• Words Chris Farlie Pictures Colin Jones ( London)

Brothers Osborne, Kendel Marvel Koko


Kendel Marvel was a pretty striking figure as he took to the stage at Koko, with a long wire beard ans shiny bald head armed with just an acoustic guitar. His opener was a co write with Chris Stapleton "Tryin' To Untangle My Mind". Kendel put everything into his playing but you got the feeling that songs like "Heartache Off My Back" would have surely benefitted from having some kind of backing band.

Things slowed for "Hurtin Gets Hard", and the solo format worked better for the soulful country ballad for which Kendall certainly gave his all. Always exceptionally polite he seemed genuinely pleased to be playing such a grand looking venue with its many tiers.

The pace was quickly lifted again with the rockabilly shuffle of "Tryin' Not To Love you" but the highlight of his set was to be another song co written with Chris Stapleton and Dave Cobb the wonderful "Either Way". The slower material worked best on the night from a performance point of view "Gypsy Woman" being another example but by now the audience were beginning to shift uneasily. Kendel's set closed with the title track of his album "Low Down and Lonesome" and one was to wonder just how great this set could have been if he'd had a full band backing him.

Standing at Koko while waiting for the Brothers Osborne, to start briefly took me back to when I realised just how popular they had become, it was at a similar point of the evening at the same venue while waiting for Maddie & Tae to come on when "Ain't My Fault" came over the PA, the crowd as one started singing and clapping and worked themselves up into a bit of a frenzy - so what would they be like tonight when faced with the real thing!

From the opening bars of "Shoot Me Straight" there was pretty much universal love all around and there was no delay in hitting the first of the nights excellent guitar solos, not normally the sort of thing I go mad on but when they are this inventive and interesting they pass in no time. There were a few little side diversions throughout the evening who'd have though Steam's classic ""Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" would lead into "Down Home" , Their debut album continued to be the source of all the opening material as the blues swamp of "Rum" was followed by "Greener Pastures" which saw the audience go wild.

The unlikely solo instrumental licks of "Hey Jude" led us into the pure pop of "21 Summer" while the glitterball was used to full effect during "Heart Shaped Locket" . It was at this point the almost mainstream element of the show that was the moment they chose to dip into the newly released "Port Saint Joe" with " I Don't Remember me ( before you)".

Kendel Marvel who had been watching the set from the side of the stage was to return for "Drink Like Hank" and immediately looked more at ease with a full band behind him. It was back to the first album for the closing straight "Stay A Little Longer" had another excellent guitar solo whjle a little call and response with the audience turned out to be a lead in to "Ain't My Fault" which came in it's full 10 minute extended form with time for a solo from each brother.

The encore section was something of a shambles with the band seemingly unable to agree on what song to play when faced with an avalanche of requests being shouted from the assembled throng, eventually deciding on "A Couple Of Wrongs Makin' It Alright", the ballad of "Tequilla again" before the inevitability of "Pawn Shop". The final communal sing song was for "Country Roads" before the venues strict curfew saw us emptied out on to the streets of Camden Town at an unusually early hour.

#BrothersOsborne #KendelMarvel

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