Live Music + Gig Reviews

Turin Brakes @ Brixton Academy, London

21 March 2003

Turin Brakes

Turin Brakes (Photo: PR)

The rate they are going at the moment Turin Brakes should seriously consider changing their name. Far from slowing down, the band are gathering momentum – and it’s establishing them as one of Britain’s premier acts.

Just why this is so was easy to see as Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian wowed a packed Brixton Academy. They did so with a blend of songs from their new album, Ether Song, and their acclaimed Mercury Prize nominated debut, The Optimist LP. No-one can doubt the quality of their songs but, not for the first time, the sound quality left much to be desired with the louder sections often getting muffled in the vast Brixton venue.

And it was a venue, we were told, that the London duo felt a special link to. Olly told of how he had his first live music experience there – a Transvision Vamp gig when he was 10. Now he was the star, surrounded by strobe lights and glitterballs.

Anti-war cries from rock stars seem almost obligatory at gigs at the moment and, to be honest, the whole thing is getting boring. So I am sure you will excuse me for yawning when the band dedicated Average Man to Tony Blair.

That song was just one of the tunes from the new Turin Brakes album which showed that the band have progressed from their acoustically dominated first record. The melodic sound remains but added depth has taken them to the next level.

Old favourites such as Emergency 72 and Underdog will have pleased long-term fans however. Although they may well have been disturbed by a statue next to the stage which seemed to be moving and shining a torch – very scary!

Fortunately I only noticed this before the last song, a song which the band’s more impatient followers may never have even heard.

It was the title track from the new album, Ether Song, a song which appears at the end of the CD after about five minutes of silence, and one which concluded the gig in fine fashion.

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