Myles Kennedy @ O2 Academy Liverpool 07 July 2018

Slightly earlier than usual last Saturday, Boy Child and I boarded a train to Glasgow. It was the first of three trains. It was 7:07am!

So, where were we heading so early on a sunny Saturday? We were off to Liverpool to see Myles Kennedy.

Neither of us had ever been to Liverpool (in fact, Boy child had never travelled so far by train!) but we were armed with Google maps.

Five hours later, give or take a few minutes, we arrived into Liverpool’s Lime Street station. Within a few minutes, with the help of said maps, we had found the venue and then set off in search of lunch and our hotel.

By 2:30pm, fed and watered and safely checked into our hotel (that’s a whole story on its own) we were back at the O2 Academy for the meet and greet. This  was Boy Child’s first meet and greet experience and he looked on a little nervously as I caught up with various members of the AB family from around the world. One of the highlights of these shows is catching up with friends. It never ceases to amaze me how far folk will travel to see this guy. Two girls had flown in from Tokyo to catch a couple of shows!

Eventually, we were ushered into the venue via a service entrance, through a cobbled covered courtyard, past a washing machine and a drier! We were given a warm welcome by Paul and the team as always and the rules for the day were laid down to ensure that the meet and greet ran smoothly.

The room for the evening was larger than I’d envisaged (the show had been moved from the O2 Academy 2 into the bigger room due to demand, I believe). On stage, in front of us, mid-soundcheck was the man himself, Myles Kennedy. Watching soundcheck is always enjoyable and you never know what delights you might experience.  Calmly and methodically Myles worked his way through things, pausing to re-check his resonator’s set up having confessed to pressing a button and not being sure which one! Satisfied that all was well, Myles welcomed everyone and opened things up for a Q&A. Questions from the fans varied from which song did he like to play most from the solo record (Haunted By Design, in case you were wondering) to talking about jamming with members of Led Zeppelin to a “cheeky” question about his checked shirt. (Yes, Myles it did look a bit like you were wearing your grandmother’s tablecloth! LOL)

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After a quick photo with Myles (I managed to get two – thanks Paul) we were all shown back outside to wait for show time.

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Shortly before 7pm, the VIP queue were allowed into the venue a few minutes ahead of the rest of the waiting fans. After running up an incredibly steep flight of stairs, a rail position was safely secured for the evening. Happy days!

The support act for the evening was Dorrian Sorriaux, the super talented, French guitarist from Blues Pills.  This is one skilled musician! Having released his first solo EP Hungry Ghost a few days earlier, Dorrian quickly impressed the growing crowd. The diminutive maestro surprised many of the audience with his vocal abilities. They are right up there with his guitar prowess. Dorrian played an all too short set and enchanted us with his lively blend of folk/rock acoustic music. Definitely a solo artiste to watch out for.

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By now the heat in the venue was incredible! It was with relief that I accepted a cup of iced water from the security staff and medic as they started to pass drinks out to the melting fans.

Shortly before nine, the lights dimmed again and the haunting opening to Devil On The Wall echoed round as Myles started the song just out of sight of the crowd. As he stepped out on stage a wall of cheers greeted him. And, yes, he was still wearing Granny’s table cover (sorry, Myles!) The set opener was promptly followed by Standing In The Sun, the SMKC classic.

Maybe it should have been renamed Standing Under A Blazing Sun as everyone in the room, Myles Included, was already dripping with sweat!

The Mayfield Four classic, albeit Myles claims it is cheesy, Mars Hotel proved to be a firm fan favourite.

With an acoustic rendition of Addicted To Pain following on immediately, Myles had expertly covered all aspects of his career in the first few songs of the night. Nicely done!

Having been fortunate enough to see two previous shows on the first UK leg of the Year Of the Tiger tour back in March, I was secretly hoping to hear some “new” songs. Myles didn’t disappoint.

The first of these was the beautiful Ghosts Of Shangri La. Played on his “laser like” resonator, Myles had the capacity crowd held in awe. We all love that song it appears.

