Kentish indie folk quintet Keston Cobblers Club are one of those live acts capable of bringing a smile to the face of anyone fortunate to witness their uplifting performances regardless of age. Already darlings of BBC Radio, they’ll probably still be gigging for free way into their autumn years and tonight, their one-off High & Lonesome appearance is the first time I’ve seen a band completely fill the new Brudenell Community Room; packed to the rafters and positively buzzing as Julia Lowe (Keyboards/Brass/Vocals), brother Matt (Strings/Vocals), Tom Sweet (Brass, Strings/Vocals), Harry Stasinopoulos (Drums), with Daniel on Tuba, (presumably) deputising for Bethan Ecclestone, take to the stage with the wistful summeriness of ‘Bicycles’.
Indeed the band members are quick to praise the newly enlarged venue, having had no idea of Brudenell’s significant improvements until they walked into the room earlier that evening, and needless to say they immediately feel right at home.
Not surprisingly, Keston Cobblers Club’s latest release, the delightfully diverse and lovingly crafted ‘Almost Home’ features in tonight’s typically vibrant performance although the slightly abridged festival timeslot means the set list is weighted towards the more established live favourites including ‘Your Mother’, ‘Wildfire’, Won’t Look Back’ and ‘Contrails’. The delightfully stripped back version of ‘Parade’, featuring Julia on trumpet, accompanied only by accordion proves to be one of tonight’s many highlights along with the sea shanty ramshackle affair of ‘St Tropez’. The quintet even manage to successfully polish the turd (IMHO) that is ‘Graceland’, a song and album I’ve always really struggled to like; I just don’t get that record but hey, what do I know?
Words - Mike Price