Home Gigs Gig Review : Brave Rival – 100 Club, London

Gig Review : Brave Rival – 100 Club, London

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Review by Paul Monkhouse for MPM

Seemingly always on tour, Brave Rival aren’t shying away from hard work and through constant hours up and down the highways and byways of the country have won themselves a loyal following of ‘Bravians’.

It all helps that last years ‘Life’s Machine’ debut was full of the sort of classy and hook-filled material that Fleetwood Mac produced at their commercial peak in the mid to late 1970’s, given a modern twist.

Armed with a raft of great songs and a genuine warmth onstage, they’ve become one of the must-see bands on the circuit and this headline show was their biggest yet.

Brave Rival at their biggest headline show to date

For those crammed into the subterranean vault of Oxford Street’s legendary club tonight was a celebration of just how far the band have come. Seemingly fully formed when they emerged and the quintet certainly having rapport both onstage and off and everyone present is treated like family.

This ease with each other has reaped its rewards and the quality of songs written making their debut a compelling listen, the tracks previewed from album number two showing this was no flash in the pan.

Brave Rival at their biggest headline show to date

Opening with Ed Clarke’s urgent riff for ‘Run and Hide’, a rush of euphoric adrenaline hits as singers Chloe Josephine and Lindsey Bonnick trade lines powered by the locomotive drive of Donna Peters drums and Billy Dedman’s bass. It’s a breathless start and one that sets the bar high but the irresistible swing of ‘Bad Choices’ and the addictive singalong ‘Guilty Love’ continue the wave.

Brave Rival at their biggest headline show to date

The first of the new material appears and ‘Stars Upon My Scars’ has already proven itself to be a fan favourite, drenched in soulful blues and electricity, the heart on my sleeve lyrics bring a real depth of connection.

Mix this with the wine and whisky soaked vocals of Josephine and Bonnick and the heady brew stands to become a keystone of their set for years to come.

Brave Rival at their biggest headline show to date

Reaching equally lofty heights, the newly penned ‘Sink or Swim’ is a blistering example of the power and grace Brave Rival can bring, its climax leaving everyone shaken as a mix of awe and the euphoria that comes from truly great music shakes the foundations.

Brave Rival at their biggest headline show to date

Whilst the vocals may draw the greatest attention, Clarke’s playing has a hunger and fire of its own, his solos with more bite that a shoal of piranha. Peters and Dedman are certainly no slouches either, their long-time musical partnership providing the perfect bounce and drive to numbers like a pneumatic ‘Thin Ice’ and groove-laden ‘Heart Attack’.

Brave Rival at their biggest headline show to date

Obviously having a great time onstage, there’s still time for moments that reach into the very souls of all there and ‘Insane’s treatment of mental health issues is both sensitive and cathartic.

Brave Rival at their biggest headline show to date

It’s just down to the truly show stopping and jaw dropping vocal gymnastics and passion of ‘Come Down’ to finish the set before the lust and regret of ‘What’s Your Name Again?’ brings the night to its suitably aching conclusion. With material and chemistry this good, make no mistake, Brave Rival are set to fill arenas.

Photography by DubbelXposure Photography

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