Then having checked how we were all holding up in the heat, we were given a choice- Lover or Show Me A Leader. Lover was my personal choice but, with my usual level of luck, Myles opted to play Show Me A Leader, the epic Alter Bridge song from The Last Hero.

A second “new” song to me from Year Of The Tiger followed as Myles delighted us all with the beautiful Turning Stones. Love it!

Hearing Myles play an acoustic version of Iron Maiden’s classic, The Trooper, is a sound to behold. Introduced with a little nostalgic tale of his teenage years playing air guitar with a tennis racquet, Myles ably demonstrated his prowess. Not only did he demonstrate his skill at playing but he displayed his talent for playing hard and fast while dripping sweat from every pore!

Dear Lord, it was HOT!

Manager, “Renaissance Man”, friend, Tim Tournier joined Myles on stage next for the first of two appearances as the duo had obvious fun playing together before slipping slickly into Haunted By Design. It really is a delight to behold when you can tell that the star is enjoying the show as much as you are.

The third and final “new” song of the night for me followed a couple of songs later – Songbird. Love love love it!

What’s left to say about Watch Over You that followed? Goosebumps and tears in my eyes every single time. Such an emotional ballad. Simply gorgeous.

Probably my highlight tune of the night followed – Travelling Riverside Blues. I just love this one. Love the mischief of its lyrics and, from watching Myles play this, it’s easy to see that he loves it too.

Still playing his resonator (have I mentioned just how much I love this guitar?) he rounded out the main body of the set with a sultry acoustic rendition of the SMKC song World On Fire.

As ever I harboured a secret hope that hallelujah might make the cut for the encore. Sadly, not tonight….one day…. I hope! Myles opened his two-song encore with the breath-taking Love Can Only Heal. When I first heard this on the record, I cried. I’ve cried most times I’ve heard it and this time was no exception. So beautifully raw and personal. Incredible song and a magical performance.

The final song of the night saw Tim (Timmy!!!) return to the stage as together they closed the show with Year Of The Tiger. A perfect note to end on.

What a show! I just wish I could do it all again, despite the heat!

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Having said our farewells to various AB family members, Boy Child and I made our way slowly outside. Fresh air has never felt so welcome!

To complete our full “fan” experience, we waited patiently outside on Myles leaving the venue, hoping to share a few words with him and to get our tickets autographed (there had been no signing part to the meet and greet sadly)

I’m sure after such a hot and physically draining show, many musicians would have declined to spend time chatting with fans and signing items but not Myles. Looking tired but ever the gentleman, Myles took his time, spared a few words for everyone and signed everything the fans thrust in front of him.

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Hot, tired and happy, Boy Child and I said our final “goodnight’s” to the remaining members of the AB family then meandered back to our hotel, both wishing we were following the tour on to Leeds.

Till next time. Thank you, Myles.

 

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Tremonti at the O2 Academy, Glasgow 28 June 2018

Last Thursday, on one of the hottest days Scotland has ever seen, Boy Child and I boarded the 525 to Glasgow. We were heading into the city to see Tremonti.

We should have been heading to the O2 ABC but the tragic events of 15 June had meant that the show had been moved to the O2 Academy.

The train had just pulled out of the station when my other half called to say the heat had messed up the train timetable and advised us to get off at the first stop and to run back for the car.

We did. The journey then became a race against time to get to the venue for doors open. We more or less ran back to the car. Not fun in 30 degrees Celsius (honest!!). We jumped in the car, burnt our butts on the black leather seats and set off – again!  Traffic came to a standstill on the M8 half an hour later due to an accident. Ever get the feeling you are not meant to get to a gig?

Eventually we reached Shields Road underground station, parked the car and jumped on the subway out to Bridge Street.

As we ran down the street to the O2 Academy, the last of the queue was just entering the venue.

My heart sank somewhat as all hope of a rail spot for the night seemed to evaporate in the heat.

Maybe I’ve the heat to thank but, by some miracle, I managed to get a wee spot on the rail. I suspect many of the rail regulars were staying closer to the bar!

