Gig Review by Zak Edwards with Photography by Bianca Barrett

Bizarrely, I’d never been instructed to ‘step into the room on the right’ whilst attending any one of a number of gigs at the Hare & Hounds in King’s Heath, but I was on this night. The fact that it’s twice the size of the other room is testament to the sudden popularity of New York’s newest rock trio, Sunflower Bean.

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To say I was excited was an understatement. The same was obvious of the the crowd. The buzz was palpable and the place was rammed.

Back story. Their recent album (released Friday) Twenty Two in Blue – so called because all of the band members are 22 – shows a maturity beyond their years, combining influences from the likes of the ethereal Cocteau Twins through to the early rock ‘raunch’ of a young Sheryl Crow, right through to 90’s Sonic Youth. It seemed that we were in for a treat.

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“Why don’t we play you some rock music” enquired Julia Cumming and by golly they did just that!

Coming on at just past 9, the guys wasted no time in exploiting the current wave of popularity they’re riding with with the album’s opening track ‘Burn It’ – a song which draws obvious comparisons with early Crow, supremely delivered by a singer who – sporting a delicate evening style black dress – shares an equal amount of sex appeal as the country rock singer. Think a young Suzi Quatro in terms of musical prowess and overall ‘hotness’ and you’re almost there. She plays bass too!

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‘Come On’ from their first album quickly followed suit and was the first tune that combined both singers – a barnstormer of a song that went down particularly well with the Brummie faithful.

Vocally powerful, from the outset, it’s obvious from the start of the gig that Cumming has the confidence of a future rock star and is more than ably supported by her musically talented cohorts.

Title track of the album was up next and really demonstrated the vocal range / power of the lead singer, whilst their combined musical prowess was highlighted by psychedelic rock riff ‘2013’ – an obvious ode to Sonic Youth.

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“Do you know how hard it is for us to say Birmingham” asked the affable singer, before guitarist Nick Kivlen treated the crowd to a small rendition of a Sabbath staple #props!

“It’s the 3rd time we’ve played this venue and we’ve finally sold it out” professed Kivlen, visibly pleased at the partisan crowds attendance. A love which was evidently reciprocated, both visually and vocally by the baying crowd.

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‘Only a Moment’ demonstrated the softer melodic side of the band combining lovely interchanges between the thumping bass and slide guitar and after encouraging crowd participation for ‘Crisis Fest’ with an animated ‘ No No No’ the guys finished up the set with current darling of the radio ‘I was a Fool’ which was as beautifully delivered live as the recorded version.

Highlight of the night was ‘Human Four’. It contains one kick ass bass riff and is uber catchy. Do yourself a favour and listen to it. In fact scratch that, download the album and listen to the whole bloomin thing. Lots!

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One Response to “Sunflower Bean at The Hare & Hounds, King’s Heath, Birmingham, UK – 27th March 2018”

  1. Gig Junkies » Blog Archive » Gig Junkies Year in Review 2018 Says:

    […] Album Review: Twentytwo In Blue by Sunflower Bean Tom Walker The Wombats + The Night Café + BLOXX Sunflower Bean George Ezra Embrace Daphne & […]

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