Turin Brakes Live at the O2 ABC Review
If you’re anything like me, you’ll probably have a whole load of artists and bands whose albums you’ve been meaning to listen to for ages, or you’ve been itching to see live for years – but for whatever reason you haven’t managed to get around to them yet.
Turin Brakes have been on my to-do list for a long time, but finally, thanks to their appearance at this year’s Celtic Connections festival, I could finally catch them live at Glasgow’s O2 ABC.
Before we got to our headliners though, there were a couple of support acts for us to enjoy. First up was Joe Gallacher, aka Toy Tin Soldier who’s new album ‘Yield’ is to be released in February. His short but sweet set was a mix of folk and rock influenced songs with ‘Once More Around the Sun’ a particular highlight. Next up was the rather brilliant singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Hannah Fisher. Hailing from the Isle of Mull, Hannah’s songs are influenced (amongst other things) by her experiences of life on the island. And if you have never heard her sing before, head immediately HERE to check out ‘Watching Time’. Beautiful.
And so to our headliners, who arrived onstage to find the venue packed to its 1,300 capacity. Consisting of founding members Olly Knights (vocals, guitar) and Gale Paridjanian (guitar) plus long-time bandmates Rob Allum (drums) and Eddie Meyer (bass), Turin Brakes formed back in 1999 and released debut album ‘The Optimist’ in 2001. Probably best known for their hit single ‘Pain Killer (Summer Rain)’ the band are about to release their seventh studio album, Lost Property.
There was a nice, laid back feel for the majority of the band’s set. From the opening three songs – which were taken from the new album – through older favourites such as ‘Mind Over Money’ and ‘Balham to Brooklyn’, I got the feeling that the audience would be happier slouched in big comfy chairs with a cold beer than standing shoulder to shoulder in a packed auditorium. Apart from, that is, the guy just next to me who danced and grooved his way through each and every one of the 15 songs of the night!
For the most part, the rest of the evening followed on in a similar vein. And and as great as songs like ‘Jump Start’ and ‘Pain Killer’ were, I started wondering whether there was going to be a change in pace at some point. Because although there has always been a distinctly acoustic core to the band’s music, they have been known to occasionally change their sound from time to time.
That change of pace didn’t arrive until the last couple of songs before the band’s encore. But it was well worth the wait! Up until that point the roof on the venue had seemed pretty safe and secure. However, it was duly blown to bits with properly awesome versions of ‘Long Distance’ and (in particular) ‘Black Rabbit’ which grew in intensity to a finale that had more than a passing resemblance to Pink Floyd in full flow. Without a doubt, the highlight of the set for me.
So, after the customary break offstage, the band returned for their encore. First up was a brilliant cover version of Orange Juice’s ‘Rip it Up’. This was the first time I’d heard anyone cover the 80’s classic and the best compliment I can pay is that it sounded every bit as good as the original. And the audience loved it. The band then rounded out a tremendous set with ‘Slack’ and ‘Underdog’.
Turin Brakes are one of those bands who you can’t judge solely in terms of how commercially successful they have been. In Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian they have a couple of songwriters who are as good as any out there at the moment. And if this performance is any measure, their live shows are top notch too.
Olly and the guys are now off to tour the rest of the UK before heading to Europe for some shows in March. Check out their schedule HERE to see if they’re heading your way, since they really are worth catching live.
Lost Property is released tomorrow and can be pre-ordered HERE
Keep Me Around
Mind Over Money
Balham to Brooklyn
Fishing for a Dream
Rip it Up (Cover)