The Rescue Rooms archives: 2016

LONELY THE BRAVE, LIVE AT RESCUE ROOMS

  • Monday 10th October 2016
  • Supported by: TBC

RR Lonely The Brave poster

 

"The band's name will soon be up in lights, whether they like it or not." NME
“Lonely The Brave could be the biggest band on the planet. Fact.”
Rock Sound
“Their vocalist has a mammoth arena-filling voice and it will only be a matter of time before they do so.”
Huffington Post
“They’re the real deal, and their singer could be the new Eddie Vedder.”
The Fly

 

You can wait a long time for a band like Lonely The Brave to come along. Maybe once every couple of years a band comes out of nowhere and captures the imagination of everyone from grassroots rock fans to national radio programmers. Perhaps once a decade do we see a band with LTB’s levels of musical intensity and emotional resonance. And maybe, if we’re very lucky, once in a generation we see a band with enough originality and unstoppable, unforgettable anthems to put British rock back on the international map.

All the signs point towards Lonely The Brave being that sort of band. The Cambridge-based quintet have already become one of the few new British guitar bands to storm Radio 1’s daytime citadel. They’ve got the rock press in an almost-unprecedented lather and have won over fans of bands as diverse as the Deftones, Marmozets, Bruce Springsteen and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club with their many support slots.

But this is a band with more than enough substance to justify the buzz. After the successful Backroads EP in 2013, granted a rare 5K review in Kerrang!, LTB’s first full-length album, The Day’s War, and it’s extended, ‘redux’ re-issue this year, represented one of the most remarkable rock debuts of recent years. Meanwhile, their own gigs are inspiring levels of audience devotion last witnessed when Muse and Biffy Clyro were breaking through: their debut London headline show saw them play the album in full, even though no one had heard it yet – and still blew everyone away. In the time since, the venues have just kept growing and growing and the ascent has been one to follow – from 2013’s much talked about performance on the BBC Introducing stage at Reading & Leeds, to then ruling Radio 1’s much bigger stage in 2014, culminating in their rightful place on the mainstage this year.

The five men at the centre of this storm, however, remain resolutely calm. Singer David Jakes, bassist Andrew Bushen and drummer Gavin “Mo” Edgeley formed Lonely The Brave five years ago from the ashes of various other Cambridge bands, later recruiting guitarist Mark Trotter, mere minutes after Mark’s old band had played their final show, and completing their line up with the addition of Ross Smithwick, just last year.

“When I heard David’s voice, that was it for me,” grins Mark. “Voices like that don’t come along very often.” David says the band “did everything we could to not sound like our influences”. Eventually, Andrew smiles, “Something happened, it all came together and we started sounding like Lonely The Brave”.

Which is probably just as well, because – unusually in this era of copycat bands and bandwagon chasers – Lonely The Brave don’t really sound like anyone else. Listen carefully and you might find echoes of Pearl Jam’s unbridled rock majesty, or Radiohead in the days when they combined esoteric intensity with killer rock anthems. But, ultimately, the sound propelling anthems such as Trick Of The Light, Backroads and The Blue, The Green into the hearts and minds of the planet’s rock fans is brilliantly, uniquely their own.

So small wonder The Day’s War was one of the most anticipated debut rock records in years. The album wasn’t easy to make – the band’s poverty often saw them sleeping in a van outside the studio, and sneaking into the local swimming pool to shower – but the record itself sounds effortless. From the upbeat, melody-drenched Trick Of The Light to the blistering angst of Kings Of The Mountain and the brooding epic that is Call Of Horses, The Day’s War is a musically sure-footed, emotionally devastating modern rock record.

The enigmatic David contributes the soaring vocals and poetic lyrics, conjuring the sort of deeply meaningful phrases that people will want to tattoo on their flesh. They’re already bellowing them back at him with frightening passion at venues from Download Festival to Alexandra Palace.

“Some stuff, I sit there stone cold sober and really analyse and make sure every word’s perfect,” he grins. “And then there’s another side to me that is just drunken ramblings. It usually turns out OK…”

A master of the under-statement, David rarely gives interviews. But the album, he says, seethes with songs “about life, death, friendship, love and relationships”. So Deserter is about his daughter, Call Of Horses about running away, The Blue, The Green about his brother and many of the others about the importance of friendship (something David learned first-hand, when the situation with the band’s original guitarist turned “a bit fucking messy” and caused battle lines to be drawn in his village).

He prides himself on never doing the obvious, formulaic thing with his songs – his one regret about the album is repeating the chorus on Kings Of The Mountain (“There’s so many choruses out there you don’t need to be doing the same one twice,” he insists). And this alternative approach extends to the live arena, where he famously stands at the back of the stage, next to the drum kit, sideways on to the audience.

“I’m really bad at eye contact,” he admits, “And I think the sound of my speaking voice through a microphone is one of the most horrendous things I’ve ever heard. So that translates to the live scenario. I’m never going to be the man that stands out front, so the further away from that I am, the better.” “It’s nothing to do with being aloof or ungrateful to the crowd,” says Mo. “It’s just about not being comfortable speaking to large groups of people with a microphone.”

Spend any time with David and it’s clear that, despite being blessed with the singing voice of a golden god, his off-stage shyness is very real. Fortunately, the band have the raw rock power, quality songs and genuine unconventionality for it not to matter – and to demolish anyone who suggests the stage set-up might be some sort of gimmick.

“We haven’t done anything different from day one,” insists David but, in fact, Lonely The Brave are doing everything differently. And that’s why they won’t settle for being a flash in the pan.  This is a band in it for the long haul, with the ambition and the songs to take on the world.

“Every day we’re blown away that people are identifying with the songs,” says Mark. “The singer from my old band sent me a message the other day saying, ‘Your song came on the radio as I drove to work this morning… I hasten to remind you, I live in New Zealand’.”

More radio stations in more far-off lands will no doubt fall for LTB in the months and years to come. But it’s winning hearts and minds that really matters to Lonely The Brave – and, however they do it, they’ll do it their way.

“We’re not run of the mill people,” stresses Mo. “We’re not all gusto and bluster. It’s important to stay true to yourself and be who you are, and we don’t need to be the centre of attention.” Nonetheless, that’s exactly what they’re going to be. With a second album planned for 2016 set to retain the anthemic nature of ‘The Day’s War’ but feature more progressive, adventurous material written as a five piece, if you haven’t already; meet Lonely The Brave, the band the world’s been waiting for.

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