Lifehouse & Raglans

Saturday 3rd October 2015 

O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London, United Kingdom

It’s never our chosen job to review the audience for a performance, but it must be said that this San Franciscan four-piece bring out a pleasingly mixed crowd – males and females, all ages, all nationalities. Pretty well-behaved and a comparative few indulging in talking through the songs. There were some upstairs, behind us – idiots.

The group seem well-rehearsed and on this outing playing material form their recent new album (reviewed by Glenn on this site) and some older favourites. The essential dynamic is the classic drums, bass and rhythm and lead guitars however there is little trace of The Kinks or The Searchers in Lifehouse music as they are from the much later ‘indie’ strain of melodic rock/pop which spawned Bush and others. What has always drawn me over the years to San Francisco bands is the organic interplay and creativity within even familiar songs, however Lifehouse don’t fish in these waters, you are getting live versions of songs you know on their records and not too different from those recorded takes. This is an observation, not a criticism, by the way…

The lead singer Jason Wade has a voice much more suited to the slightly huskily-delivered ballads and reflective songs and if anything their very accomplished and dynamically proficient bassist has the pipes for the rockier items. Every member of the band sings and this is a trump card in getting the audience to participate. There is an anthemic tinge to much of what the group produces and this crowd are swift to join in when they can, some punters clearly knowing every word of every song. The sound upstairs came across as muffled on the vocals and some of the guitar tones and this makes it difficult for a non-fanatic to note song titles. But we reckon these were played :

1.Hurricane –stomping intro, raspy voice, dense anthemic rock

2. All In

3. Between the Raindrops – slower pace, this is SO like an American Stereophonics in style

4. One for the Pain – neat ringing guitar counterpoint figure here

5. Stardust – top-class opening vocal from bassman, mid-tempo reflective piece, main vocal lost in a wodge of sound

6. Whatever It Takes – another great ringing axe figure used here

7. Sick Cycle Carousel

8. Halfway Gone – vocal delivery sounds like ‘Half a Bun’, a good song nonetheless

9. You and Me

10. All in All

11. Somewhere in Between (Jason Solo Acoustic)

12. Everything

13. Spin – fine bad sound attained on this

14. Nerve Damage

15. Runaways – sub-Zep arrangement, heavily-delayed chording over a 4-change, restless hi-hat

16. First Time

17. Broken


18. Flight – guitar volume swells into an easy-paced ballad with bowed bass strings

19. Hanging by a Moment – a joyous tumble of a song

An audience-friendly set with enough new items to justify attendance by fans. Much clearer vocal production or even diction would have made it all a better experience for me, to be frank. Overall though this genuinely seems to be a group the members are happy to be in and as this comes over pretty well, this was a hit as a show


The Raglans from Dublin who opened were not my musical cup of tea at all BUT deserve full marks for their attack. From what they said, they have enjoyed touring with the Yanks and were quick to thank them and the crew. Their lead guitarist switches from Telecaster to Les Paul to heavily-delayed electric mandolin whilst their lead singer uses a Telecaster and occasional acoustic. Mostly they struck a sound that was equal parts U2 and The Alarm – crowd-pleasing especially in a venue like this on the last night of a tour. Their last presentation had an all-on-percussion passage which wasn’t a bad idea at all. Throwing their all into every number, this lot work hard for their plaudits and I noticed them meeting fans warmly after the show.

Pete Sargeant

LIFEHOUSE – ‘ Out Of The Wasteland’ is out now on Ironworks

(Thanks Lewis, Glenn and Kieran)