Black Country, New Road Enchants the Audience at Mohawk

Black Country, New Road Enchants the Audience at Mohawk

May 4, 2024 in Concert Reviews

by Matty G

Black Country, New Road is unlike any other band performing right now. Even though their music draws from various genres, from jazz to rock to klezmer, they fuse these sounds in such an inventive, individualized way. They have an artistic sensibility of musicians who understand classical theory and interlace it in their music while simultaneously striving to break away from that conformity, and it is fascinating to witness.

At Mohawk on Apr. 15, hundreds gathered to experience the depths of Black Country, New Road’s musical richness during their first show on their latest American tour.

Dina Zeid- BCNR-18.jpg

Photo by Dina Zeid (@capturedbydina)

Though Black Country, New Road typically opens with “Up Song,” the first track on Live at Bush Hall, “For the Cold Country” was just as enriching if not more so, setting the tone for their otherworldly, yet natural, atmosphere. May Kershaw’s soothing vocals transformed into a battle cry as the distorted strings and keys came together to reflect her emotional angst, profoundly echoing throughout the venue.

This segued into “The Boy” which meticulously constructs the whimsical world that a robin inhabits as he tries to find a mole to fix his wing. I felt like I wasn’t even in Mohawk anymore, but rather in this mythical place crafted by the skilled ensemble. The atmosphere simmered down with “Geese,” but still maintained poignant weight as Tyler Hyde’s vocals reflected feelings of longing, with Luke Mark’s guitar mimicking this feeling.

Dina Zeid- BCNR-08.jpg

Photo by Dina Zeid (@capturedbydina)

Cheers filled the venue as the introduction to “Laughing” started playing.

The audience sang along to "Laughing" with Hyde, embracing the song’s depth and filling the venue with warmth. Each person was able to channel their unique experiences into singing the song, but the unity in doing so was tangible in the intimate venue.

Dina Zeid- BCNR-22.jpg

Photo by Dina Zeid (@capturedbydina)

“Horses,” with Georgia Ellery on vocals, strongly reflected the band’s ability to fuse various genres. It started off sounding like a country song, but Lewis Evans’ saxophone also made it sound jazzy, these two sounds blending harmoniously. As it evolved, however, it sounded like an anthem that would blare in the background as you embark on a journey, seeking out a destination. Perhaps we were all lone wanderers in the audience, and “Horses” allowed us to get lost in the intricate layers of the music, our equivalent of going home.

“Nancy Tries to Take the Night” felt like a reverie as the guitar and strings seamlessly weaved together, sounding like what an art nouveau painting would look like, sort of in a folksy Joanna Newsom way.

Kershaw sang “Turbines/Pigs,” which felt like a 10-minute-long dream sequence. I recall looking up at the moon at one point during the song and simply staring at it for a while, feeling like the entire universe had eyes on my vulnerabilities but was welcoming them. The piano and strings accompanied this, encapsulating the song’s distant sorrow.

Dina Zeid- BCNR-15.jpg

Photo by Dina Zeid (@capturedbydina)

“Turbines/Pigs” was a climactic moment in the set; the end of the song, with its cacophony of instruments assembling upon each other, felt cathartic.

The entire ensemble comedically joined – or, rather, clashed – together on recorders, like something you would hear in an elementary school music class. However, this provided a captivating base for the unreleased “The Mare of Cambridge,” invoking cheers and laughter from the audience. It is evident that, above all, the ensemble has fun making music, which has allowed them to produce meaningful music that audiences can connect with. “Socks” and “Dancers” also convey this heartfelt rapport, both boisterous and catchy.

Dina Zeid- BCNR-19.jpg

Photo by Dina Zeid (@capturedbydina)

They concluded the show with “Up Song (Reprise).” The band was at the top of their game, from Charlie Wayne’s electrifying drumming to Ellery’s mystifying violin playing. It was dissonant but entrancing, reminding listeners that Black Country, New Road is crafting another world through their music that is also approachable. They reminded the audience once again that they are in complete control of their music’s intensity, all of the subtle crescendos and decrescendos sounding both deliberate and intuitive.

It is refreshing to see such uniqueness grace the music scene today. Each member of Black Country, New Road has something distinctive to contribute that melds into musical greatness, which will captivate audiences time and time again.

Dina Zeid- BCNR-02.jpg

Photo by Dina Zeid (@capturedbydina)

Stay in the loop with the KVRX newsletter