Seven songs, 30 minutes, a performance that we will be talking about for years to come. When we look back years from now on the music of this day and age, the performance from one of England's fastest rising stars -- BROTHER (yes, they insist on all caps) at this very show at the infamous and tiny Mercury Lounge will be discussed for a long time. In the "I saw them when" sentiments that people give when they converse about Mercury Lounge, the stage in which Arcade Fire and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs began their careers and buzz, BROTHER just entered that same list. To describe BROTHER, the words humble, kind and modest are not the proper vocabulary; the best way is to describe them is cocky, arrogant, cheeky, and clever, and that is just the first part. BROTHER are taking their bravado and flexing a bit of muscle wherever they go, playing a dirty form of rock and roll, a style in which they call "gritpop," a take on Britpop but mixed with harder sound -- think New York Dolls meets Heavy Stereo and early Oasis (just don't tell them I said that). They move around on stage as if they have been doing this their whole lives, bringing an old school style of rock and roll. BROTHER display that they are a band that we need right now. "America needs a great band, so we started one for you, and we are here" said singer Leonard Newell as he first spoke to the audience. The band, who just signed to A&M/Octone will release their debut later this year, plowed through their short set list and poked fun at the crowd at points. "I didn't know we were at a Blackberry convention, but if you are texting away, tell your friends how great we are," Newell said of the packed audience looking down at their phones. The thing is, we need a band this arrogant and cocky; they make things interesting. Remember how much fun and dangerous rock and roll was when Oasis were getting started or when The Libertines were trying to survive? BROTHER, like those other bands, can also play and put on a hell of a show, which makes their whole package that much perfect.
Opening the show was New York City favorites The Dig. The Dig have been a band we have followed for over a year and their last-minute addition to the BROTHER bill was the best I have ever seen them. Playing a tight and brilliant 40 minute set (yes, it seems as if they played longer than the headliner), The Dig displayed their psychedelic, prog-meets-ambient rock and roll to the amazement of an audience who mostly had not heard of them before. Singer Emelie Mosseri has a charisma that captivates the wonderment of a crowd. While the band performed, what was most noticeable was that keyboardist and backing guitarist Erik Eiser had casts on his wrist and leg. Eiser had fallen off a stage last week at SXSW and sustained a few injuries but still played and plugged along as if nothing was wrong with him. The things we do for music.
As The Dig wrapped up their set, members of BROTHER went up to The Dig and praised the band; "Big fan after tonight, mate," you would hear.
This great line-up will be in the New York area through the weekend; this is a bill that is not to be missed!
This review also appears on Officially A Yuppie.