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Two Ways Home Underbelly London live review

The duo showcased the strength of their writing, musicianship and vocals.

Two Ways Home
Credit: Two Ways Home

UK alt-country duo Two Ways Home have had a busy 2017, including playing festivals up and down the country and an appearance at Country Music Week in October. However, one thing that has remained constant is their monthly Round Up, a Nashville-style songwriters’ round. For the final show of 2017 and to mark the release of their latest single Outlaws, Two Ways Home performed a full band show at London’s Underbelly.

Lewis and Isi opened their set with the atmospheric Closest Stranger. It’s a staple of their live shows and the driving rhythm balances nicely with the harmonies they’re known for. I also liked that the song showed off the soulful side to Isi’s voice alongside Lewis’ skill as a guitar player. They then moved into the shimmering 80s-influenced intro of Still In Love, which showcased Isi’s sweet vocals in contrast to the dark ominous drum beats.

Throughout the show the band mixed songs from their three previous EPs alongside new material. Highlights included the sparse romantic ballad Take My Hand, the uptempo Two Short Years (with a down-home feel added by the bass), and a stripped-back version of Push And Pull It showed that they’re a really versatile group and can easily turn their hand to any style. New single Outlaws was also a standout with its 90s alt rock vibe and strong storytelling highlighting the band’s ability as songwriters – in places it almost reminded me of a countrified spin on the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

However, what brought it all together was simple arrangements which allowed Isi and Lewis’s vocals to come to the fore, both individually and together. In particular I felt Isi shone on the stomping Southern rock of No Longer Mine, where she could show off the power in her voice, whilst the gentle Don’t Give Up On Me Tonight highlighted her softer side. Meanwhile, Lewis got to show off the growl in his voice on Best Part Of Me, which was given a rockier edge by the band, including an impressive solo from regular guitarist Michael.

Two Ways Home closed their set with the introspective, lullaby-like Better Days – where Lewis got a chance to show off some impressive range – before finishing with the poppy Just For Now. For me those two songs sum up the band perfectly; they’re just as good at slower, more emotional songs as they are at more uptempo numbers, and that’s down to the strength of their writing, musicianship and vocals. Plus they always look like they’re having a great time on stage! The Round Up will be back in 2018 so whether it’s an acoustic set or a full band show, make sure you catch Two Ways Home next year. You won’t regret it.

 

Set list: 1. Closest Stranger 2. Still In Love 3. Take My Hand 4. Outlaws 5. Tattoo 6. Two Short Years 7. Push And Pull 8. Don’t Give Up On Me Tonight 9. Best Part Of Me 10. No Longer Mine 11. Better Days 12. Just For Now Performance date: 13th December 2017

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