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Bannerman's, Edinburgh
21st November 2014

Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland

the brew

The Brew are an old fashioned blues rock power trio from glamorous Grimsby and have been building a solid reputation since their debut album was released back in 2006.

Inspired by the British rock titans of the sixties and seventies and adding some more modern and psychedelic touches of their own they have kept it old school and got themselves noticed by touring and sheer hard work.

Given their reputation as an excellent live act I was surprised at the small turn out for this show, the last on their current UK tour. I guess there are too many distractions in Edinburgh at this time of year! The band didn't let that phase them though and launched into opening song 'Repeat' as if their lives depended on it.

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Guitarist and vocalist Jason Barwick is the one who immediately grabs your attention. With his not too flashy but fiery guitar playing style it's the guitar that defines the band's sound along with his strong, melodic vocals.

The main man is also a real performer, at times bouncing around the stage like Tigger went rock and roll. By second song 'Mute' he's already into crowd participation mode, getting everyone warmed up and ready to join in and enjoy themselves.

the brew

Backing him up is maybe the most unusual rhythm section in rock right now given that bass player Tim Smith is the father of drummer Kurtis Smith! This doesn't sound like the most rock and roll set up a band can have but in reality while dad looks older than the other two his playing is big and bold which any power trio needs and he is so obviously enjoying every second on the stage that you just smile and enjoy the rock.

Son Kurtis behind the drum kit obviously has the same genes as he is a whirlwind of energy and is also having a great time up there. There is a theory that any band can only be as good as its' drummer and in this case The Brew are sorted as Smith the younger is terrific. A constant flow of powerful and imaginative playing shines through on songs like 'Skip' where there is a groove and a swing required on the verses before the explosive power of the chorus and big guitar solo sections.

the brew

While The Brew are unquestionably a modern rock band there are huge references in their set to decades gone past. 'Kam' turns into a ten minute jam where Jason Barwick gets to show off his six string chops and the sub-Cream high energy groove of 'Every Gig Has A Neighbour' is a joy. However I thought they had gone too far when they included a section where the guitar was played with a violin bow a la Jimmy Page and then finished the main set with a song which was basically an excuse for a long, energetic drum solo!

I am no fan of the drum solo in any way but I can't deny that this was a very competent one and their confidence in including it at the end of the set was justified by the huge ovation from the audience as they called the band back for an inevitable encore.

the brew

The encore itself contained more extremely enjoyable nods to the past in a Led Zeppelin medley and to finish an unexpected(by me at least) cover of Hawkwind's 'Silver Machine'.

The Brew are unquestionably a very talented band and terrific in a live environment. I am not wholly convinced that all the songs they have are as strong and memorable as they should be but when any band can deliver a live performance like these guys can then they can get away with that easily. Highly recommended if they hit a stage anywhere near you.

the brew

Line up:
Jason Barwick (Guitar, Vocals)
Kurtis Smith (Drums)
Tim Smith (Bass, Vocals)


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