Review: Lonely the Brave @ Club Academy, Manchester

It’s been a hell of an 18 months for Lonely the Brave.

The Cambridge five-piece have received near universal appraise for their debut album The Days War before sharing stages with the Maccabees and Jamie Lenman.

As well as appearing on the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury and the main stage of Reading and Leeds festival this year.

So the Club Academy, in the depths of The University of Manchester’s Student Union, is the most intimate venue it will be possible to see them for a little while.

As off the back of this performance and with a second album looming for the new year, they’re about to explode.

The crowds were told they were ‘guinea pigs’ for the night, and the set list reflected this.

With a few new songs being pepper alongside crowd favorites River, River, Control and Deserter.

The new songs, however, went down well, with the band opening with one of them before moving onto Trick of The Light.

Indeed, the reaction of the crowd prompted guitarist Mark Trotter to say, “two songs in, and you’re the best crowd of the tour already.”

What is interesting with the band who, as mentioned, have played some of the biggest stages in the World, is that their lead singer, David Jakes, is subdued in his movement and speech.

It’s refreshing and there’s a real honest feel about the music, with a singer who often seems as immersed in the music as the crowd are.

The guitars and drums contribute just as much to their songs as their lead singers Bruce Springsteen-esque voice.

Lonely the Brave are a band who are accustomed to live performances and Backroads, the third song, is the perfect example of how their songs are crafted for these audiences.

The lyrics in many songs are simple, but effective; ‘but you be the sky, and I’ll be the bird’ rang around the dungeon academy.

The Blue, The Green was the last song of the set-proper and it really shows the band at their best. 

Real arena-filling hairs-on-the-back-of-your-neck stuff.

Towards the end of the song Jackes stopped singing, holding dropping his mic letting the crowd shout back, “I want to know what it’s like, so I can feel it inside.” 

The band, whether they know it or not, have created an anthem in the song.

They returned for a one song encore of Black Saucers, then as understated as they had been all night.

They left the stage to a rapturous applause of a crowd whose status had been upgraded to “one of the best crowds ever.”

Image courtesy of Rock Werchter, with thanks.

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