Lonely The Brave | Electric Ballroom | 6 October 2016
There are only so many things that can be done with guitar, bass, and drums. So some rock groups put a flamboyant guy out front, devise a look (masks, costumes, mohawks), or develop a “thing” (the band with the beards/motorbike on stage/outspoken views).
But, in the long run, the best way to stand out is with grab-you-by-the-throat or infiltrate-your-mind songs big enough to fill stadiums. And, across two albums, that’s exactly what Lonely The Brave have done, with the results on full display at a rammed Electric Ballroom. The rock anthems – loud, fast, and heavy – provoke fist pumping, synchronised clapping, and – up front – moshing, while the ballads prompt open arms, hugs, and the occasional raised lighter.
And no matter how intense the song, there are people singing – or shouting – along with frontman David Jakes. Like the bellowed “hang note” refrain of fiery set opener ‘Black Mire’, the repeated “I want to know what’s it like, So I can feel it inside” at the heart of the yearning ‘The Blue, The Green’, or the stratospheric “And I’ll be the sky and you be the bird” climax of ‘Backroads’. Even their gritty take on Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb’ elicits the kind of enthusiasm not usually provoked by angst-drenched ‘70s classic rock.
But the five-piece from Cambridge clearly know what their fans want and, with guitarists Mark Trotter and Ross Smithwick acting as cheerleaders, the energy in the room just keeps growing. If songs like the widescreen ‘Jaws Of Hell’ from this year’s ‘Things Will Matter’, slow burning ‘Science’, and punchy ‘Strange Like I’ set the mood, it’s the final run of tracks from debut album ‘The Day’s War’ that truly push the night over the edge. ‘Trick Of The Light’ climbs to a ferocious finale and the soaring ‘Backroads’ closes the main set on a high, before the encore one-two of ‘Call Of Horses’ (epic) and ‘Black Saucers’ (visceral) take the band – and audience – stratospheric.