Black Country, New Road announce new live album “Live At Bush Hall” via Ninja Tune & announce biggest London headline to-date at Shepherd’s Bush Empire on 10th Oct.
Following the release of the band’s critically acclaimed “Live at Bush Hall” film, Black Country, New Road announced a new live album featuring the set from their three sold out back-to-back shows at Bush Hall in December 2022. The album will be released digitally on 24th March, and physically on 28th April via Ninja Tune.
The announcement of the new album also comes alongside the news of the band’s biggest headline show to date at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, which will take place on 10th October following live dates across the world including the band’s first ever tour in Japan and dates in Indonesia and Taiwan, as well as an array of festival appearances including a performance at c6 Fest In Brazil, their Glastonbury Festival debut on the West Holts stage, four different sets across various Primavera Sound events in Spain, as well as further European festivals such as Best Kept Secret, Super Bock Super Rock, Motel Mozaïque festival, and more. The band will also embark on a largely sold-out UK headline tour in May. Tickets for the new London date will go on sale 24th March to coincide with the live album’s digital release HERE.
In early 2022, Black Country, New Road released their UK #3 album “Ants From Up There” (their second Top 5 UK album debut in 12 months, following their Mercury Prize shortlisted debut “For the first time”), which was lauded by fans and critics alike, gaining numerous 5* reviews and appearing on end of year lists across the globe, including being voted #1 by fans on r/indieheads, Rate Your Music and #3 by Pitchfork readers. All of this despite being released just days after frontman Isaac Wood announced his decision to step away from the band.
Fresh from the success of “Ants From Up There” and with a full touring schedule ahead of them in 2023, remaining members Lewis Evans, May Kershaw, Georgia Ellery, Luke Mark, Tyler Hyde and Charlie Wayne, now a six-piece, decided to write an entire new set of material to perform. They played to swelling crowds at festivals, including triumphant performances at Primavera, Green Man and Fuji Rock, entering a new musical phase as they navigated and developed songs that were just weeks old. They also toured the US with black midi and headlined two sold-out shows in New York.
Choosing to lose the idea of a front person entirely, the band instead now share vocal duties with Tyler taking the lead on a number of tracks including “Up Song”, which celebrates the friendship and success of the band with the lyrics “Look at what we did together, BC,NR friends forever.” Elsewhere, May leads on vocals for “The Boy'', as well as “Turbines/Pig”, an instant fan-favourite as well as one the band’s most vulnerable tracks to date. Whereas Lewis sings on “Across The Pond Friend” and “The Wrong Trousers”. This move has seen the band’s sound continue to shift, allowing for further influences and diversity to permeate their songwriting.
These new performances saw the band garner widespread support for this new material across the board with Rolling Stone UK describing their Green Man set as "unmissable", and the Guardian going on to say that they were "greeted by something close to rapture." These performances have also attracted a profile from the NY Times, multiple glowing live reviews, and a nomination for Best Live Performer at the AIM Independent Music Awards last year.
As the songs continued to develop on the road they decided to avoid conventional next steps. People waiting on new material have eight new, excellent songs to hear, but not in the way they might have expected.
“We didn't want to do a studio album,”
says BC, NR pianist May Kershaw.
“We wrote the new tracks specifically to perform live, so we thought it might be a nice idea to put out a performance.”
The result is a filmed and recorded live performance, directed by Greg Barnes and mixed by PJ Harvey collaborator John Parish, that took place over three nights at London’s Bush Hall.
“It's about capturing the moment,”
says saxophonist and now vocalist Lewis Evans.
“A little time capsule of these eight months that we've had playing these songs on the road.”
Despite the lack of studio material up to now, the three sold out shows in December saw an audience there ready to sing back every word of these new songs, learned from online clips and YouTube recordings alone, a nod to both the band’s resilience and to the dedication of their tight knit community of fans.
The dedication of the band’s fans was spotlighted on the release of their “Live at Bush Hall” film, which trended on YouTube in the UK and has attracted over 300K views with over 6.5K messages in the live chat at the time of it’s premiere. The film was also lauded by critics with support from the likes of international media outlets who said the new material is “a testament to Black Country, New Road’s brilliant musicianship and arrangements, and their genuine love of one another.”
They also enlisted friends and fans to help. Some helped make things, including mucking in to paint and build the sets for the different themes each night, while others were given cameras or instructed to shoot phone footage. All of this has then been put together to create a distinct visual language that weaves in and out of styles, timelines, narratives and perspectives. “
We thought: if we're gonna do a film, then make it personable,” says Mark. “And a lot of our fans, especially when we were putting this stuff together, played a huge part in spreading the songs
which meant that people could listen to them without us putting them out in the first place.
It felt good to do the film in a way that involved the people who've been vital to keeping the whole thing afloat.”
It also means the feel of the film has the ability to transport viewers into the pulsing heart of the gig, often at crowd level.
“It makes you feel a lot more like you're there,”
“When you see, like, I don't know, John Mayer at the Nokia Ballroom or whatever, it just looks like you could never ever be there. These things seem so inaccessible. But this is like you're literally in the room.”
While this is a platform for the band’s excellent new music, this is first and foremost a film the band stresses.
“We want the focal point to be this film,”
“We've put a lot of effort into making it feel like you're watching a live gig. It's not an album in our eyes, it's a live performance.”
Picture by Holly Whitaker