Headliner Preview: Tom Lumley & The Brave Liaison

The inaugural Neck of the Woods Festival is only a few days away now, so, as a follow-up to our full preview post, this seems like a good time to take a closer look at one of the headline acts.

On the fourth stage (“Kili Presents …”), the bill is headed by Tom Lumley & The Brave Liaison. Now, that stage is billed as aiming to showcase some lesser known and rising acts, and I’m not quite sure this band falls squarely into that bracket. They’ve been together since 2017, and the members – Tom, Jake Day, Billy Stewart and Jonny Thompson have plenty more individual experience, too. But what better way to round off a stage like this one than with a performance from a band who’ve worked hard to get where they are, and at the same time have done so much to encourage other bands along the way.

The Cambridgeshire group have been played on BBC Radio 1 (where they were tipped by Huw Stephens as ones to watch back in 2020), BBC 6 Music, Radio X and Amazing Radio, among any others; they’ve played festivals including Truck, Isle of Wight and Bestival; and they’ve supported the likes of Sam Fender. They’re also prolific live performers, real grafters, and as I said – great supporters of other artists. This has led them to build a very strong local following.

TL&TBL have become well-known for their momentous and full-on live shows, another reason why they’re such a great choice to close out this stage. As for their sound, they seem to walk a certain line, balancing on the cusp – that point of beautiful equilibrium – between punk and indie rock. This means their songs are rocky and packed with raw energy, have sing-along-appeal and are sometimes frenetic and mosh-able; but they’re also engaging, always featuring really catchy and slightly leftfield riffs. 

One of my favourites among their tracks is ‘Modern Age’ (the opener to their 2021 album Everything’s Affected). It’s a rapid paced rock-guitar anthem, built around gorgeously fuzzy layers of power-chord guitar sound; but it’s taken to the next level with higher-pitched, rising harmonic overlays. There’s that special twist again -that subtle elements which lifts and sets the band apart.

Listen to their music and you can instantly feel in your bones that this is a band built to take to an outdoor live stage. 

Find out more about TL&TBL here and (if you’re quick) you can snap up one of the final festival tickets via the NOTW website.

Words by Phil Taylor