The Lost Brothers + Llamadme Pastor, Purcell Rooms, Royal Festival Hall, 3rd March 2020

It appears not to be lost on The Lost Brothers themselves that after twelve or so years together and five prior albums, bigger things and greater attention looms imminently on their horizon. “Normally when we play London,” declares singer and chief chat guy Oisin, “we know everyone by name.” Whilst tonight’s intimate and attentive crowd of a few hundred or so may not exactly be the O2 arena, it’s a notable step up in size and comfortably seated grandeur. Additionally the show is the first of many on the forthcoming tour poster to be slapped with a ‘sold out’ sticker.

They open, once a quick technical blip is resolved, with a near perfect ‘Fugitive Moon’. It pretty much sets the tone for the night, Oison Leach’s wistful subtle vocals and occasional harmonica accompanied by a fedora donned Mark Macausland with a dry co-vocal and sublime plucked guitar.

The pair hail from Navan and Omagh respectively with previous career footings in Liverpool, London and the Emerald Isle plus eventual bouncing between the coasts of the USA too. The tune ‘Eight Hundred Miles’ lays testament to the latter. “I don’t have to heed anyone” they note, “I will go where I think I must”. The set list was understandably heavy with songs from their recently released ‘After The Fire After The Rain‘ LP, the album having garnered much critical acclaim and even the occasional airing on daytime BBC radio. ‘After The Fire’, a mournful campfire song, engages the room whilst its later played sister song ‘After The Rain’ brings a little mid-west splashing’s to the bridge lit lights of the South Bank setting.

Their encore included a 12-bar shuffling ‘In Spite Of All The Danger’, a nod to their Liverpool busking days as they sang the one song local lads McCartney & Harrison ever penned together. There was also a debut airing of their cover of Woody Guthrie’s ‘Who’s Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Feet’ which blended Richard Hawley in a subtly served Everly Brothers Irish Whisky. ‘Gold and Silver’ finished the night, Simon & Garfunkel like in its delivery but with added observed modern cynicism. A Paul and Art for these blustery times perhaps. A Don & Phil for this schism era. Whatever, it’s superb stuff.

Support came from Llamadme Pastor with guitar assistance from Drew McConnell. Although singing in his native Spanish tongue, little translation was required. For his six or so songs, the international language of the half empty glass prevailed quite clear.

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