The Junction in Cambridge doesn’t always play host to such elaborate decor when a band is in Town, but if it did you can count on the charismatic ways of Stornoway to provide four very large boat sails to drape high over the stage. It’s front-man Brian’s birthday and if I had arrived just a few minutes earlier I would have been fortunate enough to receive some birthday cake! Nevermind. Taking this birthday into consideration there was already an air of expectation circling my mind, as there was simply no excuse for the front-man not to deliver an energetic performance.
When frequently watching gigs it’s inevitable you start to search deeper into the performance as a whole, hoping they’ve been unique in some intelligent way which will ultimately supplement the nights show. Stornoway are a prime example to this point as they immediately displayed a sense of character when the show kicked off in an unconventional manner, unleashing violinist Rahul to open with an epic violin solo. This, with a whole array of other quips such as, sawing into a block of wood for a specific sound effect, lugging a second double bass around on tour to sit on the stage as set, and the use of around twelve plus instruments is just a small slice of initiative shown by the band.
The lads from Oxford rattled through every song off their debut album including three others, ‘November Song’, an “unnamed track” and the original ‘Beachcombers Windowsill’ which as he explained to the audience didn’t make the final cut. ‘I Saw You Blink’ followed by ‘We Are the Battery Human’ were two obvious favourites which saw the biggest reactions from the audience, and personal favourite ‘Here Comes The Blackout’ saw a similar reception. But for me, the real highlight was the last song before the encore, ‘The End of The Movie’. Played to near perfection, the band came to the front of the stage playing completely unplugged with Brian’s vocals soaring across the room; complemented nicely with the audience whispering the backing vocals. Shortly after Stornoway returned playing a three song encore which featured another uplifting fan favourite ‘Zorbing’, a perfect way to end the evening.
Despite some clever wit in between songs the band did however seem a touch lacklustre which may just be the nature of the band but despite this it became very clear that the band have been touring excessively over the last year, as their sound was impeccable. But for me it takes more than just a ‘tight set’ to fulfil the needs of an average audience member, and Stornoway accomplished just that.
The Coldharbour Road
Boats and Trains
I Saw You Blink
We Are The Battery Human
Here Comes The Blackout
The End Of The Movie
On The Rocks