Keston Cobblers Club | The Hope and Ruin| 31 October 2015

With their catchy melodies merging the country-folk sounds of the Sixties with Nineties indie-rock, Brighton’s Wildflowers staged a noteworthy opener for Keston Cobblers Club at The Hope and Ruin on Hallowe’en. From the balladesque ‘Skyscrapers’ to the sassy refrain of unreleased ‘Trust’, lead vocalist Siddy Bennett resonates the influences of Dolly Parton, Alanis Morrisette and Stevie Nicks with storytelling lyrics given depth by the band’s excellent backing.

Fresh from a busy summer of sell-out shows, festivals, and the release of their critically acclaimed second album, ‘Wildfire’, Keston Cobblers Club arrive in Brighton engagingly cheerful as they near the end of their 14-date, self-professed ‘Dirty Socks Tour’.

Despite one case of laryngitis preventing brass member Bethan from bringing her voice with the band’s usual harmonies, the Cobblers begin their set with folk-pop fusion aplomb, showing no signs of slowing down with their powerful deliverance of title track, ‘Wildfire’.

Insistent percussion, engaging hooks, and an unusual arrangement of instruments ensued, resulting in a varied medley of folk-tinged pop dominated by impressive vocals and thoughtful lyrics. From the fuller, anthemic ‘Won’t Look Back’, to the catchy new single, ‘Contrails’, lead vocalist Matthew Lowe demonstrates his impressive vocal range, all the while begrudging relentless mockery from sister, Julia, until the band showcase their joint talents with the experimental show-closer, ‘Half Full’.

A final encore leads the band – towing tubas, drums and strings – into the audience for a pared-down rendition of Toto’s ‘Africa’; the audience’s enthusiastic contribution marking a perfect end to the night.

Keston Cobblers Club’s new album ‘Wildfire’ is out now.

Words by Nammie Matthews

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