A Blaze Of Feather – Live – Falmouth
Last night A Blaze Of Feather played their live debut show for a sell out crowd at Falmouth’s Princess Pavilion.
Earlier this year the name ‘A Blaze Of Feather’ started to appear on the line up for several festivals – Boardmasters, Latitude & Citadel. This caused a bit of a stir on the internet as to who they were and what they sounded like. Later they were revealed as Mickey Smith, Ben Howard, Nat Wason, India Bourne, Kyle Keegan and Richie Thomas. An EP was released back in May and their album A Blaze Of Feather was released on Friday.
There was a feeling amongst the crowd that we were going to witness the start of something very special, and were were not disappointed. The show was absolutely stunning!
The music is very atmospheric and frontman’s Mickey Smith’s personal lyrics give A Blaze Of Feather a deeply beautiful sound.
A review of the show from Lee Trewhela and my pictures can be found on Cornwall Live and below. Along with the rest of their tour dates.
A Blaze Of Feather – Live – Dates
3rd July – Guildhall, St Ives
4th July – Trinity, Bristol
5th July – Phoenix, Exeter
15th July – Latitude Festival
16th July – Citadel Festival
13th August – Boardmasters Festival
Review by Lee Trewhela.
Not many bands can sell out a 400-plus venue at their first ever gig but then the chatter and, dare I say it, hype around A Blaze of Feather has set social media ablaze.
Earlier this year A Blaze of Feather’s name popped up mystifyingly high on posters for major festivals across the UK.
Who were they? What did they sound like?
In a masterful playing of the internet, it was slowly leaked that this was Ben Howard’s band but with Ben moving to the sidelines to make way for guitarist and visuals guy Mickey Smith to step up to the mic.
An ethereal, foreboding yet beautiful EP was released in the spring with a more traditionally song-based debut album following last Friday.
There was a definite sense of something special in the air at the Princess Pavilion in Falmouth last night for the band’s first gig, which precedes a handful of dates this week (St Ives, Bristol, Exeter and London) before big appearances at Latitude, Citadel, Boardmasters and more later in the summer.
A huge cheer greeted a humbled looking Mickey as he led the band on stage. As the chatter finally died down – what is it with Pavilion audiences? – a rapt audience was overcome by A Blaze of Feather’s taut and tumultuous sound.
Technical difficulties obviously dogged the first couple of minutes of atmospheric slow burn opener Bold, but soon a gorgeous wave of noise overwhelmed us all.
It’s no surprise that Penzance’s Mickey – a photographer/filmmaker whose work is so engrained with the ocean – should be responsible for music that is as all-encompassing, hypnotic and beguiling as the sea he loves; songs that are both pools of stillness and wild, raging things of abandon.
The EP would suggest that A Blaze of Feather’s music is feel and emotion over verse-chorus-verse, radio-friendly tunes yet the new album and songs as strong as Valkyrie challenge this. A surprisingly funky yet folky duet between Mickey and multi-instrumentalist India Bourne, who supported earlier in the evening, it’s akin to mid-70s Neil Young getting soulful with Bon Iver.
With his hushed vocals, it’s hard to gauge a lot of the lyrics, but it is clear songs like Shelter and Grace are very personal and close to Mickey’s heart, which comes across in the grand swell of the music.
A swell produced by a band who we know are masters (and a mistress) of the art – including former Haven man Nat Wason producing all manner of wonders from his guitar, Kyle Keegan on wholly sympathetic drums, Brother & Bones frontman and St Ives boy Rich Thomas on understated keyboards and backing vocals.
Then there’s Ben Howard. Undoubtedly, a huge swathe of the audience was here because of the band’s background. Devon’s Ben is now a global star but music fans hold him especially dear in Cornwall as he started his rise down here. Would he be part of the band, many people were wondering?
He certainly was, but largely hunched over his guitar, sat towards the back of the stage, allowing Mickey to take the spotlight.
Mickey may have endeared himself to the audience with his gentle nature and one of the best Cornish accents I’ve ever heard, but this actually wasn’t all about him. He told me recently that A Blaze of Feather is very much a group effort and the intuitive nature of the performance certainly bears that out. Here were six musicians working as one.
The words “epic” and “stunning” were bandied about last night. No hype necessary. Expect A Blaze of Feather to win over festival audiences with their epic, stunning sound this summer.
Catch them while you can before Ben swaps places with Mickey again.