Brothers Osborne and Lucie Silvas – 27th November 2018 – Newcastle O2 Academy
By Kevin Burdon (Kevin Burdon Photography)
Brothers Osborne have been on my list of bands to see for quite a while, ever since Spotify randomly served me up ‘Shoot Me Straight’ on a “Discover” playlist one day. Since then I’ve had both of their albums on near constant repeat, hooked in by the perfect mix of outlaw country-rock, vividly descriptive lyrics, TJ Osborne’s distinctive deep voice and John Osborne’s incendiary guitar playing.
Support for the evening was provided by the critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Lucie Silvas, promoting her new album E.G.O. It’s hard to pin Lucie’s style down to one particular genre and you could tell she has a wide variety of influences, her set was a mixture of pop, country and soulful blues.
Opening song ‘Kite’ had a really funky bassline and got the audience dancing, and this was followed by a stripped down piano-led ballad ‘I Want You All to Myself’ which was beautifully delivered and highlighted Lucie’s stunning voice.
Lucie mentioned that at a meet and greet earlier she’d been talking to some fans who’d recently lost someone special to them, so she delivered a breath-taking acapella verse and chorus of ‘Forget Me Not’ in their memory. I was standing close to the fans in question and I could see how much the gesture meant to them- it was a beautifully touching moment.
A surprise inclusion of the Jackson 5’s ‘Who’s Loving You’ was skillfully performed, before Lucie closed her set with the title track from her new album ‘E.G.O’ and received a very warm ovation from the crowd.
Headlining at O2 Academy for the first time, the Brothers Osborne are touring their latest album Port Saint Joe. The band were last here as support for the Cadillac Three and it seems that word had spread since their last appearance, with a sizeable crowd awaiting them in the packed out main hall.
Opening with kickass party song ‘Drank Like Hank’, Brothers Osborne were on great form. The Brothers have the rock n roll combination frontman/lead guitarist archetypes nailed down, and they front an excellent band of musicians. TJ has an understated charisma as the frontman, and his voice is deep and powerful without being domineering, while John on lead guitar always plays the perfect piece for the song, from slow tasteful blues licks to more intricate well-crafted extended solo sections.
The band kept the energy up with a storming rendition of ‘Shoot Me Straight’, the two brothers’ vocal harmonies locked in tight, and John Osborne showcased his impressive guitar playing in the first extended lead break of the night.
The setlist was perfectly balanced and showed the depth of brothers’ songwriting abilities, from soulful ballads like ‘I Don’t Remember Me (Before You)’ and ‘Pushing up Daisies’, to an awesome slide-blues jam in ‘Down Home’, to more upbeat songs about the finer (and simpler) things in life in ‘Greener Pastures’ and ‘Rum’. Their vocal harmonies shone throughout the set, especially on their Dierks Bentley collaboration ‘Burning Man’, and the whole band were impressively tight throughout. Additional credit must go to the sound engineer, as the overall mix was crystal clear and TJ’s deep, sonorous vocals cut through with clarity in a cavernous venue where that can be notoriously difficult to achieve.
There was a brief respite in the set for a short acoustic section, including ‘Tequila Again’ and a stunning rendition of ‘21 Summer’, with a cover of Steve Earle’s ‘Copperhead Road’ included for good measure. A personal highlight of the evening was an epic delivery of ‘Stay a Little Longer’, which started as a beautiful country pop tune that finally building into a massive rock instrumental crescendo in which John’s exquisite guitar playing took centre stage.
The main set was rounded off with ‘It Ain’t My Fault’, complete with an extended jam in the mid-section which gave the rest of the band a chance to show what they could do too, plus some more impressive guitar playing from John. The band left the stage but the audience weren’t satisfied to let the evening end there, singing the main riff from ‘It Ain’t My Fault’ loudly until the brothers returned for a 5 song encore, in which Lucie Silvas joined the brothers on stage to duet on a beautiful rendition of ‘Lovin’ Me Back’.
The audience were given one final opportunity to lose their voices with a cover of John Denver’s ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ brought to a close probably the most impressive gig I’ve seen in 2018 in terms of overall atmosphere and performance (no mean feat in a year that has included Steve Earle, Blackberry Smoke, Iron Maiden, plus my all-time personal favourites The Wildhearts and Volbeat).
Note: At the time of writing it has just been announced that Port Saint Joe has been nominated for the Best Country Album Grammy, further proof that this is a band that’s on their way to greater heights!
- Drank Like Hank
- Shoot Me Straight
- I Don’t Remember Me (Before You)
- Weed, Whiskey And Willie
- Greener Pastures
- Down Home
- Burning Man
- Tequila Again (acoustic)
- 21 Summer (acoustic)
- Copperhead Road (Steve Earle cover)
- Stay A Little Longer
- It Ain’t My Fault
- Pushing up Daisies
- Pawn Shop
- Lovin’ Me Back (with Lucie Silvas)
- A Couple Wrongs Makin’ It Alright
- Take Me Home, Country Roads (John Denver cover)
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Images Copyright Kevin Burdon Photography. For permission to use these images please contact Kevin.
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