Live Concert Photography: Ten Fe with The Ruen Brothers at The Mercury Lounge 6/6/17
Over the past 12-15 months so, you’ve likely come across a number of posts featuring the London-based indie pop duo Ten Fe. Comprised of singer/songwriting duo Ben Moorhouse and Leo Duncan, who both have their own distinct voice and songwriting style with Moorhouse being the more melancholic, purist writer and Duncan being the more impulsive and direct writer, the duo naturally switch lead vocal duties from song to song, depending on who wrote the original composition.
Moorhouse and Duncan had played in a number of London area bands in which they individually felt as though there was pressure to fit into a particular scene, whether through one way of playing or a certain way of looking, and they bolt thought it was unnatural and unnecessarily labored, and on another level phony. Interestingly, the duo met at a party and became busking partners the London Underground. And the simple pleasure of playing music they loved and earn cash doing so, helped shared the their choice of songs they played while busking — mostly early rock, early Beatles and the like. The experiences they had and the simpatico they felt while playing eventually made them inseparable and they began play each their own songs. “We had a very clear idea of what we wanted. For things to be simple, based around songs that are unashamed in their directness, and that we love: The Cure, U2, Springsteen and The Stones. We’d spend years playing through these on the tube, realising you don’t need to break the mould. Its best to ignore all the voices telling you that you need to for the sake of it, and go for something deeper.” And with Ten Fe, Moorhouse and Duncan wanted to focus primarily on the song with style serving the song. Sonically speaking, Ten Fe’s sound is anthemic and arena rock friendly while being difficult to place or pigeonhole as their material draws from classic rock, the Manchester sound, Brit Pop, Americana and electro pop; but perhaps more important their material balances a careful, deliberate attention to craft while being earnest and soulful.
Poorhouse and Duncan then spent the next two years, writing, revising and recording in each other’s bedrooms, prolonged writing sessions at Duncan’s dad’s house in Walsall, UK, relentless busking, hustling and saving, and an impossibly lengthy list of band members and producers before they signed a publishing deal and briefly relocated to Berlin, where they recorded their Ewan Pearson-produced full-length debut effort Hit the Lights. Its no coincidence that the name of this band means ‘have faith’” says Leo Duncan.
Live, Ten Fe expands to a quintet, featuring Duncan’s two old, Walsall friends Rob Shipley (bass) and Johnny Drain (keys), along with Alex Hammond (drums). Now, last week I caught the up-and-coming London-based band play what I think will the first of many NYC area headlining shows at Mercury Lounge with the Ruen Brothers. Check out photos from the show below.
Comprised of Scunthorpe, UK-based siblings Ru and Henry Stansall, The Ruen Brothers quickly achieved national attention, when they were first discovered by BBC Introducing, which was later followed by airplay on the BBC Radio 1 programs of Huw Stephens and Zane Lowe (including being named one of Lowe’s hottest records in the world twice), and a Maida Vale live session. Along with airplay on BBC Radio 1, the duo have received airplay on BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 6, KROQ, KCRW, ALT 98.7, Radio X and a number of independent radio stations across the UK and USA. Additionally, they were featured on Dermot O’Leary‘s Saturday Sessions, which landed at number 1 on the UK iTunes Chart. As a result of both their growing national profile and the growing buzz around then, the Stansall Brothers landed a record deal with Universal Republic Records and have written songs for The Weeknd, toured with George Ezra and Tom Odell, shared material with Lana Del Rey, recorded a Rick Rubin-produced album at Los Angeles‘ Shangri-La Studios and played sets at Coachella, Radio 1 Big Weekend, Isle of Wight, Austin City Limits and CMJ — all throughout an extraordinarily busy 2015. Along with that they’ve been featured in GQ, Wonderland, Notion, tmrw, Q, NME and Burberry while The Los Angeles Times named them “Best New British Music Coachella 2015,” and “Coachella 2015: 10 Artists to catch at the fest before they get huge,” and Music Times featured the duo in their roundup of CMJ, “CMJ 2015: 10 Best Bands We Discovered at the Music Marathon.” This shouldn’t be surprising as their sound draws from Sun Records-era rock, country and the blues. In early 2016, the duo relocated to Los Angeles, where they recorded an album, which is slated for release sometime this year, before relocating once again — this time to New York, where they’ve played a weekly residency at the Manderley Bar at McKittrick Hotel, late Friday and Saturday nights. Of course, as you can tell, the duo opened for Ten Fe, playing a set of old timey-leaning rock.
For these photos and more, check out the Flickr set here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskWHtnAS