Live Review: The Eskies – The Star Inn, Guildford

It was a little over a year ago when the debut album of The Eskies reached us here at Artree Music. It was somewhat later than it should have been but with all the warmth, joy and frivolity the band brought to life with After the Sherry Went Round I had no choice but to add them to my bucket lists of bands to see. On the 10th of October in the small and atmospheric chambers of the Asahi Room at the back of The Star Inn, Guildford; I got my wish.

You might think that hitting the stage on a Tuesday night in Guildford might not be great for drumming up a crowd but as The Eskies erupted onto stage, even the band themselves were surprised by the crowd in the room. Dozens of fans mingled with eager music lovers who had decided to treat themselves to something new and the venue was swamped with jubilant dancers from all walks of life. With their trademark gentlemen’s club stylings and rich 1920s vibes the band had everything in place for an incredible evening. Witty banter, raging tunes, boundless energy and a drummer dressed as a circus strong man. The perfect night in anyone’s book.

The Eskies are a band blessed with an incredible wealth of talent. They joked on stage that they only formed a band in order to keep an eye on one particular member but the reality is that it’s clear that these men work tirelessly to perfect their craft. Their set was a perfect blend of old and new as they embark on a two and a half week tour across the UK to promote their new album And Don’t Spare the Horse which is released on the 1st of December (watch this space for a review very shortly). They opened the night with a virulent new tune that ignited the room with their vibrant, playful and almost Victorian charm. As the night progressed and the band threw themselves deeper and deeper into their set, playing with the power and force of a lightning strike, the flickering candle became a roaring flame and the atmosphere was at fever pitch.

The Eskies dominated the stage with a playful sound that is larger than life. Their enigmatic and charismatic music is bolstered by incredible guitar tunes, deep and driven drum beats, vigorous bass lines and most importantly, some rib-crackingly good mandolin tunes. As astounding as their performance was, it wasn’t simply about the music but about the spaces in-between. Never have I seen a gig with such a boisterous and affable band. The crowd were left in stitches at numerous points throughout the set although one individual did make it clear that he had no intention of being entertained by any means other than his own but this in itself was a breeding ground for some of the funniest means of dealing with a heckler I have ever witnessed. With the intimate atmosphere offered by the Asahi Room it made for an unforgettable night with a friendly and relentlessly funny band and felt like a great night out with old friends.

It’s always a treat when you can find a band who live up to your expectations live but when you find a band that surpass their own albums live on stage then that’s when you know you’ve really found a band worthy of your time. The Eskies provided a heart-stopping set with passion, vigour and a playfulness that should make every band around envious. They are a band that can give you a night that will always end in a broad smile and a positive outlook.

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Review by Joe Knipe

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