Lonely The Brave arrive in Bristol on the back of a puzzling few years. Touring behind second album Things Will Matter petered out, then in March last year talismanic vocalist David Jakes announced he was stepping aside from the band for mental health reasons.
After a comeback show in London late last year, the five-piece are on their first run of shows with new singer Jack Bennett, better known for his Grumble Bee project. Any doubts about LTB’s potency are blown away as they tear straight into ‘Black Mire’ and the sold out crowd are quickly bellowing along.
While few people could ever match Jakes’ incredible air-hangar vocals and captivating presence, Bennett handles the songs with a respect and dedication that quickly wins fans over. He repeatedly thanks the crowd for their support, and they respond in kind, making two hundred voices feel like ten thousand.
The band and crowd feed off each other’s energy, with a euphoric ‘Rattlesnakes’ made to feel like an arena encore. Whoever is fronting them, they’ve grown into a formidable live unit, with twin guitars dancing over one another and a powerhouse of a rhythm section.
There’s no new songs on show yet, despite the band being locked away in the studio for the past six months, but after their time away you can forgive guitarist Mark Trotter for curating a ‘Best Of’ set to remind everyone exactly what they’ve been missing.
‘Trick of the Light’ sees the room headbanging in sync with the band, while set closer ‘The Blue, The Green’ remains a whirl of emotion and power. The fans who’ve stayed the distance clearly love Lonely The Brave enough to support them with whatever comes next, and a triumphant run through their masterpiece ‘Backroads’ is their reward.
It’s not clear what the future holds for Lonely The Brave but tonight they stand tall and eager to face what’s coming next.