Live music review: The Young Republic @ Cargo

By alexetc Last edited 101 months ago
Live music review: The Young Republic @ Cargo

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Photo credit: Martin Hills
The night is book-ended, as unlikely as the line-up might suggest, by Fab Four references. At the start, support comes from excitable Coventry four-piece DON'T MOVE!, who reconstruct classic jangle-pop, leaving it gloriously, dizzyingly askew. With their moptopped singer and spiralling guitars, they're like the Beatles falling ass-backwards into Gang of Four's back catalogue. Plenty of fun to be had.

Tennessee's The Young Republic are hosted this evening by End of the Road Records, whose label and festival are much loved round these parts. The band have rounded a corner after a chequered start that saw original members leaving and the remaining line-up consequently turning their back (barring two tracks tonight) on debut album '12 Tales From Winter City'.

Where before they came on like a Stateside Belle and Sebastian, recent second album 'Balletesque' sees a shift in their sound, and having lost the breezy orchestration, tonight shows they've sharpened focus as a sextet. Young they may be, but the music takes in a broad sweep of old-time folk, rock, country and blues, cooked up into a lean stew.

The new material bristles with driving guitars, a tight rhythm section, violin and viola, while Saporiti's eagle-eyed lyrics skewer the arcane in Americana. At times their no-nonsense approach to the material is a little dry, but the hard slide blues of 'Black Duck Blues' and the Walkmen fuzz of 'The Alchemist' are strong new tracks.

On this outing, they've abandoned their usual set-closer, a raucous cover of Dylan's 'Isis', apparently due to a lack of harmonicas. In its place, they have some fun in the encore with not one but two - oh yes - Beatles songs, 'Don't Let Me Down' and 'Hey Bulldog', before DON'T MOVE! return to the stage for a reprise of their Halloween night rendition of the Ghostbusters theme tune, complete with dance moves. It's a risky way to go out, but the audience are onside from the start and the band's spirit sees them pull it off, single-minded to the end.

Last Updated 04 November 2009