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Brothers Osborne Koko Camden, London live review

The award-winning duo blew our socks off on their first UK headline tour.

Brothers Osborne
Credit: Alysse Gafkjen

Brothers Osborne have quickly become a favourite on the Country scene here in the UK. After making their live debut at C2C: Country to Country 2017 followed by a sold-out headline show, Brothers Osborne made a return last November as the support act for The Cadillac Three. Those performances left UK fans hankering for a headline tour and that was quickly announced following their last visit. Before they started their first headline tour, Brothers Osborne have already announced a second tour later in the year. Last night they brought their show to Koko Camden in London and it was the busiest I’ve ever seen the venue.

Opening with Shoot Me Straight, the lead single from the duo’s recently released album Port Saint Joe, the brothers wasted no time getting the party started. From the get-go the crowd was ready to party and there was definitely an infectious vibe. By the end of the first song I was already wowed by TJ’s fantastic vocals and John’s remarkable guitar skills. They also have an incredible chemistry on stage that’s really fun to witness. After a brief cover of Steam’s Na Na Hey Hey, Brothers Osborne dug into their catalogue serving up all the hits alongside selections from debut album Pawn Shop and second album Port Saint Joe.

An early highlight was Rum, a song taken from Pawn Shop. The uptempo feel-good groove definitely hit the right note for the Friday night crowd and it was the first of many sing-a-long moments during the night. 21 Summer was a breezy, enjoyable moment while Heart Shaped Locket sounded more urgent live with more energy than the album version. The duo showed off their gentler sides on the slower I Don’t Remember Me (Before You) and Weed, Whiskey and Willie, both taken from Port Saint Joe. Those two tracks were rare softer moments during a mostly raucous and hugely enjoyable performance.

For Drank Like Hank, Brothers Osborne welcomed their support act Kendell Marvel back to the stage (he co-wrote the track with them) and the party kicked back into action. Stay a Little Longer, the band’s breakthrough single, followed next and turned into another sing-a-long moment for the sold-out crowd as did the superb It Ain’t My Fault, which felt a little bit like having a religious experience. John’s guitar solos on that song were insane and left me feeling like I’m a very inadequate guitar player.

The duo left the stage after that but quickly returned when the audience started chanting and stomping their feet. They performed a six-song encore starting with A Couple Wrongs Makin’ It Alright. After that they asked the crowd what songs they wanted to hear and there was something quite exciting about the anticipation of what they were going to play. Tequila Again sounded amazing live as did Slow Your Roll. Much chanting from the crowd convinced the duo to play Pawn Shop and they also surprised with Pushing Up Daisies (Love Alive), one of the best tracks from Port Saint Joe.

For their final song Brothers Osborne did a cover of John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads and it was the perfect end to a flawless set. The band’s energy didn’t drop once and neither did the audience’s. It was a feel-good, uplifting end to the night and the band themselves admitted they could have played all night if it wasn’t for the curfew. From where I was standing the audience would have loved that!

Brothers Osborne are one of those bands that you simply have to see live. They sound amazing on record but they are something else entirely in the live environment. The duo has so much energy and they know how to work up the crowd, TJ in particular was adept at rousing the audience into a frenzy throughout the night. They were backed by a ridiculously tight band, their vocals were on point and the set list was everything you could have wanted and more. I’m already counting down to their return later in the year and I doubt a live show is going to beat this one in 2018.

 

Set list: 1. Shoot Me Straight 2. Na Na Hey Hey (Steam cover) 3. Down Home 4. Rum 5. Greener Pastures 6. Hey Jude (interlude) 7. 21 Summer 8. Heart Shaped Locket 9. I Don’t Remember Me (Before You) 10. Weed, Whiskey and Willie 11. Drank Like Hank (with Kendell Marvell) 12. Stay a Little Longer 13. It Ain’t My Fault 14. A Couple Wrongs Makin’ It Alright 15. Tequila Again 16. Slow Your Roll 17. Pawn Shop 18. Pushing Up Daises (Love Alive) 19. Take Me Home, Country Roads (John Denver cover) Performance date: 11th May 2018

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