On a freezing cold west London night, Mercury-nominated Black Country, New Road took to a sold-out Bush Hall stage decorated in rudimentary and brightly coloured cardboard depictions of country scenes, dressed as humble country folk and to the tune of Dvorak’s New World Symphony (aka the Hovis ad to those of a certain age). “Are you feeling pastoral?” Lewis Evans asks the audience.
BCNR deliver a lyrical set of nine new as yet unrecorded songs after vowing not to perform any of the material from their first two albums after the departure of their earlier lead singer, Isaac Wood. So they are indeed on a new road, although the mood of their material carries the same chamber-prog vibe as their earlier highly acclaimed music. The band now has the feel of a musical collective, as three different band members take turns on lead vocals. There’s a film crew capturing the event tonight, with a mixing desk in the middle of the small room and a team of camera operators jostling for space with five band members. The Victorian chandeliers and covings of Bush Hall sit well with BCNR’s delicate chamber pop, but you can’t help thinking they will soon be playing to rooms with more space. Following the likes of These New Puritans and Divine Comedy, given the clear devotion of BCNR’s audience, it may not be too long before they make the transition from Bush Hall in the west to The Barbican in the east.
Having recently made a number of the Record of The Year lists, Black Country, New Road have announced a new UK tour for 2023 – tickets went on sale this morning and can be found here.
Words by Richard Gray