Having had the pleasure of seeing the eccentric excellence of the infamous Brewis brothers’ side project, Ian Black’s SLUG, on more than one occasion, I was particularly looking forward to finally witnessing their long-term main commitment for the first time. I’ve been a massive fan of Field Music, and pretty much everything that Peter and David Brewis do, for a long time now, and so it was with excitement that I arrived at Shepherd’s Bush Empire to enjoy the band playing their biggest London headline show to date.
Following the twinkling ethereal splendour of fellow Memphis Industries signee Haley Bonar, Sunderland’s finest take to the stage amidst a sea of an eclectic range of instruments and an abundance of energy.
As Field Music blast out exuberant tracks from their latest album, Commontime, they do so with magnificent gusto. From the funk-fused beats, jangly melodies and sweeping sax solos of ‘The Noisy Days Are Over’, to the whirring riffs, staccato bass and jazzy inflections of the playful ballad ‘Disappointed’, each track is executed with an impassioned energy and eccentric charm as the Brewis brothers take turns to lead their large collective (who were apparently driven here in the brothers’ dad’s people carrier).
As we’re treated to a wide selection of songs from over the years, an infectious joy spreads throughout the crowd as each utterly unique blast of anthemic power pop oozes from the stage. From the uptempo, sunny melodies and syncopated beats of 2010’s ‘Effortlessly’, to the strangely catchy cacophony of 2005’s ‘Shorter Shorter’, each incredible and eclectic offering is a sheer sonic delight.
Alongside the honey-sweet harmonies and impressive falsetto of the Brewis brothers, a wide range of different sounds are fused together to create an awesome sense of cinematic grandeur. Amalgamating the upbeat power-pop of The Beach Boys with funk-fused beats and the sweeping strings of the ‘Crouton Quartet’, Field Music prove themselves worthy of the ‘musical genius’ title I’ve often heard them described as.
And their exceptional musical competence is not the only draw of seeing this band live – though it would be reason enough. A down-to-earth wit underlies each impressive musical offering, as that North Eastern charm once again wins me over and adds to the already great enjoyment of a fantastic set.
As the night draws to a close, and the buoyant spirit and epic musicality of Field Music comes to an end, I’m filled with a fuzzy joy at having finally witnessed the grandeur of each unique, uptempo creation this band have to offer. And I can’t wait to hear what these innovative brothers have in store for us next.