What’s not to like? An architecturally interesting venue for food, drink and music. A beer festival. And a free gig!!
The first thing you might say about Flight Brigade, two days into a 14-date tour, is “where are the girls?”. An integral feature of the band and focal point, Miriam and Dorry were unfortunately missing although they’ll be present and correct for the remaining dates.
Their absence was actually not critical but a little bit annoying nevertheless. As Flight Brigade’s amiable frontman Ollie Baines confirmed to me they do enhance their stage presence and, moreover, they are a significant part of the latest album.
But more than their absence was the shock realisation that the band have released a previous album (‘Our Friends Our Enemies’ in 2016). But where have they been since 2010?
This gig – free to those who got in before 9 and then only £4 for latecomers – says a lot about the state of music in 2019. Not least a band juggling hotels and home-life. Flight Brigade, with the girls in tow of course, could easily command bigger stages and the fact we haven’t heard of them previously is either former PR shortcoming or our own ignorance. Most of the revellers here tonight were completely oblivious.
Hopefully, the latest offering – ‘Chased By Wolves’ – will help the band to a better place. It’s full of anthemic and infectious tunes. As with the album, the standouts tonight were songs like ‘Heartbreaker’ (announced as the new single), ‘Tinderbox’, ‘Where Eagles Dare’ and the title track. There was poignancy too with ‘Brainwave’ a tribute to Ollie’s brother Seth – and great FB supporter – who sadly passed away late last year.
And, if the penultimate ‘Thick As Thieves’ was a bit of a damp squib, this was more than compensated for by songs like ‘Tearaway’ and ‘Hurricane Season’ also from the first album. If anything, the older material sounded a bit more hard hitting to me.
But, without that female focus, the band suffered visually and audibly, filling any vocal gaps with backing tracks. The band were fearless enough to introduce a new song ‘Human Touch’. This was impressive but to be honest was very similar to other material. It’s great to have a signature sound but there can be a tendency to repetition and with the possibility of one track anonymously melding into another.
This is, though, a minor niggle with a younger band that deserves more attention than most. The album will appeal to those with a soft spot for the eighties synth pop vibe, whilst Baines’ excellent vocal delivery also reminds of artists like Chris Braide.
The gig, like the best grog at the attendant and ultimately distracting beer festival, was both refreshing and a little bit moreish.
Review and photos by David Randall
October 2019 UK Tour
Tickets Available via flightbrigade.com
Thursday 3rd October 2019
78 Sackville St, Manchester, M1 3NJ
Chester, Telford’s Warehouse
Friday 4th October 2019
Canal Basin, Tower Wharf, Chester, CH1 4EZ
Newcastle, Head Of Steam
Saturday 5th October 2019
2 Neville St, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 5EN
Milton Keynes, The Craufurd Arms
Thursday 10th October 2019
59 Stratford Rd, Wolverton, Milton Keynes MK12 5LT
Saturday 12th October 2019
35, Milford Rd, Reading RG1 8LG
Sunday 13th October 2019
141 St Mary St, Southampton, SO14 1NS
Bath, The Bell
Wednesday 16th October 2019
103 Walcot St, Bath BA1 5BW
Bristol, Mr Wolfs
Thursday 17th October 2019
32 St Nicholas St, Bristol BS1 1TG
Isle of Wight, Strings
Friday 18th October 2019
9 Bowling Green Ln, Newport, PO30 1LL Bowling Green Ln, Newport PO30 1LL
Saturday 19th October 2019
83-84 Queens St, Exeter EX4 3RP
Brighton, Latest Music Bar
Wednesday 23rd October 2019
14-17 Manchester St, Brighton, BN2 1TF
London, O2 Academy 2 Islington
Thursday 24th October 2019
16 Parkfield St, The Angel, London N1 0PS
Friday 25th October 2019
Unit 4 Minerva Works, 158 Fazeley Street, Birmingham B5 5RT
Guildford, The Star Inn
Saturday 26th October 2019
Quarry St, Guildford, GU1 3TY
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