From the first time I heard these UK rockers and their distinctive piano driven Alt-rock sound, I’ve been anticipating the opportunity to catch them in person, anxious to see if their live show measured up to their fine albums. Monday night at The Social, I discovered that the band’s exciting live show was just as impressive.
Led by charismatic front man Robert Stevenson, this quartet makes a powerful and lasting impression. They are the complete package, tight talented musicians, affable personalities, energetic songs and a dynamic show. Surprisingly, they did not pack The Social, but the few hundred in attendance saw a young band about to break out big. I suspect their next time through Orlando is going to find them in a much larger venue.
The band’s songs are wonderfully constructed and highlight the group’s versatility. Stevenson, the lead singer and keyboard player had on-going dialogue with the audience and appeared genuinely appreciative of the crowd and their interaction. He joked with the fans throughout the evening and offered up some enjoyable commentary on Mickey Mouse and the whole Disney thing, including an impeccably timed “F – Mickey” at one point. Drummer, Spencer Walker also impressed. He offered up a powerful driving beat, solid background vocals, and an occasional emergency lead vocal, also sharing witty banter with Stevenson and the crowd.
Stevenson was battling a cold and shared that he was going to have a problem hitting some of the high notes. His honesty was refreshing, and endeared him to the crowd as he stepped up to the challenge (sometimes with mixed results). He handled those challenges with aplomb, a bit of humor, and a little help from his friend behind the drums.
The show kicked off with rousing versions of “Reaching the Potential” and “This Stage Is Your Life,” also the first two tracks off of the band’s 2012 hit album Sand & Snow. The latter cut featured excellent guitar work from Karl Bareham. The current album was heavily spotlighted throughout the show, but we also got a glimpse of two of the band’s earlier hits “You Will Leave a Mark” and the fantastic “Driven By a Beating Heart” off of their debut album The City That Sleeps.
The highlight of the show was the breakneck closing trio off of their current album. Three tremendous offerings, all with nice crowd interaction. “Love Takes a Wrecking Ball” was another spotlight for Bareham’s guitar and offered some tender moments from Stevenson before rocking to a close. Walker led the crowd’s singalong for the opening of “Harbour Lights,” a track that also features killer bass from Ali Hussain. They then closed with a flourish offering a fantastic version of their biggest hit “Danny, Dakota and The Wishing Well.” (RARA’s Farm’s #3 Song of 2012).
It was a great cap to an energetic, dynamic set from a band just beginning to build their legend.
Denver-based folk-infused rockers Churchill opened the show and offered a nice 40 minute set. Orlando fans were fortunate, as this was the only show on the tour where they the Denver-based band is opening for A Silent Film. They’re also a band with considerable potential, and offering up a diverse sound. They were led by boy/girl lead vocals Tim Bruns and Bethany Kelly and offered a unique touch with Mike Morter playing mandolin throughout the set. It was an excellent mix highlighted by a cool version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way” and by the fantastically good “Change” and Kelly’s Duff-esque vocals.
Two excellent bands on their way up – a promising way to start the year.
See the setlist and link to the album below…
Reaching the Potential
This Stage Is Your Life
Driven By A Beating Heart
Queen Of A Sad Land
You Will Leave A Mark
Thousand Mile Race
Love Takes A Wrecking Ball
Danny, Dakota & The Wishing Well