Any opportunity to catch this Denver trio before they were famous proved remarkably short-lived. This concert, scheduled just after the arrival of their self-titled debut album, was originally booked in a much smaller venue up the road. Interest in their single Ho Hey, currently offering homespun authenticity to an electricity advert, meant that last night they ended up playing for a theatre full of people keen to sing along instead.
That song, with its lovesick message and simple backdrop of acoustic guitar, tambourine and shouting, is a real beauty and could have been milked a bit more here. Just two-and-a-half minutes long, popping up six songs in, it wasn’t quite the centrepiece it should have been.
Augmented to a quintet on stage, they were a watchable bunch, especially energetic cellist Neyla Pekarek, who was promoted to joint lead vocalist on a cutesy new duet yet to be named. Jeremiah Fraites was impressively busy too, leaving the drums to play pretty much every other instrument in the course of the evening, as well as leading the crowd participation.
Wesley Schultz’s husky holler was predominantly responsible for the old-timey feel to songs such as Charlie Boy, which referenced the Vietnam War, and the gripping solo turn Slow It Down. At a time when seemingly every record label is after its own version of Mumford & Sons his band can’t help but sound derivative, but hey ho — with this much enthusiasm for their rustic sound, they may as well make hay while the sun shines.
Feb 20, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, W12 (0844 477 2000,o2shepherdsbushempire.co.uk)