The Bracknall have been plying their trade in the South East for several years but national interest is increasing rapidly following the release of their crowd-funded debut album Going Nowhere Fast last year. It’s a diverse album, impressive for a debut, with a variety of tracks synergised by melodic choruses, impressive guitar and powerhouse vocals.
The Birmingham gig quickly sold out and even after moving to the larger venue there seemed little space in the packed audience. There’s a family connection with the current line-up with Jack Dacey on guitar/lead vocals and brother Harry on guitar. Founder member Dan Hurley still provides the back beat with George Coster on bass, Ed Smith (guitar/keyboards) and Matt Hookings (guitar) making up the touring personnel. The brother set-up might easily lead to Oasis references but their fresh sound displays traces of the other artists that have shaped their output such as The Verve and the lyricism of Springsteen.
As Fatboy Slim’s Long Haired Freaky People fades the 6 piece band take the stage and immediately belt out Save You From Yourself – a track from the debut album that underpins the set. Their modern take on 1990s guitar based rock continues with Fell By The Wayside – the b-side to their Record Store Day limited vinyl, followed by Long In The Tooth – a stunning tale of a failing relationship.
The album title track follows before Unclean is unleashed as a powerful crescendo track leaving the faithful in raptures and the new fans wondering how the hell they haven’t found them earlier. It’s obvious that this is not a brand new band but an experienced and established set of highly capable musicians delivering quality music in a tight and co-ordinated fashion.
The punchy Out of Time and Quickdraw follow, highlighting again the masterful lyrics the band are quickly getting recognised for. Good To The Bone is segued with a raucous rendition of Bowie’s Heroes, and the audience is faced with a wall of sound of drums, vocals and five guitars! Before we know it there are only 3 tracks left and the upbeat Can’t Stay Here Tonight – A song that again displays their creativeness of lyrics exemplified by ‘Did you fall to Earth from Heaven, or is it a pit-stop on the way?”. This leads swiftly into the stunning 6 minute fan favourite that closes their first release – The Ballad of Winnie and Jim, a touching and evocative tale of the journey of two lives which demonstrates both the quality and breadth of the debut album.
The set finishes on a high with I Don’t Understand It, their most streamed song with a quarter of a million Spotify plays and climbing. A tale of angst about the struggle to achieve artistic success as Jack Dacey’s vocal seems to reach almost fever pitch level- “It ain’t the life I’m living – it’s the one I’m chasing after!”. A song well known by the crowd who are baying for more as the band finish the set. It seems highly unlikely The Bracknall will remain unsigned much longer. Their infectious guitar based rock, and masterful lyrics will resonate with wide audiences.
Their current UK/Ireland mini-tour is a virtual sell-out but if you get a chance to get a ticket be sure to check them out. They return to the capital in November for their largest headline show to date at the 700 capacity Earth Theatre Hackney on 25th November with tickets already flying out the door. It’s a much over-used and clichéd phrase to say ‘one day this band should be playing arenas’ but in this case it may well turn out to be true.
The tour continues with: April 1st Leeds (Headrow House) April 7th Manchester (Night and Day) April 8th Glasgow (Classic Grand) April 27th Dublin (Whelan’s)
The Bracknall Set List:
Save You From Yourself
Fell By The Wayside
Long In The Tooth
Going Nowhere Fast
Unclean Out of Time
QuickDraw Good To The Bone
Can’t Stay Here Tonight
The Ballad of Winnie and Jim
I Don’t Understand It
The Bracknall are
Jack Dacey guitar/lead vocals
Harry Dacey guitar
Dan Hurley drums
George Coster bass
Ed Smith guitar /keyboards
Matt Hookings guitar
The Bracknall @ www.rocknews.co.uk