Field Music


Not an awful lot has come out of Sunderland apart from my Grandpa, the fabulous Andy Dawson from the Athletico Mince podcast and St Bede, the monk. To that list we have now been able to add Field Music. Ostensibly formed of the Brewis brothers – David and Peter – by the time their numbers have swollen to encompass all corners of their live set-up, you worry someone’s going to fall off the stage at Gorilla, so little wriggle room remains for each of them.

The Everly brothers… the Gallaghers… name a musical outfit based around brothers and you will imagine the two of them, stage front, side by side. Field Music are different. The Brewis brothers form a spine to the band, single file: one on drums at the back, the other directly in front, playing guitar and singing. And then, a few tracks in, they swap, with little to no impact on the sound. And then they swap back, like tag-team wrestlers, only in tweed. If you wanted to nitpick you might argue David is the better drummer, Peter the more accomplished singer and guitarist… but then who wants to nitpick when there are Russians roaming our streets with stronger chemicals than even the Gallaghers ever had.

Having seemingly disbanded, the band re-banded for the album Open Here, released earlier this year. It’s a solid affair, building on 2016’s Commontime, which I have on heavy Spotify rotation. How to define their sound? They seem to point in many directions, sonic synonyms that link at times to The Leisure Society, Peter Gabriel… and for my companion for the evening, Roxy Music. Certainly there is something quirky, perhaps 80s-y, to their whimsical, folksy, indie melodies. So at times they nod to a band like Talking Heads, or They Might Be Giants… at others they sound in a field of their own.

Gorilla is packed. A Gorilla in tight pants, busting at the stitches. It’s a mainly male crowd, and a little grey at the temples, but a crowd that’s collectively in a gregarious mood, singing along and joining in with the spirit and energy of the evening. Not surprisingly, tracks such as ‘Time In Joy’ (complete with aurally hypnotic circular riff) and ‘No King No Princess’ from the new album form much of the set, although older cuts such as the fabulous ‘The Noisy Days Are Over’ and ‘Disappointed’ also make a very welcome appearance.

Throughout, the band are incredibly tight – at heart a band of brothers, of course – but backed up by two female keyboard players adding vocals and also flute, additional guitars and bass and a saxophonist (when he started blowing, I had no idea he was also packed onto the small stage). Special mention must be made of the percussionist, who climbed right inside the music and gave it a real edge. The music of Field Music is complicated, structurally and a lot of that intricacy is reinforced by the percussion. It’s angular, sharp-edged, punchy. Put together, it’s a tight and funky musical bed, over which sweep and soar the vocals, both the female vocals and the twin lead vocals, which oddly sound similar, and also similarly unique.

It seems to end all too soon. There’s a club night in Gorilla to follow, and the night is compressed… only one song in the encore. But it’s already been a full and fulsome night, a musical field in the middle of the snowy city of Manchester.

Field Music: Official | Facebook | Twitter

Simon is a writer, broadcaster and countercultural investigator. Over the last 15 years he has written for everyone from The Guardian to Loaded magazine, presented television for Rapture TV and hosted radio programs for the likes of Galaxy. He has also found time to earn a Masters Degree in Novel Writing and write three books (a collection of journalism, a guidebook to Ibiza and one on financial planning for young people – the most varied publishing career it’s possible to have) and establish and run a PR company, Pad Communications, looking after a range of leisure and lifestyle clients.He currently splits his time between researching his PhD at Leeds University, looking into various countercultural movements; consulting freelance for PR clients; writing for the likes of Marie Claire in Australia, The Big Issue and the Manchester Evening News, where he reviews concerts, theatre and is their Pub & Bar Editor. He is also broadcaster, appearing regularly on Tony Livesey’s late night 5Live show for the BBC, and also for BBC Radio Manchester Gourmet Night food and drink show.Simon’s main focus has been music and travel. His career has included editing Ministry of Sound’s magazine in Ibiza for two summers and also writing two long-running columns for DJmagazine – ”Around The World in 80 Clubs” (which took him everywhere from Beijing to Brazil, Moscow to Marrakech) and “Dispatches From The Wrong Side”. A collection of the latter was published in the UK and US as the book Discombobulated, including tales as varied as gatecrashing Kylie Minogue’s birthday party, getting deported from Russia, having a gun held to his head by celebrity gangster Dave Courtney and going raving in Ibiza with Judith Chalmers. He has recently written for the likes of Red magazine, Hotline, Clash, Tilllate, Shortlist and the Manchester Evening News. Pad Communications has recently consulted for clients as varied as Manchester nightclubs and New Zealand toy companies.On a personal note, Simon is a Londoner who left the capital at the age of 18 and never looked back. He sees himself as a citizen of the global dancefloor having lived in Sydney, Los Angeles, Ibiza and Amsterdam. However his life is now rather more sedentary. After all his adventures he bumped into and subsequently married his highschool sweetheart from their North London Grammar. They now live in Stockport with their four children and four chickens, trying to live the good life. Simon recently turned 40 and is steadfastly refusing to have a midlife crisis – as in, growing a ponytail and buying a shiny red sports car.OK, maybe he’ll buy the sports car…