Brave Rival / A Stunning Performance At Dingwalls

Seemingly on an unstoppable path to global domination, Hampshire’s finest blues rockers, Brave Rival, have seemingly spent their lives on the road. For almost all of their five years together thus far, the band are still watertight and firing on all cylinders. Tonight, they were supporting the excellent FM on their 40 Anniversary Tour.

Brave Rival

Dingwalls, Camden – 25 May 2024

Words: Paul Monkhouse

Photography: Manuela Langotsch

Brave Rival have the material to back up the visceral firepower of their shows and the material for debut Life’s Machine and some tantalising glimpses of sophomore Fight or Flight points to the outfit having writing chops that most would give their souls for. 

Whilst the perfectly intertwining vocals of Chloe Josephine and Lindsey Bonnick are attention-grabbing, the fretwork by Ed Clarke sings with its own vibrant and eviscerating life, giving a sting to propulsive opener Run And Hide.

Brave Rival - Dingwalls, Camden - 25 May 2024
Brave Rival – Dingwalls, Camden – 25 May 2024. Photo: Manuela Langotsch/MetalTalk

With a truncated set meaning that everything has to be even tighter, the usual banter from Josephine and Bonnick is cut back, but nonetheless, this selection hits all the right targets and displays not just the fan favourites but the new material in a shining spotlight.

The big groove and bounce of Bad Choices ride on a wave from the powerhouse rhythm section of Billy Dedman and Donna Peters as the following Guilty Love adds a sheen of perfectly crafted adult pop hooks that have the audience singing the chorus back with abandon.

With its subtle psychedelic touches, the twisted new single Fairytale gives a typically Lewis Carroll spin to things as it quickly goes from gentle whimsey to pounding rocker, pointing the way to the potential new areas that Brave Rival aremoving into as they spread their wings on the forthcoming opus.

Brave Rival - Dingwalls, Camden - 25 May 2024
Brave Rival – Dingwalls, Camden – 25 May 2024. Photo: Manuela Langotsch/MetalTalk

The strutting funk of Five Years On sees Bonnick attacking a cowbell with vigour before the all-too-short set closer Sink Or Swim, which sees Dedham bringing bass flourishes and Clarke’s chiming guitar pattern starting a climb upwards into a soaring and drama-filled epic that borders on prog rock at times.

With a dynamic use of spaces, this is the band at their most electric, the whole an entirely heady rush of sound and fury that shows exactly just what they are truly capable of as the twin voices of Josephine and Bonnick take things deliriously home. 

Brave Rival - Dingwalls, Camden - 25 May 2024
Brave Rival – Dingwalls, Camden – 25 May 2024. Photo: Manuela Langotsch/MetalTalk

Soulful, gritty, fun, explosive and with songs to die for, Brave Rival have all it takes to become arena and stadium fillers within the next few years. 

One of the best bands in the country right now and one of our biggest hopes for the future, music can and should be this breathtakingly good. 

Magnificent.

Sleeve Notes

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