William The Conqueror. Live in Brighton *****

The music room at the Prince Albert has had a makeover and rebrand, in contrast with the rough and ready character of the boozer downstairs. 

Main man Ruarri Joseph fronts this lively three-piece, with the rock steady backing of Naomi Holmes on bass, and Harry Harding on drums. 

Kicking off with a brace from the Maverick Thinker album, The Deep End and Move On, the band immediately set the tone for the show. Loud for a small venue, well-crafted songs and acerbic, observational lyrics delivered with Joseph’s Frank Zappa-esque drawl, his frenetic guitar and laconic style seemingly at odds. 

The set included the new track Shots Fired. Midway through the show Joseph said “we’re just warming up”  but you wouldn’t have known it they were already red hot and the crowd were loving it, particularly Thank Me Later which should have been a hit single.

Cumulatively increasing the intensity, the set ended with Tend To The Thorns and Bleeding On The Soundtrack, and the encore of Cold Ontario and, after a comical interlude when the sound guy thought it was all over and started the mood music, a blistering Sensitive Side.

With six consecutive 5-star reviews on this site – a first for this reviewer – this trio from Cornwall is one of the best live acts that you could wish to see.

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