Villagers - Village Underground, Shoreditch - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Villagers - Village Underground, Shoreditch

by Lawrence Poole Rating: Release Date:

They're a solemn and reverential bunch, Villagers' fans that's for sure. I've been at more raucous funerals.
Yet such is the dedication and heart-drenched focus with which the diminutive Conor O'Brien pours into his music, it's no wonder he's rewarded with similar levels of concentrated passion from his audience too.
Playing the second of two sold-out shows at the refreshingly stripped-back Village Undeground (although the £3 for half-a-pint bar prizes were tough to swallow. Why is it the more rudimentary and limited the bar in these places, the costlier the drink?), Villagers had the hipsters of Shoreditch silently enthralled from the off.

Surfing on the back of serious patronage from the 6Music masses, O'Brien has built successfully on the back of his Mercury-nominated debut Becoming a Jackal with a more mature follow-up, (Awayland). Despite being just over a month old, the bulk of the material slotted comfortably into the 19-song set, with O'Brien's thought-provoking, comtemplative, and occasionally dark lyrics capturing the imagination and giving the audience food for thought. 'Grateful Song' and a delightful 'Earthly Pleasure' steal the show in the first half of the set, while singles 'The Waves' and 'Ship of Promises' stretch the rest of the band without causing them to encroach on what is undoutedbly the star of the show: O'Brien's soaring, yearning vocals.

Returning for a four-song encore in which 'My Lighthouse' shines as brightly as the bulb in, er, a lighthouse, Villagers hushed approach to a Thursday night is unusual, but undoubtedly refreshingly so. A man who appears to know his own mind, two albums in, O'Brien and his cohorts appear to have chizzled out a niche for themselves in the 'heart on your sleeve' indie-rock which Stephen Fretwell did such a good job of expressing when he first burst onto the scene. It may not be akin to the fun-filled reveleries taking place elsewhere along Commercial Road but it's enjoyable and touching all the same.

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet
Related Articles
Villagers - Village Underground, Shoreditch - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab
Villagers - (Awayland)
  • 01/20/2013
  • By Steve Rhodes