Live Review: The Diamond Family Archive @ THE RAILWAY HOTEL PUB, SOUTHEND-ON-SEA

For music reviews you’re often required to sum up a band or musicians sound with a quick-fire genre, a choppy little soundbite that conjures up what you just heard. I can’t do that with The Diamond Family Archive. They defy genre, they create something totally original to me.

I wasn’t in the room to experience first-hand the birth of punk or the first northern soul records. I just missed the gap for the hedonistic days of Madchester and the dance culture of the late 80’s. I’ve read several books where journalists talk of being “blown away” by an early Joy Division gig or The Stooges.

Well, I wasn’t there for those. But I have been around to witness many live performances from the DFA. I discovered them through the internet a few years ago, then I booked them to play at the Union Chapel, this was where I saw Laurence Collyer (lead vocals, guitar, instrumentalist) play his guitar with a bow for the first time. I was struck by their originality. I went on to recommend them for the Leigh Folk Festival, where they have gone on to become staunch favourites. Through playing the folk festival the DFA have been sort of adopted by Southend music lovers, playing at various venues and nights, including last weekend’s gig at The Railway Hotel Pub through promoters SXSE.

They once again nailed it, wowing the audience with their psychedelic sounds and haunting vocals. Pete Collis (drummer, percussionist, vocals) is a sensational drummer, it’s exciting to see what he’ll do and where he’ll take the beats. Together they appear to have a simple set up, two men, two beards, a handful of instruments and electronic toys. But they turn this into something quite mesmerising and special to watch, you feel part of whatever they are creating as an audience member. You travel with the music as they perform it whilst you slowly observe a sea of people lose themselves. This is rare, this does not come along very often. Europe loves them, they frequently play parts of Germany and are due to visit Spain, France and Holland this winter. I love them so much I asked to record a spoken word album with them, they were kind enough to oblige.

But don’t take my word for it, go and see them live, as soon as you can if possible. Everyone I’ve recommended them to across all ages, has fallen in love with their music and watching them live. Make sure you do the same.

Review by Jo Overfield

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