Anchor Lane, the first support act, were already on stage and were nailing it! I’ll be honest, I loved what I heard but was still somewhat flustered after our journey (I really don’t do motorways in rush hour) and didn’t give them my full attention. Humble apologies, guys.  In hindsight, I wish I had. A band to watch out for in the near future and one I will pay full attention to next time.

The other support act were The Fallen State. This five piece delivered a passionate and energetic forty-minute set. Vocalist Ben Stenning did a sterling job warming up the growing crowd but I suspect everyone was too damn hot to fully appreciate his efforts. Most fans seemed to be saving their energy for the headliners.

At a quarter past nine, the PA stopped, the lights dimmed and Tremonti’s intro tape began to play. A slow other-worldly rhythm was drowned out by the welcoming cheers of the Glasgow fans. Strobe lights flashing, drums echoing out, Tremonti exploded into their ninety-minute set by opening with the mighty Cauterize. With one foot resting on the wedge monitor centre stage, Mark Tremonti was immediately in full command of proceedings. Each member of the band was overflowing with energy and this flooded into the set opener. Another Heart and You Waste Your Time swiftly followed.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RONHszQJDs

 

AS the heat in the venue increased so did the energy levels and the volume. These guys were loud!!

The first song from Tremonti’s new album, A Dying Machine, to get an outing was As The Silence Becomes Her. Compared to some of the anthems we had already heard, this one perhaps showcased the growth in Mark’s vocals best. Calm and controlled, he delivered a superb opening verse before asking the fans to “sing this with us” as they reached the first chorus. A Glasgow crowd needs no second invitation to sing!

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfDZHAUXmsY

 

Each and every member of this band is super talented. This was the third time I’ve had the pleasure to see them play live and they get tighter and tighter as a band each time. Engine room Garrett Whitlock and Tanner Keegan are unstoppable. Its just a pity Garrett is stuck so far back behind his kit that he’s hard to see at times. Tanner gets more animated with each song they play! Mark Tremonti’s prowess as a guitarist is second to none but what was a joy to see was the recognition he gave to birthday boy, Eric Friedman’s skills.

Eric was allowed to shine in the spotlight at the start of The Things I’ve Seen mid-set. His guitar solo before the song was a stunning display as was his sole during the song.

As the song drew to a close, Jeremy (hope I’ve got that right) from the band’s crew came on stage with a birthday cake covered in flaming candles for Erock. Garrett came to the front of the stage to encourage the fans to sing Happy Birthday (again – they sang it earlier) to his band mate. The Glasgow choir sang with gusto then watched the birthday boy blow out the candles. (I’m sure there were more than me in the room who were glad to see the flames in a Glasgow venue extinguished – we can’t afford to lose another one!)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sjrNechZI20

 

Bringer Of War, again from A Dying Machine, followed, ensuring that the fans were quickly back to full speed. I’d put money on it that some of these Scottish diehard metalheads kept moshing through Happy Birthday and that Bringer Of War was the icing on the cake!

One of the highlights of the evening for me was the incredible Flying Monkeys. I love this song! Love the power of it and I wasn’t disappointed on this occasion. Awesomeness!

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8SKN-0uZWk

 

Album title track, A Dying Machine, was another high point of the show with the fans clearly letting Mr Tremonti appreciate their love for his new concept album. (Looking forward to the book, Mark!)

Dust took on a whole new level of poignancy a moment or two alter as Mark asked everyone to light up their phones in tribute to the great O2 ABC. The lyrics might not have been the most fitting but the moment of recognition for the loss of a favourite music venue was appreciated by all. R.I.P. Glitter Ball.

Tremonti don’t play encores. Instead, they prefer to play straight through. They brought the evening to a thunderous and sweaty close with Radical Change and their standard set closer, Wish You Well.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqABA_t5czk

 

 

An awesome night in an awesome venue.

Sadly, despite having the necessary neon wristband, Boy Child and I couldn’t wait for the post-show meet and greet. The clock was ticking and the time had come to retract our steps back to the car.

If only we’d been able to follow this short UK tour for a few more shows…..

