Both the main players in the Silent League and Common Prayer are brothers. Justin Russo plays guitar and sings in the Silent League, while brother Jason fronts Common Prayer. Both bands are a million miles away from each other.

The Silent League are fairly moody, but mix strings together with a guitar-based sound. Tonight they include James Chapman from Maps on guitar and keyboards. Their whole set consists of decent Americana songs which are a tad reminiscent of Mercury Rev in feel, but both brothers were in that band. anyway, The Silent League's strings are added for a bit more depth and both lift the sound and give them a bit more drama and make them much more cinematic in feel.

Jason's band, Common Prayer, on the other hand recall the fun of Jonathan Richman and the earlier works of Hefner. The ladies in the band play odd instruments they picked up on a farm near Oxford where they recorded their forthcoming album, 'There is a Mountain', despite coming from New York.

Neil Halstead ends the night by playing a set of just over an hour. He is a bit restless and it seems hard work for him to play, but when he does it is pure liquid even though there is no set list. He asks us for requests and he does some. He plays a few new numbers as well which are beyond lovely. A few old Mojave 3 songs are played as well as 'Alison' from Slowdive days, completely stripped down to minimal voice and guitar. He ends a too short set with 'See You on Rooftops' from his first solo album 'Seasons'. Even though it has been all too brief it is as always great to hear him.

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Commenting On: Garage, London, 22/7/2010 - Neil Halstead, Common Prayer and the Silent League

ie London, England

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