Photo: Rosa Sherwood
Photo: Rosa Sherwood

By Rosa Sherwood

Independently run, The Louisianna is a world famous venue attracting local bands to play live music in the heart of Bristol.

However, despite attracting homegrown talent from the Bristol and Bath area, the Louisiana has received great recognition for hosting some ‘big name’ acts. Previous performances include Kasabian, Florence and the Machine, Snow Patrol and The Kooks – just to name a select few!

Taking to the stage this week was acoustic duo, Foreign Affairs. The two brothers from Keynsham, Bristol have been performing together for just over a year, having recently finished recording their seven track debut EP. They were accompanied in their performance by bass guitarist Martin Clarke, and drummer Isaac Jones.

This being my first visit to The Louisianna I was unsure what to expect, but a small intimate venue seemed to be the perfect place to showcase raw musical talent. The mood upstairs was very calmed and chilled after a stripped back performance from Matt Bee. However, Foreign Affairs soon changed this mood to a more contrasting upbeat and lively vibe.

Lead singer Lawrence invited the audience to become part of their set. “I’m not being funny, but are you having a competition of who can stand the furthest away?” This saw the crowd shift towards the stage.

Throughout much of their set you just can’t help but tap your foot to their catchy songs; I even spotted a few people developing into a dance, and if you can make a sober crowd dance on a Wednesday evening, having not heard your music before, then you are doing a pretty good job.

Keeping up their humorous charisma the brothers often exchange banter, giving the gig a more personal feel when they introduced themselves with an exchange of insults. “So I’m Lawrence. I’m the younger brother but I’m taller and I can grow a better beard.” to which Adam bites back with: “Yeah, when you are wearing heels.” This comical exchange sparked an array of chuckles amongst the audience, retaining the lifted atmosphere.

The duo write their own music and lyrics and their musical ability in doing so is heavily demonstrated throughout their set. Experimenting with different instruments their set embraces distinct sounds such as the use of the Harmonica; an instrument we rarely see. More often than not we see bands take to the stage only introducing their songs by name. The boys share with the audience the stories that were used as inspiration behind their songs, making this an intimate performance.

There are more acoustic songs in their set including “The Present” that demonstrate Adam’s strong musical background. After recently graduating from The Royal Welsh College of Music with a 1st in BMus (Hons) in Classical Guitar, this has allowed Adam to write more intricate musical lines which shows throughout their performances.

Slowing things down with their latest track ‘You Said to Me’ which was written by Lawrence just under a month ago. With just the accompaniment of his guitar in the opening verse this song demonstrates Lawrence’s skills as a competent singer/songwriting, showing off his voice and lyrics in this ‘bare’ performance.

The set was finished with their single ‘Days’ which is featured on their EP. The success of this single has been shadowed through frequent radio plays from stations BBC Introducing and Glastonbury FM, where the duo have also appeared for interviews.

If you want to catch Foreign Affairs, they will be performing on Monday 11th February at The Croft.In the meantime you can keep up to date with them on Twitter and on Facebook.