If ever there was proof that the Americana church is broad and welcoming it surely came in the shape of the Dusk Brothers. Visually striking right from the start were Bristol based brothers Iain and Graeme Moncrieff, with their hats and raybans and their decision to play seated adjacent to each other and that is before I mention the instruments which like the brothers were suitably unique From cigar box guitars that look like they were made from old oil cans to foot operated cymbals and drums seemingly made from old paint pots this was not your average set up. Such was the strangeness that it did take the sound team a little longer than normal to get things set up - the big question that remained - would it be worth it?
Starting with three tiny bell rings a la John Lennon's "Starting Over" they proceeded to unleash a fearsome noise of swampy blues with what might have been "Raw River" or "Carry Me Home" it was a little hard to tell as the vocals were very loud and a tad distorted in the mix. No trouble with the next one as it came with an introduction, "This Is Hell" was a powerful bit of drama, and a slow blues that led to a plaintive chorus of "Oh my God this is hell!". It descended into a loud solo and some heavy drumming and cymbal crashing making it extremely atmospheric.
There was another swampy onslaught for "The Firing Line" which again came with a thunderous backbeat and ended with an ear piercing scream. Things moved a bit more uptempo with a harmonica added to the wall of noise in a song that may have been "My Heart Is Like An Ocean". Now while this all may sound a bit attritional and for those who were there for a version of "Jolene" it may have been a bridge too far however it was strangely addictive and certainly something of a one off.
A violin fashioned from one block of wood was added to the next song and was built around a pretty solid riff although i've not a clue what it was called. The set closed with possibly their most accessible and realised song of the set, a straight up rock and roll number called "I Became King" which once again saw the reappearance of the harmonica. It's taken them three and half years to build, learn how to play these instruments and to actually create some songs that they can be played on. Quite how they'll be able turn this live persona into something recordable without losing the sheer power and presence they exude when performing i've no idea but I would think their live shows will find a healthy audience pretty quickly.