 

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Volbeat at O2 ABC Glasgow 06 June 2018

On a very hot sunny Tuesday evening Boy Child and I boarded the 525 to Glasgow (now that’s something you don’t say too often about going to a gig in Scotland ha ha) One stop further up the track we were joined by FB Son.

The three of us were heading for the O2 ABC to see Volbeat .

Getting off the train fifty minutes later into the heat still felt surreal. It’s usually bitterly cold when you get off the train in Glasgow’s Central Station.

I should’ve taken this as sign for things to come!

For the first time in a long time a lengthy queue greeted us at the venue and we found ourselves lined up half way up Scott St. (Google it – it’s like the north face of the Eiger!)

Down at the corner a pre-gig support act was entertaining the growing queue. Local musician Alex Clarke was playing a fine set of rock classics and even threw in a couple of good Volbeat covers for good measure. (Check him out at @AlexClarkeMusic). Well done that man!

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Inside the venue it was hot…..damn hot!

Positioned just off the rail at my preferred side of the stage we waited patiently for things to begin with beads of sweat forming.

Dublin band Fangclub were the sole support act. I’ll admit at first I wasn’t too sure of these boys, largely because they seemed to be trying too hard to sound like Nirvana, Green Day and the Foo Fighters all rolled into one, but, as they worked their way through their forty minute set, they won me round.  There is no denying their front man’s more than passing resemblance to the late Kurt Cobain (with that floppy blonde hair he does look a bit like a singing mop head LOL) but these boys have their own distinct sound emerging. Highlights for me were Dreamcatcher, Knife and Lightning. Alluding to Volbeat’s love of Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley, Fangclub “treated” us to a rendition of Suspicious Minds. A valiant effort but please don’t do it again, guys! All in all, a great support set.

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The temperature in the ABC was still rising as the room filled up to capacity (show was a sell-out) … and it continued to rise….. and rise!

At roughly 9:15, the PA tape stopped and Volbeat’s intro tape began before they took to the stage to open with the awesome The Devil’s Bleeding Crown. Immediately, disregarding the heat, the whole room was jumping! Volbeat began their ninety-minute set guns blazing!

As they began Lola Montez, the third song on the set, Boy Child and FB Son disappeared into the melee. The capacity crowd were boisterous but party boisterous not aggro boisterous. Anyone who reads my music blog reviews regularly will know of my intense dislike of crowd surfing but, when you go to a Volbeat gig, you know that’s what you’re going to get and need to be ready to live with it.

With the moshers being subtly guided by Michael Poulsen’s hand signals from the stage, the crowd surfing began in earnest and kept going all night. I saw a few folk (mature ladies, it has to be said) take a blow from a flailing foot and it made me cringe but you need to keep your wits about you in a crowd. That’s gig life.  Hats off to Show Sec who did a fantastic job of looking after everyone, including Boy Child and FB Son.

I mentioned earlier that Volbeat love Johnny Cash so it came as no surprise a couple of songs later, after one of the road crew brought out an acoustic guitar on a stand, when Michael Poulsen was channelling his inner Man In Black as Volbeat played Sad Man’s Tongue.

Glasgow may have already shown the Danes that they knew how to rock but this song proved once and for all that they know how to sing too and can do both together. Brilliant!

There were many highlight moments of the night but Seal The Deal was most definitely in the top five. I love this song and judging by the crowd’s reaction so does everyone else.

Something that is always a joy to see is the band having fun on stage. Front man Michael Poulsen was obviously loving it (maybe that had a lot to do with the female crowd surfers). Both bass player Kaspar Larsen and guitarist Rob Caggiano were both prowling the stage. While Kaspar wasn’t really showing that much emotion, Rob was grinning and nodding his approval from under his large black cap.

The Scottish fans went wild when the band announced that there would be a new album next year and then went completely crazy as Volbeat played a new song, The Everlasting. Awesome stuff. If the rest of the new album when it comes is half as good then we’re onto a winner!

For Evigt and the mighty Doc Holliday rounded off the main body of the set and almost raised the roof off the ABC. I kind of wish it had as then we might have got a breath of air!

