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Stadiums beckon big Brother

By LeeTrewhela  |  Posted: March 05, 2014

  • Brother & Bones' Rich Thomas on stage in Falmouth

  • A sold-out Pavilion witnessed an amazing gig

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Brother & Bones

Princess Pavilion, Falmouth

Review by Lee Trewhela

IN A relatively short space of time, the two-fifths Cornish Brother & Bones have gone from playing a Truro pub (Bunters) to a converted chapel in Penzance (The Acorn) and, on Saturday, played to 600 people at the Princess Pavilion.

If Cornwall had the stadium so many people hanker for, it is a given they’d fill that out next time they play the county.

In fact, on the strength of this majestic gig, I prophesy B&B will be selling out stadiums across the world within two years.

If they can win over someone like me (with a natural aversion to bearded mainstream rock), they can win over the whole planet.

It’s not so long ago I remember watching former Truro School student Rich Thomas, from St Ives, playing his heartfelt acoustic songs in the pubs of Cornwall.

There was definitely something there, but it took a move to London with his mate and percussionist Robin Howell-Sprent before it all took shape with Brother & Bones, alongside guitarist James Willard, bassist Alex Karban and drummer Yiannis Sachinis.

Since then there have been two independently released EPs and a never-ending tour schedule.

The latter has paid dividends – not only have they honed themselves into a sleek, on-the-money live act but Brother & Bones have acquired a huge fanbase.

I was taken aback when the packed, buzzing Pavilion sang back every line of songs like For All We Know, which takes Ben Howard’s brooding folk into pummelling hard rock territory.

Rich is everyman, both in his catch-all songwriting and engaging personality, so it’s not hard to envisage crowds from Germany to Mexico singing For All We Know too.

This is huge music which stays the right side of bombast – there is everything from Joshua Tree-era U2 to the swagger of Black Crowes and the epic firepower of, yes, Led Zeppelin (though it takes two drummers to make one Bonham) in B&B’s songs.

And what songs – you could imagine every single track in this set bursting forth from daytime radio; from the soaring To Be Alive, stomping, tribal I See Red and the gorgeous Gold And Silver, which Rich played solo to a hushed hall, his Paul Rodgers-like voice destroying all in its wake.

Supporting Bastille on their current UK tour, including Plymouth Pavilions on Monday, and with a debut album to come, helmed by the same bloke who produces Stereophonics, it’s inevitable Brother & Bones will become a household name.

But judging from his humble onstage banter about returning “home” – you could tell he was really moved by this gig – success won’t sever Rich’s link with the county.

One niggle? I wish the audience had the manners to be quiet during the support slot by Cornwall’s own Sam Williams and the Flock of Bats. Yes, their Cure-meets-Mumfords sound is delicate, but if you want to chat, go to the bar. What has happened to gig etiquette, I ask you?!

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