Black Country, New Road at Bush Hall
What is there left to say about Black Country, New Road that isn’t already well-documented in the annals of music publications and meme posting groups? Perhaps that seeing them live is a truly revelatory experience – although even that sentiment is echoed across the papers and the pages. Their performance last night, however, seemed not only to live up to the hype, but cemented them as one of Britain’s few must-see acts.
On Uxbridge Road in Shepherd’s Bush, flanked by unsuspecting eateries and sporting a glitzy interior, Bush Hall offered a fantastic venue for the sextet of Georgia Ellery, Tyler Hyde, Charlie Wayne, Luke Mark, May Kershaw and Lewis Evans to stage an 80s prom-themed performance that capped off a trio of shows. With many in attendance having bought into the theme (decked out in a variety of multicoloured suits and dresses), the entire evening felt like an encapsulation of what makes Black Country, New Road such a captivating band: the commitment to creativity.
As in all the aforementioned documentation, it is impossible to write about Black Country, New Road without mentioning the upheavals the group underwent in 2022. Mere days before the release of their fantastic second album Ants from Up There, lead singer Isaac Wood departed, citing his struggles with mental health. As support for the decision flooded in from fans, the band adjusted, sharing vocal roles amongst the other members and crafting a live set from entirely new material.
That material was what featured at Bush Hall, and it was simply magnificent. To assign the music a single genre is tricky, as their songs encapsulate post rock, art rock, pop punk and jazz, but the quality remains consistent. Every song here was breathtaking, and the staggering crescendos were matched by the softest of interludes, including a heartbreaking piano-led lullaby sung by Kershaw.
They are an unavoidably engrossing group, as each member provides part of their smörgåsbord of talent and inventiveness. While the prom theme did not extend beyond a cheesy 80s walk-out, fantastic costumes and a few references to “the dean” throughout the show, it gave the entire evening a welcoming, funny and exciting feel. It showed that Black, Country, New Road are willing to take the extra step, to buy into the post-irony their fanbase revels in and elevate the gig experience.
Photos: Nick Bennett
For further information and future events visit Black Country, New Road’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Concorde here: