After a hectic weekend of constant country music, what else would you rather do with your Monday evening than pop along to Dingwalls in Camden. On a fairly warm evening the queue for what was to be one of the most anticipated of the post C2C shows, was already snaking all the way down the middle of the square and beginning to curve around the building. Kicking off the evening was London based The Wandering Hearts. It’s very rare for a London country band to go unheard of by #TEAMw21, but here they were opening for Brothers Osbourne.
Set up with a kick drum, two acoustic guitars and a mandolin, The Wandering Hearts opened with “Wish I Could”. AJ fashioning a fetching feathered hat sang the introduction, and all four came together to sing a strong chorus. Similarly another powerful chorus in “Fire and Water” with the vocals of Chess and Tara leading the way, followed by a slow in tempo, “If I Fall”. A highlight of the set came in the shape of “Biting Through The Wires” as Chess took up the tambourine, before closing with “Devil” where the mandolin made another appearance.
This is definitely a band to keep an eye out for in future, with a single out next month and an album due in September. If they hadn’t gained enough fans during their performances at Country2Country, tonight certainly gained them 500 more!
Having seen Brothers Osbourne play the previous night gracing the main arena stage at the O2 we knew we were about to witness something special.
The house lights went dark and the back drop screen lit up with the flickering sign of “Brothers Osbourne” as the boys and the band bounded enthusiastically onto the stage. Opening with a fan favourite which never got an airing at Country2County, “Pawn Shop” immediately got the party started..
They reeled off hit after hit from their “Pawn Shop” album, including “Greener Pastures”, “Rum” and “21 Summer”. As soon as the crowd recognized the guitar introduction for the latter, there was uproar, followed by everyone singing along to all the words. “Shoot From The Hip” demonstrated John’s unquestionable guitar abilities and T.J’s deep vocals. The long instrumental in “Whiskey River” left John rocking out so hard on his pale blue electric guitar his guitar plectrum went flying! All band members looked like they were thoroughly enjoying their time on stage, and having spoken to the drummer after the show, Dingwalls was easily the favourite show they played whilst being in the UK. The band then left the stage for the bluesy sounding “Love The Lonely Out Of You” leaving just the two brothers to take it away. The band returned to the stage for the bluegrass section of the night, with all members standing around a central mic, for “Folsom Prison Blues” leading into “Country Roads”; which was met with thunderous applause.
It wasn’t to stop there, “Stay A Little Longer” got everyone singing and dancing, whilst the beaming happiness on the boys’ faces hearing their songs being sung back was clearly visible. Again T.J’s deep vocals were exercised in “Ain’t My Fault” for the set closer, but of course the crowd were not prepared for the night to be over just yet. They excitedly returned for the encore, in which they were taking requests and were genuinely surprised for some on the songs requested; specifically “American Crazy”, although I’m baffled as to why they were so baffled that the crowd demanded it!
They performed it in absolute classic style, even if T.J had to have a few seconds to remind himself of the guitar notes, and as ever the audience sung the lyrics right back at them. The exchanged looks during the final chorus showed just tell how taken aback they were to hear a UK audience being so supportive. Another request and one of my favourites of the night was for “Heart Shaped Locket”. Two more songs followed, in the form of the Dixie Chick’s “Earle” and “Loving Me Back”, for the latter they were joined by another Country2Country star and wife of John Osbourne, Lucie Silvas. The night finally closed with another round of “Country Roads”.
After such a performance, all I can say is thank god the brothers stayed in Nashville and didn’t go back to plumbing in Maryland! A night of top quality country music from start to finish was relished by all, including some familiar faces in the audience including Fifth Floor and The Worry Dolls. After the gig had finished, the band played a life-size game of Tetris with the music gear in the back of a small red van before heading to the nearest pub to celebrate their achievements and experiences in the UK before flying back home tomorrow. We hope to see Brothers Osbourne back over this side of the pond very soon, although after that performance, it’s unlikely we’ll get to see them in such a small venue again!