By Beth Maguire

As the lights dimmed and Campag Velocet’s Bon Chic Bon Genre began to blast from the speakers, the buzzing crowd surged forward, heightening the anticipation of the arrival of Brother to the stage at The Underground in Stoke-on-Trent, on Tuesday 15th February.

The track continued for some time to build tension and excitement before the four-piece confidently strutted onto the stage, by which time the crowd were already cheering prior to even a single chord being struck. It was certainly a good start to the night for the young band from Slough, whose cocky bravados proved beneficial in taking command of the stage.

The band kicked off the seven-track line-up with Still Here, a moderately paced tune that eases you in to the style of the band. Although not many knew the song, it had the crowd gently bopping along to the beat, with movement in the audience increasing by the end as crowd members fully got into the spirit.

By the second track titled New Years Day the atmosphere had completely changed. It is one of the more known singles from the band and starts off somewhat slow and as the chorus kicked in the crowd were off their feet, jumping and pushing forward to the stage. Vocals from Leonard Newell were strong and certainly impressive as he reached notes on the higher end of the scale showing off his obvious ability for singing live and performing.

The third track on the list was Fly By Nights, another mid-paced song that seems to be what you should expect from Brother by now. It had the crowd engaged and thrashing around to the beat in unison. Main interaction with the audience was delivered from Newell, and seemed more along the lines of a large group chat because of the venue being so intimate.

Track four was definitely the most popular track of the night, called Darling Buds Of May. As it is so effortlessly catchy and seemed a popular track with the audience, as it was greatly welcomed by loud cheers. The popular track bought a wave of life back into the room, as it was a welcome change of pace from slower tracks to an upbeat song that everyone could join in with. Again, Newell’s vocals were notably strong upon reaching high notes and his vocals sounded near spot on when compared to the studio version.

The fifth track was another slow melody called David, which calmed the crowd again before playing the sixth track High Street Low Lives, which was far more upbeat to liven spirits. According to the band, both tracks are new singles, presumably to go on their debut album to be released later in the year.

The final song of the night was another popular track Time Machine that is one more of the more widely known and popular songs they have released. It has an enormously catchy beat, and kept the crowd dancing until the very end. Crowd participation was at it’s peak in this song; the catchy tune and simple lyrics meant that even people who may of never heard the track before could easily pick them up, and join in too. The song ended to piercing roars from the enthusiastic crowd, only to be dampened by the bands swift exit from the stage that gave the feeling of a bit of an anti-climax. Despite this, the crowd were still contented with what they’d seen and heard, and continued to cheer on and praise the band for their stunning live performance.

It is without a doubt that Brother will ‘blow up’ over the next year, due to simple song structures and catchy tunes that really take you back to the era of mainstream Brit-pop. Judging by the crowd’s reaction this genre will have a welcomed return to the music scene. Brother are currently on their own headlining tour in small venues across the UK, and will be touring with The Streets over February and March. This exposure will hopefully help to increase the bands reputation in time for their debut album release in July 2011.

Overall, it was a very fun night with strong performances all round, and Brother seemed genuinely thankful for the crowd reactions, despite their somewhat cocky first impression. They are definitely ones to watch over the next year!

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