It was hotter than hell down the front!

After a very brief breather, Volbeat returned to the stage, opening their three song encore with the ever popular Black Rose. The evening was brought to a rowdy conclusion with Still Counting. What a way to end a memorable night!

With happy smiling sweaty face the Scottish fans trooped off back out into the still warm summer’s night.

Till next time, guys! Hurry back!

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Black Stone Cherry – Family Tree

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Release Date:             20/4/18

Label :                           Mascot Records

Producer:                    Black Stone Cherry

 

Highlights:                   My Last Breath

Family Tree

You Got The Blues

 

Lows:                             none- it’s Black Stone Cherry!

 

Best Lyric:                    “If all I had left was my last breath

Here’s what I’d spend it on

I’d tell you, “You were my world and she was my girl.”

If all I had left was my last breath”

 

 

I always find it more difficult to review albums by bands I really love. It’s harder to be objective when you know in your heart that you’d pay money to listen to them singing the phone book and still be happy.

I’ve deliberated over this review for nigh on a week while listening to Family Tree on repeat.

If I could sum this record up in one word it would be “fun.”

These boys from Edmonton, Kentucky are loving what they do and are having fun with their music and that’s what oozes through every one of the thirteen songs on this record.

Family Tree is the sixth studio album from Black Stone Cherry and, like Kentucky before it, is self-produced. It’s fair to say this record is a real family affair. They’ve also brought a guest along too to share in the fun as Warren Haynes from Gov’t Mule makes an appearance. (Guess, he a bit like a long lost BSC uncle)

To date, there have been two singles released from Family Tree- Bad Habit and Burnin’. Both are, to my music fan ears, classic Black Stone Cherry tracks. With these boys you know what to expect….or do you?

Last year’s Black to Blues EP hinted at the more blues based direction they were travelling in.

Family Tree throws a few kinks into that well-travelled road with 1980’s Bon Jovi/Slash style influences, a healthy dose of funk and soul and some gospel vibes running alongside the Southern rock riffs that we know and love.

I’m not about to dissect this record track by track – whew I hear you cry!

This is an album you need to listen to and then allow these songs to grow with you. I’m still learning to love and appreciate several of the tracks on here.

I’ve called three out as my highlight tracks.

You Got The Blues sees a cameo guest vocalist appearance by Chris Robertson’s five year old son. I love the quirky almost fairground intro to this track before it evolves into one of the heaviest on the album.

Title track, Family Tree, rounds things off and, for me personally, is the track that I suspect will be around the longest on the live set from this album. Love it. It is 100% pure Black Stone Cherry.

I’ve called My Last Breath out as the third of my highlight moments. It’s a very personal ballad in the form of a letter from Chris to his son. The lyrics are straight from the heart. This song is the album’s Things My Father Said or The Rambler but…..sorry, boys… I feel this one has been made overly complicated and is a tad over-produced. Chris and Ben playing acoustically, Jon laying down a subtle bass and John Fred on cajon- now that would make this song perfect and let it assume its rightful place among the others. Merely my humble personal opinion. It’s a beautiful song.

There’s something for every Black Stone Cherry fan on this record. Maybe Black Stone Cherry are my “Bad Habit”. Is this my favourite of all their records? No.  Is it a great album? Hell, yeah!

Don’t believe me, listen to it for yourself then listen to it some more.

 

9.5/10

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(images sourced via Google – credits to the owners)

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The White Buffalo at the O2 Academy, Glasgow 16/04/18

On Monday evening Boy Child and I boarded the 525 to Glasgow bound for a venue we haven’t visited in three years. Has it really been that long?

We were heading off to see The White Buffalo at the city’s O2 Academy. Originally the show had been scheduled for the O2 ABC but, a good sign I guess, it had been upgraded to the larger O2 Academy.

