Americana band The Lone Bellow have been gathering fans since the release of their self titled debut album in 2013. Tonight the Brooklyn based band are at the ABC in Glasgow as part of the Celtic Connections festival.
Support act Deer Tick are a grunge and rock influenced band from Providence in Rhode Island. Their set this evening is hard to pin down, but very, very enjoyable. Their music ranges from blues, country ballads, stomping rock and roll and blistering punk rock. Topics include love and the Devil with various members of the four piece sharing lead vocals. The range of music on offer is vast, exciting and performed with vigour and intensity. The hour long set ends with the rhythm section engaging in an extended jam session, with the drummer and bass player trying to outdo each other, before they reach an epic climax. Judging by the audience reaction Deer Tick would have been worthy headliners this evening.
The Lone Bellow frontman Zach Williams enters the stage with a massive smile and greets the audience with his arms open wide. His voice is deep, rich, warm and enthused with passion. He is accompanied by guitarist and vocalist Brain Elmquist and multi-instrumentalist Kanene Deonejey Pipkin and when these musicians harmonise their vocals it has a powerful effect. The Lone Bellow make beautiful and emotional music and when they perform live it is sublime. The band take inspiration from folk, gospel, rock and roll and country and blend these influences into triumphant songs that grab your attention and keep you transfixed.
The set relies heavily on the audience, with Williams enticing the crowd to participate in call and response. This does feel a bit of a distraction at times, especially when the highlights of the evening are the quieter and more thoughtful songs. The Lone Bellow draw their set to a close with the upbeat groove of Time’s Always Leaving and then immediately follow with the anthem Green Eyes and a Heart Of Gold. The song has the kind of chorus that invites a mass singalong and the audience happily oblige and indulge the band with even more participation.