After seven years as one half of the critically acclaimed, million album selling, brother-sister duo Angus & Julia Stone, Australian born singer-songwriter Angus has set off on his own journey, touring the world with his new album ‘Broken Brights’. Tonight straight off the back of a successful stint in New York City he is here in London to play a sold out intimate gig at The Lexington.
Though this is billed as a solo show Angus is not alone, joined instead onstage by five other instrumentalists. With their beatnik, hay rolling style, exceptional harmonies and easy stage presence they very much look and sound like a band, giving tonight a very different dynamic to what was expected.
Opening with the gorgeous multi mandolin driven ‘River Love’, the head nodding starts in earnest. It’s evident Angus hasn’t strayed too far from his roots, singing of love and lamenting on life with a distinctive emotion laden, heartbreaking, Dylan-esque drawl; his voice has a unique ability to journey from a booze ravaged, broken sound to angelic and pure.
Angus freely admits that he always left the talking to his sister and finds it quite intimidating addressing the crowd. Endearing us to him even more as he regales us with tales of life on the road, his inspirations and more poignantly the back story for his next song, ‘Bella’, about a close friend they lost along the way. With its pretty melody, heartfelt lyrics and a full understanding there are a few teary eyes by the final chords.
‘Bird on the Buffalo’, an analogy for relationships, lightens the mood and picks up the pace with its guitar-fuelled poppiness and cute lyrics. Things then move to a more psychedelic, bassier sound, harking back to a ‘70s Glastonbury feel. Angus tells us that after reading about the Japanese tsunami he was inspired with feelings of dread and wrote ‘End of the World’. He says it was one of those magical moments when a song just instantly comes together and works. There is a reason for that, this song sounds like a re-write of The Doors’ ‘When the Music’s Over’. However this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s a great song, the crowd loves it and its familiarity makes it quite infectious.
This recipe of folk, psych/blues continues and by the end of the evening we feel bathed in a warm hazy glow, we have shared an intimacy and feel we’ve gotten to know Angus Stone and not just listened but been given and open door into his world. We have seen heartache, pain, playfulness and beauty. Well worth making the trek out in the cold London drizzle.
Words by Vanessa Higgins