The Lemon Twigs‘ raw energy and undeniable songcraft triumphs above all else at SWG3.

Long Island’s ‘The Lemon Twigs’ are brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario. Since their childhood and over the span of four studio records under this name, the brothers have carved out a sound and style largely built on classic/soft rock and folk sensibilities. Although the aesthetic of their music is by no means reinventing the wheel, the beating heart of this project is the brothers’ consistent ability to craft hooky and memorable tunes.

Their newly released fourth LP ‘Everything Harmony‘ sees them leaning into their soft-rock tendencies, and putting much of their stock in plainly stated gut-punch lyrics and melodies that will get under your skin from the first listen.

From the moment the set kicks off in SWG3’s TV Studio, the Twigs are all business. Luckily it seems they’re in the business of launching track after track of swift and syncopated rock at the audience with little intermission. Opening on fan-favourite ‘The One‘, the band are giving themselves and the audience little run-up to drum up the energy. This doesn’t seem to bother them however as within the first moments of the song Michael is already delivering high kicks and pacing the stage, eyes aglare.

It’s quickly apparent that the live mix is leaving something to be desired tonight. Listeners of the band will know and expect the layers of instrumental and harmonic intricacy that is woven in the Twigs’ music. Unfortunately the mix tonight lacks much definition, and lead guitar dirges and vocal harmonies are often lost in the wash. Whilst it’s sad to lose this definition in sound, it doesn’t remain at the front of my mind for long due to the band’s unwavering march through the material and punk flavoured delivery.

Michael is freed from the drums for a much larger portion of the set now, with the addition of a new drummer whom I believe the brothers plucked from the band of LA based monster masher Dagger Polyester. I have to admit, I thought the general enthusiasm of the tracks improved whilst Michael was behind the kit. His hectic on-stage temperament lent a great deal to whichever position he took.

The dodgy live mix seems to favour the more smooth and mellow numbers in the set. Which introduces electric piano and sees the overall volume brought down a touch, allowing the more delicate elements to shine through nicely.

For the first portion of the encore we are treated to a spellbinding solo session with Brian accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. For this the crowd are absolutely hushed and entranced, as his voice and fretboard dexterity pulls on the heartstrings and draws in the room. As Brian performs ‘Corner Of My Eye‘, the voices of the audience swell to join him for the hooks. This song is so timeless and charming in its musical and lyrical craft, I feel it would have stood easily alongside folk giants of the 60s and 70s. It’s a song everyone should hear and anyone could love.

Tonight, The Lemon Twigs, despite a less than brilliant live mix, faultlessly entertained and showcased the sharp and focused talent that they wield. They deliver what many today seek, a refreshed continuation of timeless songwriting values, crafted with a balance of heart, tenderness and boldness.

Words by Jack Martin @jickus_
Pictures by Rosie Sco @rosie.sco