REVIEW: YOUNGER BROTHER AT BRISTOL THEKLA (31/03/11)
This gig was all about Younger Brother. No support act, just the main draw rocking the deck from 8.30pm until 10pm. Confession time – while I’ve heard of Younger Brother before (hell, they’ve been going since 2003) I only really got to know their music last month when I was sent a copy of their new album Vaccine. Guess that’s why they’re called an Underground band?! Anyhow, the album blew me away, sounding like a Foals/Radiohead mix of atmospheric anthems – slotting perfectly into the musical landscape of 2011. I then hit Youtube and checked out some of their earlier stuff, which all seemed a bit meh. But seeing the live show was a different proposition altogether. In a really good way.
Lead singer Ruu Campbell may look like a dead ringer for Chris Martin (Coldplay) especially when he grins inanely and jumps up and down on the spot, waving his arms around; but thankfully that’s where the similarity ends. He isn’t a self-righteous do-gooder (though they have done a charity song), he ain’t married to a Hollywood star and he doesn’t create MOR, radio-friendly ad music. What he does make (along with partners in crime Simon Posford and Benji Vaughan) is, despite them dubbing it ‘unclassifiable’, catchy, psychadelic indie electronica dancefloor fillers. In fact, there wasn’t one person in there who wasn’t absorbed into the soundscape moving and swaying and feeling the love. Not only that but at least half of the audience were properly going for it, dancing in their own unique way – from disco moves to shoegaze to mimicking Ruu’s childlike jumping and proper hippy hand dancing.
Younger Brother gave Vaccine a pretty good airing, opening with Shine before ploughing through the album with Pound A Rhythm, Spinning Into Place and System 700 – all of which were well received. But it was the more vocally led tracks with catchy choruses which stole the show, Safety In Numbers, Night Lead Me Astray and Train. Of course, they threw in some older tracks including All I Want, I Am A Freak and Ribbon On A Bench before wrapping things up with the epic Psychic Gibbon – perhaps the most aptly named song they have. The overall vibe was relaxed and happy with grinning faces all round and allowed you to become completely absorbed in the music which sits somewhere between Errors or Metronomy and Primal Scream or Stone Roses with some definite hints of Radiohead and Foals as in their recorded material.
Stood there clutching my lone can of Red Stripe, I couldn’t help but wish I was seeing them, tanked up on cider, at a festival rather than on this cold dark boat before the hoards descended for the Pressure clubnight. Here’s hoping they claim their place as a top festival band and embrace this year’s festival circuit. Guess we’ll have to wait and see, as they’re off to America next week.
by 247 Magazine