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NEW MODEL ARMY: Live in Brighton

NEW MODEL ARMY – 16.11.16: Live at Concorde 2, Brighton

new-model-armyEver since the release of ‘Winter’, New Model Army’s 14th studio album, I’ve waited in anticipation to catch the band live to see if, quoting lead singer Justin, “they’ve still got it”.

As I arrived the first thing I noticed was the gathering crowd outside and I wondered if I’d even be accepted without the obligatory beard down to my chest, a mandatory New Model Army item of clothing or, as I found out later, the compulsory New Model Army tattoo. Fear not, they’re a friendly bunch and I arrived in time to catch the support band.

 

Normally I wouldn’t go overboard about the ‘warm up’ act but Mad Dog Mcrea, a folk rock outfit hailing from Devon, certainly deserve a special mention. They proved to be the perfect foil for the main act to follow and as they played out their set the audience became more and more involved and appreciative of what was being delivered.

A high energy set of songs based around a recurring theme of drinking and traditional folk, interspersed with erm, drinking. The bottle being passed around the band in between each number was even improvised during one song by using it up and down the frets instead of the usual fingers technique. The band were having fun and in return, so were the growing audience.

Personally I hadn’t heard much from Mad Dog Mcrea before but I’ve already started to check out their back catalogue and if you’re a fan of folk/punk then I’d highly recommend them to you, especially after this performance.

mad-dog-mcrae

Mad Dog Mcrae

So onto the main act and, as the lights dimmed, I looked behind me (I’d taken a prime spot at the front) and saw twenty or thirty middle aged men remove their shirts in anticipation of a little light dancing. This is when I noticed the compulsory New Model Army tattoo, one guy even had the ‘Thunder and Consolation’ album cover across his back – impressive stuff.

And then it began, straight into ‘Burn the Castle’, maybe the heaviest track from the aforementioned ‘Winter’ album, which immediately sent the crowd into a frenzy. When Justin swapped to the acoustic guitar for the third song I thought I was in for some light relief, was I hell! As the band blurted out the title track ‘Winter’ it seemed to stir emotions even further and the crowd were now like a pack of wolves. This was a two way thing, the more the band gave the more the audience gave in return and it was addictive.

As the set played out I was pleased they played many tracks off the new album. ‘Part the Waters’ and ‘Eyes Get Used to the Darkness’ are stand out tracks for me and they certainly lived up to expectation but nothing prepared me for ‘Born Feral’.  This was played out mainly with just bass guitar and two of the band on separate drums whilst Justin sang. It transcended from a tribal like beat building and building to a hellish crescendo, magnificent stuff.

new-model-army‘Die Trying’ was another stand out from the new album before the classic ‘51st State of America’ just about bought the house down. As Justin explained whilst they have been touring Europe, “it’s such a sad place that the world now finds itself in. In Poland it’s now for the Polish, in Germany for the Germans, in Britain for the British and in America it’s for the white Americans!”

Just where the crowd were getting their energy from I’ll never know but ‘Christian Militia’ almost finished me off. When the band came back for the second encore Justin said “we might not deserve this but you certainly do” before launching into ‘I Love the World’.

After such an amazing gig I now understand the t-shirts and the tattoos. There is something very special about the relationship between New Model Army and their fans and the appreciation definitely works both ways.

 

N/b Read our review of ‘Winter’ here>>>

 

3 Comments
  1. It was Val – get to see them if you can.

  2. Sounds like a great gig!

  3. Sounds like a great gig from Maddog Mcrea and New Model Army!!

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