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Brave Rival: band on the rise

Brave Rival with support Sloe Train
at Arlington Arts
on Saturday, November 4


Sloe Train picture Brian Harrington
Sloe Train picture Brian Harrington

Sloe Train opened with a set of mostly self-penned contemporary blues rock providing an excellent warm up which kept the near capacity audience interested and entertained. Of their own songs, Some Days was, for me the stand out while their cover of Joe Bonamassa's Sloe Gin proved their musical ability very effectively. Powerful vocals and solid, tight backing, the final track, Hangover Blues was excellent.

Brave Rival picture Brian Harrington
Brave Rival picture Brian Harrington

I first saw Brave Rival when they supported Corky Laing of Mountain in London and Oxford a year ago. I was hugely impressed then and they are continuing to rise, gaining airplay on Planet Rock Radio and adding to their fan base, who they refer to as 'Bravians' (a good number of whom had travelled to see them tonight) and reputation along the way.

Built around the powerful and expressive vocals of Chloe Josephine and Lindsey Bonnick up front and the thunderous rock drumming of Donna Peters (who picks up an acoustic guitar for one track) at the back this Portsmouth based five piece is completed by the bass of Billy Dedman and the superb,soaring lead guitar riffs of Ed Clarke.

For a relatively new outfit (formed in 2019) they have great stage presence and assurance as well as an ability to go from subtle intricacy to all-out power and to communicate with their audience. They cite influences as diverse as Aretha Franklin. Heart, John Mayer and Led Zeppelin. The result is superb blues/rock that is, at once familiar and innovative.

Their debut album Life's Machine was released in 2022 and funding for a second album is now in place.

It is no surprise that Brave Rival are picking up multiple award nominations. I loved Heart Attack and their amazing cover of the Etta James classic Damn Your Eyes while Stars Upon My Scars and Sink Or Swim which will feature on their forthcoming album proved that Brave Rival are a band on the rise with huge potential.

This was their first appearance at Arlington Arts.I hope it will not be their last.

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