The O2 Academy is one of Glasgow’s iconic art deco buildings. Built in 1932 in the Gorbals area of the city, it was originally the New Bedford Cinema. The last film screened there was a double bill of Dirty Harry and Klute on 8 July 1973. In October of that year the building reopened as a Mecca Bingo Hall then in 2002, after a multi-million-pound refurbishment, it was transformed into the music venue that it is today. It really is very pretty inside. Have a look –

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mAYsaBLeJo

 

Rail position for the evening secured, Boy Child and I patiently waited….and waited… and waited… A jazz/funk/ska/soul PA tape was playing – not my genre of choice. Eventually at 8.15, over an hour after the doors had opened, the support act for the evening Alice Drinks The Kool Aid took to the stage. These guys are a Chicago based blues/indie rock trio. I’m going to adopt my “Thumper Principle” here – if you can’t say nuffin’ nice don’t say nuffin’ at all.

I was suddenly missing that jazz PA tape…..

An hour later The White Buffalo took to the stage to huge cheers. The venue wasn’t full but the large crowd were enthusiastic from the start. With a gravelly polite “Good evening, Glasgow”, The White Buffalo aka Jake Smith opened the ninety minute set with Hide And Seek followed, with barely a pause for breath, by Dark Days.

The pace for the evening had been set and we were off and running at full pelt!

One of the highlights of the night was Border Town/Bury Me In Baja from The White Buffalo’s latest album Darkest Darks Lightest Lights.  This song really showcases the talents of all three members of the band. Despite the country influences here there are strong punk manic energies flying through making for some awesome drumming and bass. Perhaps the only thing not quite at its finest was The White Buffalo’s voice. Already he was struggling a bit.

The second song from the new record (ok its 6 months old now) slowed things down a bit as The White Buffalo played a soulfully beautiful rendition of The Observatory. This was a gorgeous moment to behold.

After a brief pause to comment on the beauty of the venue and commenting, “I do miss the disco ball a bit”, The White Buffalo began one of my favourite songs on the set Oh Darlin’ What Have You Done. I love this song although, two days later, I’m still singing it! Ear worm warning! (Fans of the show Sons of Anarchy will be familiar with this one as it featured in season 6) The crowd were certainly loving it as much as I was…and I suspect many are still singing it!

You can’t fault the pace of this show. Twenty-two minutes in and the band had reached the seventh song on the set list. The White Buffalo himself may be a huge “mountain man” but he fairly packs a punch live.

Avalon, again from the latest album, proved to be another crowd favourite as the fans sang along passionately.

A couple of guitar strums were all the fans needed to announce another of the highlights of the night, Come Join The Murder. With his voice really starting to suffer, the Scottish fans, especially those in “cuts” sang their hearts out during the Sons of Anarchy song. TV series angle aside, this is a fantastic song and might actually have been my favourite of the night.

Two songs later The White Buffalo introduced an “old song” inspired by John Jameson whisky. By now Jake Smith was sounding like he needed a “hot toddy” to soothe that throat. John Jameson is a song sung straight from the heart. Loved it.

Another story teller song followed a few minutes later as they played Joe And Jolene. It was obvious that the band were having as much fun playing this one as the crowd were having listening to it. Brilliant!

Whistling proved to be easier than singing… marginally. The haunting whistled intro to The Whistler, another song featured in Sons of Anarchy, hushed the fans as they hung on every word of this powerful song. Even with his voice “fucked up” (Jake’s description not mine) this was another highlight performance of the night. Loved it.

I Got You and The Pilot rounded off the set and, I’ll be honest, I thought we’d heard the last for the night. I’ve no idea how The White Buffalo made it that far as he was clearly suffering from some lurgy or other.

I was wrong.

Ever the professional, Jake, The White Buffalo himself, returned to the stage a few minutes later to everyone’s amazement and delight. Playing solo, he treated us to Wish It Was True. Every fan in the room was more than happy to help him with the vocal chores. Having thanked the fans once more for coming out, the rest of the band joined him on stage for the final energetic, frenetic song of the night How The West Was Won.

With a gutsy performance while obviously under the weather, The White Buffalo certainly won over the West Coast of Scotland.

Great night. Hurry back but make it the O2 ABC- I missed the disco ball too.

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Greta Van Fleet at St Luke’s Glasgow 01/04/18

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Easter Sunday saw Boy Child and I heading off to church. (Well, as close to church as either of us get.)

