Monday, June 4, 2012

Live Review: Admiral Fallow, Newcastle Cluny, 5/30/2012

Relative novices though they are, it's fair to say that Admiral Fallow have done pretty well for themselves in recent times. With sophomore album Tree Bursts In Snow they've made strides towards building a fanbase beyond their native Scotland, and the subsequent six week trek around UK has only served to spread their name further. This show at Newcastle's Cluny all but confirmed their rising stock, with the quintet playing before a packed out room and exhibiting a confidence which can only stem from the unstoppable tide of momentum.

Showcasing all but one of the new record's songs amongst a smattering of established favourites, the band rattled through their catalog with a vibrancy and zest which hasn't translated in the studio. Some numbers such as "Beetle In The Box" benefited no end from this added kick, but others went on to flourish even more in their new environment. The shameless Springsteen-isms of "Isn't This World Enough??" for instance were only enhanced by jubilant crowd singalongs, while "Guest Of The Government" fulfilled its potential as a fully fledged pop nugget, far removed from their usual folky exploits.

The evening's true highlight, however, came in a wholly unlikely form - the somewhat unheralded 'Four Bulbs' from debut album Boots Met My Face. Performed without the aid of microphones or amps amid a backdrop of blissful uninterrupted silence, its breathtaking intimacy lifted it to stunning unbeknown heights. It was a fine example of a group knowing their surroundings and working with them, something which will sadly be lost if and when they graduate to larger venues.

Frontman and creative mastermind Louis Abbott was in fine form throughout, engaging his audience during song and keeping them entertained in-between with his wonderfully dry Scottish wit. After an ecstatically received run through "Squealing Pigs," he made the half observational, half sarcastic comment "I guess that's what you all came for?" There's no doubt that that early single remains their most popular song, but you get the impression that its position could well become threatened once the newer cuts have fully bedded in. What is set in stone is that Admiral Fallow's appeal extends far beyond one individual song, and it's brilliant performances like this which have set them on such an irresistible ascent.


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