REVIEW: GOODBYE JUNE @ COLOURS, LONDON (29.10.19)
There seems to be a never ending series of hirsute young bands influenced by their parents’ record collections, coming out of the USA, the southern states in particular. One of those is Goodbye June. They first appeared on my radar when many people at last year’s Greta Van Fleet shows went home raving about them. I was unsuccessful in my mission to catch them at Download Festival, but a feature in Classic Rock Magazine recently was a timely reminder to make amends on their first proper UK tour.
It was fitting that the gig was in Hoxton, the hipster capital of London and home to all things bearded and retro. Though the venue was a side room of a bar, it was a decent size with a raised stage and a worthy addition to the smaller venues of London in a time where so many are under the threat of redevelopment.
Goodbye June managed to snag themselves some homegrown support in the West Midlanders Wolf Jaw. There have been changes since I last saw them (when they were still called The Bad Flowers) - singer and guitarist Tom Leighton was sporting a new shorter haircut. The band's recent change of name too better suits the muscular sound of the impressively heavy power trio they've ended up becoming .
They played a number of songs from their new album The Heart Won’t Listen, including "Hear Me" and "Piece Of Me". "Living The Dream" was mashed up with a cover of "War Pigs" with bassist Dale Tonks taking the lead vocals when they switched into Black Sabbath mode. Tom Leighton’s vocals reminded me a little of Ian Astbury while he introduced "Beast", arguably the heaviest song in their catalogue. Old favourite "City Lights" closed things with an almost Clutch-like musical intensity, bringing a very impressive support slot to an end.
ROCKODILE RATING: 9/10
As Goodbye June took the stage, it was immediately clear that the high-pitched, raspy vocals of Landon Milbourn would be an acquired taste. On opener "Rolling Off My Tongue" they called to mind Dan McCafferty of Nazareth, but on others such as "Universal Mega Love" his vocal took on more of a Robert Plant (or, more accurately, Josh Kiszka) quality to it.
Things looked up when Landon Milbourn picked up his acoustic guitar for the Led Zeppelin meets Tesla sounding "Anywhere The Wind Blows". The other ballads in that night's set were impressive too. "Be Yourself" and "Lonely Beautiful People", the latter having a gorgeous seventies feel, went over really well in a live environment. The band had a real groove to them, the rhythm section kicking in just half a beat behind in many occasions, really accentuating the feel Goodbye June were going for in their live show.
For me, the real star of the show was Landon Milbourn’s cousin Tyler Baker. He's the lead guitarist of Goodbye June and I haven’t been so impressed with a young guitarist in a long time. His playing is full of that traditional, rootsy feel that suits Goodbye June's sound so well. He is particularly adept with a slide too and on one song ("Darlin’") he brilliantly slowed to a standstill before breaking into a beautiful solo full of emotion.
Heavier rockers such as "Good Side" sparked outbreaks of joy from a crowd obviously familiar with the material, as did "Daisy" with its Celtic sounding lead guitar theme. However "Switchblade Heart" was strikingly altogether different, injecting their sound with an almost post-punk, danceable feel. Surprisingly Landon Milbourn seemed quite introverted and spoke very little between songs, frustratingly not introducing any of them or even introducing the band. However, he did seem genuinely humbled by the way UK fans had made them feel welcome.
Completing a generous hour and 10 minute set, there were a trio of encores in "Joan & Dylan", the punky "Oh No" and set closer "Free Child". By this stage the dominant influences to my ears were of a later vintage - those of the garage blues-rock revivalists like The Black Keys and early Kings of Leon, another once hirsute band of relatives who subsequently became inexplicably massive but lost that early mojo. I hope the same fate does not befall Goodbye June. While I left thinking they were not quite my scene, they are clearly a talented band going places.
ROCKODILE RATING: 9/10
Words by Tom Da Silva