Last night I saw Bruise play the Beehive again. Bruise like playing the Beehive. Bruise like the fact that Wiltshire folk are known as Moonrakers. I know this because I was there, and they said so. Bruise played an absolute blinder of a gig. I love the music of Bruise. I love watching them live. Last night they were on fire.
When Bruise come to Swindon, they come as a two piece band. Sometimes they play an acoustic first set, with an electric second set. On these occasions they both play acoustic guitar, whilst singing. For the second set however, they become electric. Electric in more than one sense of the word. Isobel and Jim, are, Bruise. Isobel and Jim are a married couple. This very fact adds a spice to many of Isobel’s glorious songs, with personal anecdotes and much emotion. Isobel plays a six string electric guitar whilst Jim plays drums and is in control of a sample pad. Sometimes they play both sets, electric. This is what we were privileged to see and hear last night.
So, an electric band with one guitar and drums. And no, the drum kit doesn’t look complete either. But I have seen them before. I know what they can do. I know how much effort they will put in, and before long the pub is rocking to sounds that would shame some much larger bands. To do this, both Isobel and Jim throw in all their enthusiasm, energy, and love into their fantastically exciting music. All original songs with the exception of Silver Machine. The band’s ethics though are of quality. The playing, no matter how fast, slow, with or without singing, is simply superb. They achieve what so many aspire to. They achieve a kind of perfection, a seemingly simple goal, yet for most, totally unattainable. As they both strain every nerve and muscle to squeeze every last nuance of musicality and inflection of voice, quality is everything. Isobel’s singing is a joy. Isobel was, and is, a folk singer of the very finest stature. She doesn’t stint when it comes to singing rock. Jim complements with his own fine vocals, and with drumming that literally doesn’t miss a beat regardless of complexity. At times drumming on the rims for effect, and always to perfection, and never over done.
Not only are they a brilliant band, but they are fun. So much fun!!! There is laughter. There is interaction with the audience. The small but very lucky audience was quite vocal in its appreciation. This seemed to spur Bruise on and on. What fantastic music, crescendos building, as with “Mr Rat”, a favourite of mine. This, Jim dedicated to me. He has done this before. Bruise are the only band that could do that to me and leave me laughing. I have a small core of artists and bands I think of as favourites. These are the ones that lift my spirits to a higher plateau during the performance, and leave them there for days afterwards. On these occasions I can’t sleep when I return home because I am still on a musical high. Bruise are, for me, one such band. I don’t play an instrument. I don’t read or compose music. On these occasions I wish I did. Oh what must it be like for brilliant musicians such as these to share their talents? I am glad they do. Isobel and Jim are quality. They are original. They are fun. They respect their music, their audience, and each other. This really is more in way of a thank you, rather than a review. Thank you Isobel and Jim, and as you said yourselves, thank you Andy for having us regularly at the Beehive. If you Google the word, Bruise, you may regret it, so instead, Google the words, Bruise UK band. You should then find them.
It was a magical evening, but as both Isobel and Jim are so much more succinct than I will ever be, here is the message Jim left on his Facebook a few hours after the gig. “My word. We was on FIRE tonight! Tight, groovy, passionate, intense, sexy… A really nice gig.”