the rockingbirds

Live Music Review – The Rockingbirds at The Borderline – Thursday, 11th December, 2014

“London’s country rockers, back in the saddle again.”

It’s been almost 22 years between The Rockingbirds debut and latest album but it felt like no time had passed at all when they were cheered back on stage, for an exclusive gig at The Borderline last night.

The country rock band formed in Camden Town, in the 90s, so you can envision how they stuck out like a sore thumb amongst the brash alternative rock scene at the time. It is great to see that they still do stick out, however now even more so for being one of the best country rock bands to hail specifically from the UK.

All 7 toe-tapping members fitted nicely on the stage; 1 acoustic guitarist, 2 electric guitarists (and a banjo appearance), 1 bassist, 1 drummer, 1 keyboard player and the bands secret weapon (and show stealer); the mighty steel pedal guitarist. The result was country rock perfection: loud, warm and very rich.

The band compiled a strong set list filled with classic tracks including Gradually Learning, Halfway to Comatose and Jonathan, Jonathan. All sounding just as good as they did on the 1992 album The Rockingbirds. The older crowd were transported back in time, dancing and singing along to every chorus.

At one point in the set, the lead singer and guitarist, Alan Tyler had trouble tuning his acoustic guitar which resulted in him clipping on his capo whilst jesting “I’ll pay it quietly” not wanting to waste a minute of song time for the audience.

The set also showcased Tyler’s most recent writings from their 2013 album The Return of The Rockingbirds such as Fanny and ‘Til Something Better Comes Along which takes more of a bluegrass sound, and was received well by the audience –and met with a lot of head bobbing.

To finish this smooth and mellow set, and to quell to the crowds’ requests and cheers, The Rockingbirds played Searching, one of the biggest songs from their first album. It was then great news to hear that the band is currently working on their fourth album, which will be called The Curse of The Rockingbirds. Make sure you don’t miss the inevitable live shows that come with it!

By Lora Smith