Playing their last gig before this month entering a Scottish Studio to record their debut single for former Libertine Gary Powell’s 25 Hour Convenience Store label, the Craven Braves electrified the audience at New Oxford Street’s The Bowery.
From the opener ‘Ballad For The Best’ it is clear that the band are in confident mood, the tight musicianship of previous gigs is still there but there’s a brash swagger about it too. The setting, a stone’s throw from Centre Point, seems apt as crowd favourite ‘Locals’, a song which seems to have the very essence of London at its heart, follows, and an equally raucous reception greets ‘Copenhagen’.
On this form it is clear to see what has so impressed Gary Powell (who is attendance tonight) and their growing legion of fans, the band may wear their influences – from The Clash to Johnny Cash – on their sleeves, but at no point do they sound derivative.
‘Love Lies & Compromise’ has been a part of the bands set for over a year but has never sounded so forceful, reflecting a band on the top of their game. New one ‘Beggars Feet’ shows the band can be equally effective in a more sombre reflective mood whilst the by now trademark stage invasion during what has become the bands anthem, the excellent ‘Crying Shame’ was reminiscent of the early days of their label boss’ former band.
Having recently signed the deal the gig feels like the culmination of two and a half years hard work, a celebration of sorts with many of the people who have supported the band throughout that period, and yet it equally feels like the beginning of a new and exciting time for the band, whilst the gig is filled with old faces there are plenty of new ones in attendance too. The Craven Braves have briefly reflected on a job well done and are now striding purposefully into the future.
By Callum West