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LIVE: Brown Horse – Leith Depot, Edinburgh, 07/03/2024

OK, let’s deal with this first. Brown Horse come from Norfolk, for some reason one of the parts of these Isles that has not produced a huge amount of big selling acts thus far. They are also a country act. But if the likes of Young Fathers and Stanley Odd have shown us that Scottish Hip-Hop need not be an oxymoron, then let geography and genre not be an issue at this point in history. Someone once said that Americana was country music for Smiths’ fans, but Brown Horse know what they’re doing, and they mean it. Far more than Lydon/Rotten does at this point, on the evidence available.

The Norwich-based six piece (they’re somewhat cagey about where they are from in the county, as if unsure whether those of us this far north might or might not know our Hunstanton from Wells-next-the-Sea) have recently released their rather fine debut, Reservoir. The ten track album has been getting some rather fine reviews and they are in the middle of what seems to be an intense tour (they’ve apparently played 24 dates in 28 days, but they seem to be in a much better shape than I would be in that position). Not only that but they’ve also been continuing to write whilst on the road, and there are a number of new songs that get an airing tonight.

So in addition to the vast majority of the album, we get a number of new songs, including ‘Wisteria Vine,‘ ‘Dog Rose‘ and my favourite of the newbies, ‘Holy Smokes.’ Not only are these new, but they fit seamlessly into the set, so that they belong perfectly with the likes of ‘Shoot Back,’ the heartbreakingly sad ‘Paul Gilley‘ (which might still be their best song) and the excellent ‘Silver Bullet.’

The Leith Depot isn’t perhaps as big as its name might suggest but it’s pretty packed, and I’m rammed in right at the back, trying to get a glimpse of the band. It’s only occasional, but the music does exactly what they need it to. I can’t even work out if there is a stage or not. Certainly, they seem more crushed into where they’re playing than some support acts I’ve seen, but if this is off-putting to them it sure as heck doesn’t show.

They’re playing further afield these days – they allude to shows in Scandinavia where they have found themselves playing to people sitting down at tables, which they’ve clearly found odd. Here there is scarcely space to dance, and with a number of live dates lined up over the next few months, to paraphrase Jaws, they’re gonna need much bigger venues. ‘This is the best show we’ve done in weeks!’ they tell us. Oh, I bet you say that to all your audiences, boys and girls, but we’ll take it.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.