Live Review: Dan Andriano and The Emergency Room, Sam Russo and Bro – The Key Club, Leeds – 06/11/2015

imageDan Andriano really has been a busy chap this year. Not content with touring Europe throughout the summer with his long-time main outfit Alkaline Trio, he’s released a rather great second album under the moniker Dan Andriano and The Emergency Room. This month saw Dan visit our shores with said project, assembling an impressive squad of up-and-coming British folk and punk talent to fill out The Emergency Room UK edition, including members of Bangers and one of our favourite singer-songwriters Sam Russo.

We caught the tour’s second stop at Leeds’ The Key club, and like every other night of the tour proceedings were opened by guitarist duo Bro. The pair were the evening’s only real unknown quantity. And tricky to pin down one at that. Their sound veered somewhat erratically from one rock genre to another throughout their set, at various points calling at a distinctly British quirky emo punk, hideously generic two-piece riffy garage rock, before gradually settling into a solid if unremarkable up-tempo folk-punk. (2.5/5)

This run of support shows saw Sam Russo tour the songs from recently released second album ‘Greyhound Dreams’ in earnest for the first time. For many present, it was also a first glimpse at one of the UK’s brightest singer-songwriters in action. With Russo on top form here, they couldn’t have asked for a better introduction. ‘Dream All You Want’ and established Russo live favourite ‘Small Town Boot’’ provided the pick of the material on offer. Russo is blessed with a deceptively versatile vocal range, a properly mesmerising, meandering yet intricate take on rustic acoustic guitar lines and an instantly likable inclination towards self-deprecating humour. ”I’ve got a new record out, and for once I don’t think it’s shit,” he quips before a set-closing performance of ‘Runaways’ which couldn’t have given a better advert for the new record. (4/5)

Anyone expecting simply a re-hash of Trio hits from Dan Andriano and The Emergency Room’s set was definitely in for a surprise. This was by far a different beast, and one that performed with considerable aplomb and given the assembled members were playing only their second gig together. Watching Andriano in this guise, there’s a real sense that this is him at his most artistic and expressive. The filters and the musical restrictions are off as he and his band hop around the genres at will.

The floaty delicate emo-pop of ‘Pretty Teeth’ eases the set into motion before breaking out into a peppy rock and roll number, while later ‘Lowrider’ provides a sparky of anthemic indie-punk that gets plenty of heads bobbing. But it’s the slowburning acoustic majesty of numbers like ‘This Light’, ‘It’s Gonna Rain All Day’ and ‘From This Oil Can’ where he really shines. Lyrically and vocally, this is Andriano pouring out his heart and soul in a manner far more plaintive then anything seen on any Alkaline Trio track. This makes for a strikingly moving live experience and left a crowd lost in the words, the moment and the emotion of every gut-wrenching line. (4/5)

Dan Andriano and The Emergency Room provides a welcome and engaging alternative to the dark pop-punk of Alkaline Trio. But with the variety of sounds on offer and the depth and subtlety in both the music and the lyrics, it simply isn’t as immediately accessible or easy to digest. As a result, sadly most fans of Andriano’s work will always see this as the lesser of his musical outlets. Nonetheless this was still an enjoyable night of simple, honest no-frills music performed with just the love of the craft in mind.

3.5

Words by Dane Wright (@MrDaneWright)

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