“I’m Canadian, so I obviously love Neil Young” laughed Tamara Lindeman, the driving force behind The Weather Station, “but he finds gold when he mines, and I just find worry, trouble and things that could go wrong”. There was good news tonight then, as she and her band treated a tightly-packed Latest Music Bar to a set that was as rich in musical gold as it was lacking in anything going wrong. Touring in support of last year’s self-titled album, The Weather Station were supported by Red River Dialect, led by David Morris. With great timing for the former Brighton resident (as well as a former member of the Resident team), this show took place the night before the release of their latest record, Broken Stay Open Sky.
Red River Dialect pull deeply on that classic traditional folk sound, which comes as no surprise with Morris’ Cornish background. Dipping their toe into blues and even psych-rock, with the lengthy outro jam of ‘Gull Rock’, it was a deeply impressive performance. With each member of the band adding their own nuance to a really interesting live proposition, many new fans were won in Brighton tonight. Newly signed to the same Paradise of Bachelors label as their hosts, it showed just how much talent there is in the current British music scene lying beneath the top layer of radio pop. Hours could be lost in the atmosphere and melancholic hue of Red River Dialect, and they deserve much bigger recognition.
As Lindeman and the band broke into opener ‘Personal Eclipse’, there was a distinct hush over the room that barely lifted for the rest of the night. Lindeman is a spellbinding singer, completely engrossed in the songs, with her eyes fixed intently on the back of the room. On tracks such as ‘Free’, it is easy to see that she is still deep in the emotions portrayed (“All these years I followed you/it never occurred to you to follow me”). The cliche of comparing her to Joni Mitchell may be far too easy a comparison to make and, in fact, tonight Laura Marling felt more like a relevant touchstone (though she is another Joni acolyte of course). Regardless, there was an intensity and purpose to her performance which was deeply captivating.
Behind her, the rest of the band added much to the night. As a group, The Weather Station show a rare ability to understand the power of silence and space within the song – much of the instrumentation was delicate and sparse, but always purposeful. Barely there during ‘Don’t Understand’, they dipped out completely for a solo version of ‘I Mined’ before returning with gorgeous harmonies for ‘Came So Easy’ – each moment perfectly selected and exquisitely performed. Like a warm embrace on a cold evening, the gentle vibes washed over the audience – refreshing and revitalising. The feeling seemed to be reciprocal, Lindeman remarking that Brighton was the town that, “All other beach towns are based upon”, but also that her tour felt “like paradise” after the noise and atmosphere of the U.S. Far from staying at one tempo though, the likes of ‘Black Flies’ and ‘Complicit’ added a real kick into proceedings.
Tonight was one of those shows where an hour felt like 20 minutes, and was a perfect example of leaving the audience wanting more. ‘Thirty’ drew a huge response, the singer sinking onto her knees with her guitar at the song’s finale. A short encore followed, with a solo Lindeman taking requests (amusingly having to call the band back after realising she needed them for the stop-start rhythm of the requested ‘Shy Women’). Finally, after a beautifully delicate rendition of ‘Tapes’, the night came to an end. No worries or trouble tonight, but plenty of gold mined for The Weather Station and a very grateful audience.