LIVE REVIEW: Field Music, Islington Assembly Hall, 18/3/16

The disco ball on the ceiling of the venue is remarkably apposite for Field Music. The Brewis brothers were having a party even if the sit-down audience can be a little polite. A two-man horn section, extra Fender player and percussionist beefed up the sound, while the smiles worn on the faces of Peter and David Brewis were audible, if you can even hear smiles in a 600-seat venue.

Opening with The Noisy Days Are Over and continuing for eighty relentless minutes, the Mackem band prove they are their own genre. What sounds like Field Music? Nothing, that’s what. Peter started on guitar then moved to the kit to complement David’s vocals, as they played new cuts from their new top 40 LP Commontime, including the off-kilter banger I’m GladDisappointed was extended to five minutes with a wigout and additional a cappella choruses. It will take some beating as single of the year, that’s for sure. 

Refusing cries for fan favourite Measure, the band played one never-hit after another. Who’ll Pay the Bills and Them That Do Nothing were both too brief and extremely beefy, A House is Not a Home is still one of the more interesting English pop songs of the digital era, I Keep Thinking About a New Thing was a stonker, and it was nice to hear the underrated Just Like Everyone Else, from their last album Plumb.

If there is justice in British music. Commontime will follow Plumb in being named one of the Albums of the Year by the panel of the Mercury Prize. Say it as softly as you can, but it’s hard to think of a better album, or a cohesive set of songs made by more brilliant musicians than this, as tonight’s gig showed. Catch the Brewises on their victory lap in October after they’ve spent the summer with their kids teaching them how to play in uncommon time signatures.

Jonny Brick

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Field Music, Islington Assembly Hall, 18/3/16
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