We were going to a small intimate venue in Glasgow’s East End called St Luke’s. Armed with Google directions and having found the car park ( after a few wrong turns) and a huge Billy Connolly mural, we set off past Trongate and the legendary Barrowlands in search of a small refurbished church. We found it!

A brief history lesson for a moment  – humour me- St Luke’s and St Andrew’s Church of Scotland is situated in Bain Square in Glasgow’s Calton district and dates back to 1836. It’s had a tumultuous history and the church finally disbanded in 2012. Such a historic building with some stunning stained glass deserved a future. In 2015 with help from Glasgow City Heritage Trust and the Calton Barras Action Plan, the church was refurbished and, while retaining many of its original features, was transformed into the venue it is today. 

So, who were we there to see?

Greta Van Fleet.

This young band from Frakenmuth, Michigan (it’s near Detroit) have been hailed by some as a 21st Century Led Zeppelin. (No, I’m not getting dragged into that particular musical debate).  If you have missed the hype, Greta Van Fleet comprise of three brothers, twins Josh and Jake and younger brother Sam Kiszka plus long time family friend Danny Wagner. All of the members of Greta Van Fleet are still to reach their 21st birthdays.

Ok, history lessons are complete (Whew, I hear you sigh!)

 Support act for the evening were London based band The Second Sons. Right from the off their 1960’s influence was apparent. I can’t fault their passion and enthusiasm for the short six song set they delivered but for me they sounded too much like Rolling Stones wannabes. Vocalist Nick Harding tried just that little too hard to strut out the role of “iconic” front man while guitarist Chris Harding was clearly going for the “pouty/moody” look. The Second Sons did an admirable job of getting the Scottish crowd ready for the headliners but, I’m sorry, they weren’t for me.

TSS collage

 

I can’t imagine a more dramatic stage setting for a Glasgow debut for Greta Van Fleet then the stage in St Luke’s. The back drop it two huge stained glass panels plus the pipes of the church organ dominated the stage. Huge cheers greeted the boys as they stepped out on stage and, before beginning to play, vocalist Josh thanked the fans for their warm welcome, played with them a little with a confidence way beyond his years before the band kicked off their eighty  minute set  with the fantastic Highway Tune.

Immediately there’s an energy and an air of confidence about this performance. Sadly, their sound balance was a little off, an issue that plagued more than half the set, as Josh’s vocals were dominated by Jake’s guitar. We’ll forgive them just this once although the crowd were yelling “Turn the mic up!” in between songs. I suspect the Scottish cries got lost in translation.

One of the highlights of the twelve song set was Talk On The Street, four songs in. This is one of my personal favourites from Greta Van Fleet’s From The Fires EP. Watching Jake execute a stunning guitar solo I can’t help that worry that he’ll put his back out before too long. Boy can that kid play!

Mid set Jake swapped his SG for a J45 acoustic (It looked huge on him) as Greta Van Fleet played a soulful ballad You’re The One. It was nice to see twins Josh and Jake singing in harmony with each other during this track while brother Sam played a delicate Hammond organ. (No, he couldn’t resist sounding like the church organ behind them for a few brief moments).

Slightly surprisingly the only cover of the night was an incredible rendition of Howlin’ Wolf’s Evil.

It’s very easy to forget just how young this band are while you are watching them. There’s a unique chemistry there. All of them are incredibly talented musicians and their passion for their music and their obvious delight at playing for an equally passionate Scottish crowd shone through.

I do need to mention their “fashion” sense for a moment. Josh, what were you wearing???Sam, loved those spotty socks! Greta Van Fleet manager, please take Josh clothes shopping.

Lover Leaver Taker Believer rounded out the main body of the set. As the band slipped out of the door at the rear of the stage, the fans were already baying for “one more tune.”

Their cries were rewarded with two. A few short moments later, amid much cheering and whistling, Greta Van Fleet opened the encore with the awesome Black Smoke Rising. The fans howls of delight almost drowned  Jake out.  Josh had long since won this crowd over but he held them right in the palm of his hand throughout this song. Memorable performance!

