcoming ‘Open Book’ with tunes that are even more anthemic.
Like ‘Always’, which opens the set. The initial rumble of Walkinshaw’s drums quickly gives way to a hook so instantly gratifying that it’s not long before a roomful of people are singing along to Leighton’s refrain of “listen to the silence”. Built on a quiet guitar and keening vocal intro, ‘Open Book’ rises and falls, Death Cab For Cutie style, from introspection to jubilation. Filled with more bravado than anything they’ve done before, the self-assured ‘Just Past The Point Of Breaking’ must certainly be a hit in waiting, while the uplifting ‘Lost Little Boys’ – complete with immediately unforgettable chorus – ends the set on a celebratory note. But it’s the driving ‘Forest’, led by Strain’s grinding bassline, that’s the most triumphant of the new stuff, quickly winning over the packed room with a soaring, irresistible melody.
The older material sounds almost as epic, with ‘Mine For Me’ and ‘I Like Not Knowing’ coming closest to the scope and ambition, while ‘James’ has in the ensuing years transformed into a masterclass in audience engagement. As Leighton leads the crowd in a singalong of “So go home, sober up, take the weight off your feet and just chill”, it’s clear Fatherson will soon be playing venues as big as their songs.
- Open Book is released on 3 June 2016.
- See Fatherson at Scala on 2 June 2016.