GIG REVIEW: Brothers Osborne – Live At Rock City, Nottingham

Brothers Osborne really have cracked it in the UK. It’s only been a year or so since I saw them opening the show for The Cadillac Three at Rock City; now, they’re packing the place out all by themselves. They’ve become firm favourites of the UK fans in that time, and yet another win for CMA Vocal Duo Of The Year has no doubt helped their international profile. It was great to hear the new material from the simply brilliant ‘Port Saint Joe’ album now that we’ve had some time to digest it, and we were also treated to a set from the best opening act of the year – Lucie Silvas.

Lucie released one of the albums of the year back in May with ‘E.G.O.’, and it’s clear when she’s performing that there’s a personal attachment to the new material like never before. She gave a passionate performance at Rock City which will surely have gained her a lot of new fans. Leaving out all of her previous material, apart from the anthemic ‘Letters To Ghosts’, she performed most of the songs from the new album, including lead single ‘Kite’, the attitude-filled ‘First Rate Heartbreak’ and her upcoming US single ‘Black Jeans’. Creatively, it’s such a refreshing, diverse album and it makes for a really intriguing live set. ‘Everything Looks Beautiful’ was a personal highlight with Lucie at the piano, doing what she does best. Packed full of throwback soul, it showcases her incredible vocal range and it’s impossible not to lose yourself in its charming melody. An awesome way to kick off the evening.

Soon after, Brothers Osborne took the stage, kicking off their set with the southern rock-influenced ‘Drank Like Hank’ to crank up the energy level, followed by the album’s lead single ‘Shoot Me Straight’, complete with the lengthy instrumental which was rather mesmerising to watch. ‘Weed, Whiskey and Willie’ is always a great moment in their live shows too with that chorus that just begs to be sung by a packed room; without even being a single, it truly feels like one when you hear it in that kind of environment.

There’s still clearly a lot of love for the material from their ‘Pawn Shop’ album too; we had performances of the quirky ‘Greener Pastures’, ‘Down Home’, ‘Rum’, ‘Heart Shaped Locket’ and my personal favourite, ’21 Summer’ to remind us of just how iconic that record was. It’s cemented its place amongst the best releases of the last decade, and the fans Nottingham fans absolutely lapped up every word.

‘Stay A Little Longer’ and ‘It Ain’t My Fault’ are of course staples in Brothers Osborne set lists, and we were treated to a heavily extended performance of the latter. For what felt like almost 10 minutes, we saw John absolutely shredding that electric guitar like few others can; an instrumental masterclass at its finest, and the audience watched in awe. There’s a magic about that song that triggers such an amazing atmosphere, and it was without doubt one of the highlights of the set.

There were a couple of covers thrown in along the way, too. The boys took us back in time with a rendition of Steve Earle’s ‘Copperhead Road’, and their choice of ‘Country Roads’ to finish the show was sublime, leaving everyone on a massive high. They know exactly how to balance the rockier moments with the fun moments and give the fans what they want. Something really special is happening for these guys in the UK right now, and it’ll only get bigger.

Dan Wharton
@LifeInASong_Dan