Written by Kim Simmons
Photos by Kane Howie
Saturday 12th January 2019
Cambridge is a well known location around the world thanks to the beautiful landmarks such as the university and its various sites around the area, tourist attractions, and even the work of remarkable visionaries including the late, great theoretical physicist that was Stephen Hawking. However, what some of you may not know is that it is also home to English, alternative rock band Lonely The Brave.
Saturday the 12th January saw the return of the band to their home as they performed live at well known local event venue, Cambridge Junction. Lonely The Brave originally formed in 2008. The band members have all faced some rather challenging moments of late, particularly when their front man and singer, David Jakes announced that he was departing the act in early 2018 for personal reasons. However they managed to recruit a new vocalist in the form of Jack Bennett.
The band’s return to Cambridge was the last stop on their first 2019 tour.
After big changes and multiple sold out shows, it was clear that the lads were very well received when returning home. For their shows in Manchester and
Bristol they were accompanied by support act She Makes War.
However for their show at the Junction they changed things up a little by welcoming solo act, the lovely Hannah Lou Clark – who last time went on tour with Lonely The Brave “ended up marrying one of them” (her own words). Also joining them was rock band Grieving. The lead singer of this act is also LTB’s previous co-management, they stated, “without him we may not be where we are today”.
Hannah Lou Clark was the first of the night’s acts to take to the stage in the smaller J2 venue on site (very much like the size of a school sports hall). When recorded, her music has a slightly edgy sound to it, although for this show, she performed her music in a very relaxed stripped back set with only her guitar on stage as a companion as she stood under dim pink lighting. The solo artist showcased original tracks including “Don’t Sweat It”, “We’re Rich” and “Kids In Heat”.
Often, it is the case that in between acts performing the venue plays a variety of music into the room as ticket holders hit the bar or chat amongst themselves. This was no exception at Cambridge Junction as we waited for the second act of the evening to set up. As mentioned earlier in this review there were not one, but two support acts for this Lonely The Brave show.
The second was Grieving (also from Cambridge). This was an exciting gig for them as this was their first show of 2019. As expected, all three acts had merchandise for sale in the lobby of the venue, but support act Grieving went in a retro direction with their music as they also had their music recorded onto cassette tapes. This was actually quite a big talking point in the lobby before the main doors to the venue had opened that evening. So extra brownie points to them for the outside of the box thinking!
While on stage the guys from Grieving were clearly very happy to be playing at this venue and also alongside the other two acts too. They displayed quite a bit of energy while performing their songs “My Friend, The Ghost”, “Ownership” and more during their half an hour time slot. On their social media pages, the four guys describe the genre of their music (by using emoticon text) as this: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ , to me that means simply “we don’t know” which can only show how diverse their music can be, leaving a lot of room and options for them to explore when it comes to creating their sound in the future. The band have also previously received support from the likes of Radio 1 DJs Huw Stephens and Dan P Carter. And not forgetting extensive support from BBC Introducing. Grieving are set to begin recording again in February and have announced that they will be releasing a full album in May of this year (2019). So keep your eyes peeled for that one.
Both support acts for the evening appeared to be quite appreciated by the audience; however, we did all go there to see Lonely The Brave perform live, so let’s talk about their amazing set!
It was clear that nerves were quite apparent when the night’s main act first stepped out on stage. Particularly from new band member Jack Bennett. At first he appeared to us all as a little awkward and even came across to me that he was clearly miles out of his comfort zone. Which isn’t what you’d expect to see from a band such as this one. To be perfectly honest I felt like I needed to mother him a little, but truthfully, I admired him for this, he was open and made his emotions and feelings known to the audience by expressing to us all that this was only his fourth live show with Lonely The Brave and that despite his nerves and even stating he’s “still trying to be more confident”, he welcomed all criticism good and bad from his performance by saying “just hit me with it, I can take it. I’m losing my voice and I’m not used to singing for longer than twenty minutes, but I’m going to give this everything I’ve got, I swear!”
The guys played an amazing, down to earth set that was full of energy and gave us all the chance to sing along to some of our favourite Lonely The Brave tracks. Their single “Backroads” was by far the most popular track with the audience that evening as everyone could be heard singing the well known lyrics “if you’ll be the sky, then I’ll be the bird!” In my opinion, it’s actually their biggest hit to date. Although it’s also my favourite so there’s a teeny, tiny chance I may be a tad biased on that one.
Of course as their hour and a half set continued, singer Jack had clearly become more confident as they progressed and even managed to accidentally split his gum open while settling into his role. Oops! Also, other band members were happy to stop and have conversations with people on the floor in front of the stage. We also got to hear other well known tracks from them including “The Blue, The Green”, “Diamond Days”, “Trick Of The Light”, “Black Saucers” and more.
Honestly, the changes to their line up are barely noticeable to their sound and their music is still so enjoyable and quite relatable too. Newcomer Jack was so well received by everyone there, with some even shouting “you’re doing really well!” His vocals have a pretty impressive range and work so well with the band’s current material, so it will be so interesting to see the outcome of new music in the future. I, for one can’t wait!
The guys of Lonely The Brave couldn’t have possibly asked for a better homecoming show for their first gig since their changes. Everyone sang along like a giant karaoke session, there was plenty of admiration for them and the atmosphere was a very positive one, leaving everyone at the end of the night going home on a high. Ever since leaving that show, I have had their music playing on repeat, loop, you name it. Amazing show guys! A huge congratulations to you and your supporting acts!