LIVE REVIEW: The Lone Bellow, Joseph @ Sage Gateshead (24.01.16) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Nick Wesson

Portland, Oregon’s Joseph are three sisters making their debut UK show tonight and their lush three-part harmonies and vocal arrangements win over the crowd instantly.  Backed by a solitary guitar, their full sound is impressive as it is mesmerising and Honest, from their forthcoming sophomore record, with it’s beautiful “I’m alone, no you’re not,” refrain, is particularly devastating.

Every now and again a band will appear from nowhere to truly blow away an audience. The Lone Bellow have arrived from Brooklyn, via Nashville, with their country rock and blues; their sound may not be overly original, but they do it better than anybody around right now.  Whether it be the roots rock ‘n’ roll of The One You Should’ve Let Go or the lament of Fake Roses, this is a band whose live performance actually surpasses their self-titled debut record and last year’s Then Came The Morning, and that’s no mean feat.  Charismatic lead singer Zach Williams comes across as half country rock God with his heart on his sleeve and half evangelical preacher, with tongue placed firmly in one cheek.  When he’s not bringing the room to tears with his emotive voice on weepy ballads like Marietta or foot-stomping blasts like You Don’t Love Me Like You Used To, he’s up on the monitor leading the audience in a joyous, life affirming sing-a-long.  Guitarist Brian Elmqvist’s vocals on the beautiful Watch Over Us and the superb backing of Kanene Pipkin on mandolin and occasional vocals prove that in no way is this a one man show.  In Green Eyes And A Heart Of Gold, The Lone Bellow possess an instant classic, but there’s something here for all those who appreciate the timeless winning concept of three chords and the truth.  The last time The Lone Bellow played Sage’s Hall 2 they performed to a few tables and a smattering of people.  If there’s any justice in the world, the next time they’ll be playing to a sold out main room.  A truly magical show.

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