Another week, another gig where Lout Promotions are celebrating Brighton’s terrific live scene by bumping up a great band to headline status. This time it’s with Of Empires, who have been causing a stir for a while now with their brand of bluesy-desert-rock that scans all of rock’n’roll’s history for influences. From the modernity of Queens of the Stone Age, to The Doors stylish breed of 60s rock’n’roll, Of Empires showcased their brilliant live show at The Prince Albert on Sunday night.
First up on the night were Dead Natives, who played to a modest crowd. There’s a swagger to the band that makes it easy to see why they’ve been picked up by the likes of This Feeling. ‘Rollercoaster Scream’, a song that’s celebrating its year anniversary since being played on Soccer AM, is the best of the lot with its more melodic sound. Meanwhile, latest single ‘Dead Natives’ borrows heavily from Oasis, particularly the Definitely Maybe era, but they haven’t quite got the stylish swagger to pull that off yet.
Next up were Leicester’s ARCADES, who continued the lad-rock swagger, particularly with frontman Tommy Cobley’s impeccable dress and undeniable cocksure bravado. Instead of Oasis here, though, there’s a definite vibe of their Leicester brethren, Kasabian. With their glam-esque foot-stomping beats, hot-tempered vocals, along with Cobley’s movement around the stage, they look like they could be filling indie discos within the next few months. ‘Kings & Queens’ certainly has the euphoric energy to warrant that.
The one thing that’s instantly impressive about Of Empires, is the way they look. Before they’ve even played a note, they have that distinct ‘band’ look – and confidence – that is a marketing person’s dream. Luckily for them, and The Prince Albert, their music more than backs up their impressive look. Surprisingly, their set seems to heavily lean on mostly new material, which further boasts their movement into a new chapter. Latest single, ‘Waist Up in Gold’, which is released on streaming platforms on Friday 9th March, is terrific. It’s a departure of sorts for the band, with the single carrying a slightly more psychedelic vibe, but it still has the euphoric chorus and monstrous riffs that we’ve come to know and love from Of Empires.
The most impressive aspect to the band, however, is frontman Jack Fletcher. He’s an impeccable leader of the band’s brash, reverb-drenched bluesy rock‘n’roll and, at times, seems to be willing them on to compete with him and up their game with louder, more ferocious riffs. He’s every bit the conductor of The Prince Albert stage and, for the most part, it seems too small for him as he jumps down to join the crowd to further immerse them in the live experience.
There’s an incredible tightness to the Of Empires live show, with its immaculate timing, impressive chemistry and sheer loudness, that at times you forget that they’re an unsigned band. This finally feels like the final chapter in their quest to become a massive band and, if their brash, confident and assertive live display is anything to go on, they deserve it wholeheartedly.