The Flight Brigade @ The Water Rats Pub, Kings Cross


Flight Brigade’s multi-instrumental folk-rock sound reflects their roots and touches hearts with their profound story-telling lyrics.

The seven strong, Hampshire act start with, House Fire, from 2016’s ‘Our Friends, Our Enemies,’ to get the crowd dancing. A steady drum beat drives the song, followed by the melodic strings of violin.

The close-knit family dynamics are reflected in the stage set-up, accompanied by their diverse range of instruments. The Water Rats’ music hall is an intimate space, and the disco-ball reflections cast an otherworldly background that effectively combines with the music. Locals sway, with beers in hand, revelling together. Frontman, Ollie Baines, melodic voice is accompanied by the energizing vocals from pianist and wife, Miriam Baines, and violinist, Dorry Hughes. The violin’s searing tune intensifies the ballads and leaves you on the edge, waiting for the next crescendo and guitar riff to carry you away. Ollie, and guitarist, Thomas, jam together and their passionate, care-free feel releases a relaxed atmosphere that the audience embrace with an excited clapping of hands.


flight brigade gig

Dorry Hughes (photo credit: Hanna Andersson)


The synth intro of U Kill Me begins and head-banging from the front crowd ensues. A tidal wave of instrumentals pull you under and follows through with the seductive chorus, ‘Even though you kill me I’ve got to see you.’

Their third song, Streets of Tokyo, brings the crowd back to earth with sonically strong and friendly lyrical undertones that make you feel grounded; almost as if you are walking the streets hand-in-hand with them. Emotional ballads erupt and fall, guiding us through their story-telling style of musicality.

Flight Brigade surprise us with new material fresh from the song pages: Brain Wave. The intricate combination of vocals and instrumentals, rich with the immersion of the violin, give an unusual, yet desired feel. They continue with some older, lesser performed songs: The Phantom and When We Were Young. A full floor is now dancing in beat with the band, and violinist, Dorry, puts heavy rockers to shame with her moves. A calmer tone creates space and emphasis on the soulful vocals, rich with the delight of rebellious, much-loved golden days of youth.


fire brigade gig

Thomas & Ollie (photo credit: Hanna Andersson)


   Hurricane Season imitates its title, a rhythm dipping high and low with energetic instrumentals reflecting the mood of untamed nature and turbulent emotions.

The seven-piece finish on Friend-zoning, beginning with a distinctive, automated pilot voice, and continuing into a sensitive, slow track that orchestrates a gentle wave dance from the audience. Drums build the rhythm back up, with instruments gradually adding an extra layer, until Flight Brigade is rocking all guns blazing once again. An encore closely follows, Everyday draws on the bass-synth style like a heartbeat to match the lyrics, ‘your heart and soul still beats, beats, beats for me,’ with high notes from the violin and piano lightening the tune.

These talented musicians leave the crowd literally shouting for more and still dancing to the beat echoing around the star-speckled disco room.






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