Flight Brigade + Port Erin
Thursday 18th April 2019
The Half Moon, Putney, London
As far as competitions go, the Half Moon in Putney has been entered into Music Week Awards' Grassroots Venue: Spirit of the Scene.
So spirit was invoked by the main support Port Erin: they began their set with a Krautrock-inspired groove which culminated in a Nick Harper influenced number which caught the zeitgeist: "Lies, Lies, Lies" went the verse, as the tumble of bass, lead guitar and military-precision drumming created an atmospheric opening.
Flight Brigade resemble not so much a Rock-group, but more of an ensemble: they have an electric-violin player as well a bass player, lead guitarist drummer and two keyboardists, but they manage not to over-egg the pudding. They certainly have pop sensibilities, and their brand of chart-friendly Blues/Heavy Rock backing, takes in all manner of influences from A-ha to Radiohead. The collective doesn't seem to have a dominant member which works to their credit as the emphasis is totally shifted to their tunes. The drummer demonstrates tremendous range in adapting to the different sound textures and the addition of the violin player allows them to veer into West-country Folk-Rock on occasion.
The tour showcases their new album 'Chased By Wolves' and the stand-out track 'Fury Road' which has a delicious squealing guitar hook. Despite being a polished band, they do not shy away from distressing subjects in their song writing. Ollie Baines, the lead singer, introduced one of their numbers about Czech prisoners of war who were coerced into the manufacture of bombs in forced labour camps, but instead would sabotage their efforts by neglecting to insert detonators, replacing them with slips of paper that typically would read “Our small contribution to the effort”.
Anthemic and life-affirming, it might be a furious road, but this band is going places.
Ivan De Mello (photos courtesy of Kevin Ronson)