The iconic roots-n-rock group THE COMMONERS from Canada create smudgily gritty, riff-based rock-stompers with just enough splotch and jangle to elevate the songs above average country-rock promises to produce sounds of exceptionality, effectiveness, and very high quality craftsmanship.
We were lucky enough to see the band perform in the excellent Komedia, Brighton, on their double-headed UK tour with the indie slide-guitar masterstroke magician, Troy Redfern. On the night we saw them play, it was Troy’s turn to ‘headline’ the gig.
The Commoners play Blackberry Smoke style blues-rock that shifts between country-then-gospel moments with rare aplomb. Their songs are bound together by a sincere and passionate appreciation for being alive and therefore able to love and watch love grow.
Growling roots-blues vociferators such as ‘More Than Mistakes’ blazon and seize with impaling guitars, scowling bass-notes, lip-flapping organ notes, and raise the roof, bang-away, articulateness. The Brighton audience celebrated the 3rd Stone from the Sun soundbite from their guitarist Ross Hayes Citrullo, but best-of-all was the symbiosis and joyful congruent harmony that this competent band brings to all their songs.
Their set parlayed from countrified rock, via homespun outdoorsy blues, and into rough-grained school-yardy pure rawk, while always remaining sure-handed, super well-paced, and filled with those uplifting harmonies that elevate this band above others in the roots rock family. But there were surprises at Brighton too: the masterful ‘Body And Soul’ with a breathtaking bow-fed guitar launch, was probably one of our favourite numbers at the Komedia. It was broody-temperamental and languidly mournful and the number reminded us of Pink Floyd circa ‘75, though it was Floyd playing the kind of grunge you’d associate with Pearl Jam of the early ‘90s.
‘Hangin’ on Again’ (audio shared below) was moodier than an angry moon in a storm-ridden sky. So there was smoke and tension. But also glimmers of hope and diamonds. And the keys really glowed. While the guitars rainbowed across a luminescent backdrop. And all the while, of course, the remarkably fetching vocals, espcially from frontman Chris Medhurst captured everyone’s heart.
File alongside: Dirty Honey
All images via THE COMMONERS https://www.facebook.com/thecommonersTO