Four years seem like a long time when a band disappears off the face of the earth - climbing the ladder of the rock world, releasing a hot selling debut album...then poof. Gone. It’s understandable when times get hard or other responsibilities get in the way and sometimes as much as a band may love the music they create and the fans they share that relationship with, it just isn’t feasible.
But this is definitely not the case for the bluesy brotherly Bath trio The Family Rain (8). Having announced their unexpected split in 2016, the boys are back and releasing new tracks. One of which saw the trio wander over to The Lanes in Bristol to prove to dedicated fans they still have what it takes to get a crowd to get two footed in the abdomen with a pair of Doc Martens.
The first night of the only three shows, there’s a lot of anticipation and elation building in the quirky bowling alley, if the pressure wasn’t enough this is effectively a homecoming show (well-close enough) and the crowd are raring to go.
The lights dim and the iconic teardrop backlight flickers to life with a bright white glow and the room is alive with cheers and hoots. The first time in four years the band are about to grace the presence of the stage once more.
The trio carved a name for themselves locally from their emergence in 2011 until the release of their debut album Under the Volcano, launching them into the earbuds of people across the country. Bath has a knack for producing remarkable musicians, helped with the ease and influence of touring bands passing through the handful of venues the city possesses and just a stone's throw from the beating heart of Bristol’s rock bloodstream.
Time off can either make or break a band, it gives band members time to readjust, work on new techniques and material and all round elevate their live sets. You would have been fooled if you thought The Family Rain had taken time away from the dominance they have over this crowd, from the moment they step onto the stage and blast the first note of ‘What Are You Afraid Of?’. The first single released from their Every So Often EP, before the band threw in the towel later that year struck a triumphant return with revelers, albeit a little tame for the likes of the brothers.
It’s not long before the crowd are lapping up every note and bouncing around the floor, in what could only be described as a moshing ritual as ‘Feel Better (FRANK)’ screams through the speakers with Oliver Walter’s driving guitar intro. This time however the band have started chucking in little extras, a few extra fills and solos that show that this is a new era for the band.
The hits keep coming with the introduction of the newest singles into the setlist with ‘Radiator’. Stirring up the floor as if the floorboards were likely to split and crack under the sheer lawlessness of the pit, which almost goes hand in hand with just how ferocious their blues-rock infusion can become when they are put on a stage.
Before slowing things down (briefly) with ‘Don’t Waste Your Time’ the carnage is far from done. Blasting into ‘Carnival’ with an extended break and heavy solo, “We are going to be back very soon Bristol, thank you for coming out, now this one is about to go off.” Vocalist and bass player William Walter addresses the ravenous crowd, before blasting into the newest track released earlier the year ‘Be My Avalanche’.
After soaring through ‘Reason to Die’ and ‘Every So Often’ the trio start an intoxicatingly beefy track, but the crowd seems confused, yet with an underlying hint of intrigue and excitement. It creates a flurry of bodies smashing into each other like a school of fish. After the chaos subsides Timothy Walter pipes up from behind the kit “That’s a brand-new one for you.” William fills in “Bristol you are the first people to hear that live.”, to which is met with a mass roar of praise from the crowd.
The energy hasn’t subsided once throughout the whole set, the band and the crowd are as one during ‘Binocular’ and ‘Trust Me… I’m A Genius'. The Bristol gig has been a raucous return for a band that in terms of music have been away for a long time. But with the energy and prowess they’ve laid out tonight it’s clear their only goal is steaming on ahead with the release of new music and with it more shows. Definitely one to keep your eyes peeled for.
The Family Rain will be touring again this May in support of The Heavy. Dates below.