Oh the absolute joyous delight of discovering a band that you instantly fall in love with. Admittedly I am late to the party as Turin Brakes have been going for over 15 years – no idea how I missed them…maybe I have just been too caught up with listening to my eighties favourites and soundtrack tunes. But whatever the reason, I am a fool not to have found them before.
The great thing about being a bit behind the times is that I have a seven album back catalogue to enjoy with all the freshness of a new release. Fifteen years’ worth of videos that capture an almost stop motion like journey from their floppy haired early days to maturity through their beautifully crafted songs.
Hailing from South London, the indie/folk/rock duo, Olly Knights (lead guitar/vocals) and Gale Paridjanian (guitar/vocals) are joined by permanent long term collaborators Eddie Myer (bass) and Rob Allum (drums). Having sold over a million records and had chart success earlier in their career, with tracks like ‘Painkiller’, they have a large loyal fan base selling out venues on this UK tour that promotes their new album ‘Lost Property’.
I was fortunate enough to spend time before the gig interviewing Olly and talking to the other members. A genuinely friendly, laidback group, who were most generous with their time.
Whilst some may binge-watch boxsets I have been binge-listening to Turin Brakes albums and was struck by how atmospheric and soundtrack appropriate many of the songs are. Film imagery filling my mind to accompany the different tracks. I asked Olly if he ever watched films that he thought their music would fit perfectly in. He replied all the time and every film should feature a Turin Brakes track! Olly continued on to explain that whilst he was studying film the band started out wanting to create a soundtrack sound, inspired by Ry Cooders ‘Paris, Texas’ and Pink Floyd.
I could happily have gone on chatting for hours about film and music - but a sound check was required and a sell-out crowd eagerly waited in the bar. Watch the interview below;
The support act was acoustic singer songwriter Tom Speight with backup from Eliza Shaddad and Tommy Ashby. A delightful musician who warms up the crowd with songs like ‘The River’, ‘Little Love’, ‘Something to Say’. Beautifully harmonised with a natural chemistry on stage, there is much smiling and jolly banter, including a funny tale of sleeping bags and top to toeing in a bed.
Tom comes down into the audience to sing a song with the crowd encircling him – this effectively engaged everyone and got people swaying and clapping along. A stand out track for me was ‘Willow Tree’ with the lyrics ‘Our roots grow close, ‘cause you are the one I need the most.’
Some songs upbeat and others tranquil and charming, Tom was a very welcomed and enjoyable support act. When I asked Olly Knight if there were any artists he would like to write with, he replied Tom Speight. They have collaborated together on music for Tom and for Turin Brakes.
Tom’s debut EP 'Little Love' is back in the top 50 in the iTunes singer/songwriter chart due to his success on this tour. Tom told me he has plans for a further two releases this year. Definitely worth checking it out at just £1.99
Turin Brakes take to the stage and launch into ‘96’, the first track off the new album ‘Lost Property’. This was greatly received by the audience, it seems just the true die-hard fans that have made the effort to learn the new lyrics are singing along. Straight into the second album track ‘Keep Me Around’ and then the title track ‘Lost Property’. It is not until they play ‘Mind Over Money’ from their 2001 album ‘The Optimist’, that the crowd really come to life, cheering and singing along.
It is always tricky when playing new material to win everyone over when some just want to hear the more established tracks, but it felt like the audience were really appreciating and concentrating on the new songs and the beauty in the music. Eddie Myer puts the set list together as Olly said it would get too pressurised to please everyone. Myer has the magic touch and gets the mixture of old and new material just right.
Next up 2013's ‘We Were Here’ then an audience favourite ‘Future Boy’, followed by ‘Jump Start’, ‘Last Chance’, ‘Save You’, ‘Emergency 72’, ‘Pain Killer’, ‘Fishing for a Dream’, ‘Long Distance’ and ‘Black Rabbit’ to complete the set. No one is ready to go home and to much cheering, foot stomping and clapping Turin Brakes returns for an encore of ‘Sea Change’, which is my absolute favourite tune, followed by ‘No Mercy’ and ‘Underdog’. Then to thunderous applause and an absolute first for a band I have seen at the Exeter Phoenix, they return for a second encore.
Frankly I was blown away by the absolute effortless beauty to Olly’s voice and sublime tone in their harmonies. One moment, lightly textured songs then full on rock guitars. Seeing them live has added so much more to the music as their performance is full of exalted integrity, passion and charisma.
There is a real camaraderie to the band as they often encircle Rob on drums in an inclusive move. When people call something out there is a wonderful sense of fun and humour with much laughter to their witty responses.
Standing right of the stage I was a little dazzled by Gale’s alluring charm, smiling joyfully as Eddie gave it his all. Oh how I could go on – it was wondrous, and I am enjoying playing catch-up with the previous albums.