That Square One are not huge on the UK Americana circuit is something of a mystery, maybe it is being based in Devon that is stopping them getting wider exposure, their album 2017 "Southern Summer" was as good a rocking record as UK country has yet produced, full of tunes that really hit the mark. It is therefore great to get a chance to put down just how good this group are. Taking their influence from American Southern Rock bands they really are quite a formidable force.
They had the unenviable job of closing out Saturday night, unenviable in the sense that they had to follow Lily Garland who had caused something of a pandemonium. Having said that we had seen a bit of Square One at Buckle & Boots and knew they could cause a little pandemonium of their own.
Arriving with a crescendo and opening with a bit of stomp they opened with “High & Dry”, lead singer Sam Boxell starting with a guitar slung over his shoulder for the first verse, the band showing the ability to play and pull off some full on stomping as well as some outrageous posing promising to get everybody on the dance floor. Wasting no time it was straight into the next song with a drum thump and a guitar solo that announced “Fire”.
Next up the second track from their album, that introduces the band entitled “Who We Are”, they may be the loudest act of the weekend but this is married to a batch of riff driven southern rock songs played and sung with British gusto which gives them their unique selling point.
A slight respite in volume came with “On Your Mind” which saw bassist Ben Johnson also joining on vocals, another song instantly likeable. A slow drum beat and a guitar led into “Little Black Dress” with its “We ain’t sleeping till the suns up” refrain, another song simply laden with hooks. "Redemption" released as single in December 2018 followed, with a high in the mix mandolin over almost tribal drum beats and backing vocals, something a little different but no less attention grabbing.
Lead singer Sam's vocals sounding somewhere between Billie Joe Armstong of Green Day and Kelly Jones of the Stereophonics full of attitude and every inch the front man.
There was a visit to the first ever single release of 3 years ago, “Let’s Go”, another immensely likable anthem, with Ben and the banjo player adding backing vocals – it was easy to see why it is still one of their favourite songs to play. A brand new song “Come On” written on the way down getting its live debut, started with a furious drum beat and some powerful manic banjo playing they succeeded in getting the floor filled. One final song saw the assembled crowd dancing and clapping for the finale a cover of Luke Bryan's "Country Girl (Shake It For Me Girl)" that ended with Banjo player jumping into the crowd for a solo.
With just about time to squeeze one more song in “All Night Long” was most definitely not the Lionel Richie song, instead a high intensity rocker. The night ended with some of Lily Garlands band providing backing vocals on stage and the band in a tangled mess on the floor like a bizarre musical version of twister,
Day 2 well and truly was closed in style.