Safari Song had the honour of being the final song of the night. It also saw drummer Danny get the chance to shone with an all too short drum solo mid song. Brilliant song to end an amazing night on.

If only a visit to church was always so enjoyable!

Hurry back, boys. Glasgow loves you.

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If you want to read more about this unique music venue please check out the link below:

 http://www.stlukesglasgow.com/whats-on/

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Myles Kennedy @ The Garage, Glasgow 20/03/18

On Tuesday I boarded a train to Glasgow unchaperoned…. Not the 525 to Glasgow but the 1154 to Glasgow.

Yes, I was setting off for round two of my Myles Kennedy adventure.

Round two began in beautiful spring sunshine. Much more civilised weather after the snow and ice of Birmingham. It also began with a lovely relaxed lunch with some wonderful member of the AB family. Good food. Great company. The day was off to a great start.

By three o’clock we were all lined up waiting to enter The Garage for the sound check and meet and greet. And we waited… and we waited…..

Yup..you guessed it…they were running behind schedule again.

Oh well, more time to catch up with friends.

Eventually we were invited indoors where you guessed it…. we queued and waited a little longer. (Meet and greet requires a bit of patience)

I’ll confess to losing track of time as we were all still chatting but at some point (I’d guess around 4.30) we were allowed to climb the stairs an enter The Garage.

The venue was a tad on the chilly side but there in front of us on stage, snuggly wrapped up in a warm scarf, was Myles and he was still playing that beautiful resonator. As we gathered round and listened to the various snatches of songs, we were treated to a brief rendition of Life Must Go On (one for a future set perhaps?)

As in Birmingham, there was a brief Q&A before we formed a queue for the signing and photo aspect of proceedings. I had brought Myles a small gift (well, I was brought up not to visit friends empty handed) The gift was a copy of Gerry Rafferty’s 1978 album City To City on red vinyl. Myles thanked me kindly for it (prior to opening it) CDs and ticket signed and photo taken (thanks Paul) it was time to exit the venue and queue outside again for the show.

When the doors opened and our tickets and wrist bands had been checked, there was a mad sprint up the stairs to secure that coveted rail spot. Lord, those stairs were steep! It was worth it though 😊

Holiday Oscar opened the show with his mercifully short 30minute support set. Honestly, I tried to like him. I really did! But, he just doesn’t do it for me. The Glasgow crowd were relatively kind to him and he survived the experience more or less unscathed (largely because the Scots humour went over his head.)

The Johnny Cash PA tape provided some welcome relief!

On the stroke of eight, the lights dimmed, the curtain to the back stage area twitched and Myles slipped into the shadows at the side of the stage to the recorded opening segment of The Devil On The Wall. As he stepped onto the low stage the capacity Scottish crowd went wild!

The tone was set for the evening. A Glasgow crowd is seldom a quiet crowd and is always a singing crowd.

From the smiles on stage, the fans’ passion for the music was warming Myles’ heart.

Standing In The Sun followed (SMKC ticked off) then Before Tomorrow Comes (AB ticked off the list). Next up was Eden, the gorgeous song from Myles’ Mayfield Four days. Nothing could have prepared Myles for the reception this song got. The Glasgow choir sang sweetly and word perfect from the start, much to Myles’ obvious delight. He was impressed!!

How to follow that? Starlight, another SMKC song, did the trick. It is truly a beautiful ballad. All Ends Well had also retained its place in the nineteen song set. Love that song.

Introducing his partner in crime as a “Renaissance man”, Myles was joined on stage by Tim Tournier for Haunted By Design. It was also time to shed the dark blue jacket to reveal the evening’s choice of tartan shirt (not flannel, not plaid, tartan!)

Another song was ticked off my dream list two songs later as Myles introduced Mars Hotel, another Mayfield Four classic. The song came with a story and a confession. Myles revealed that the lyrics were written composed in around forty five minutes but that he now struggled to sing some of them with a straight face. As he began the song it was easy to tell when he reached the lyrics in question. Fabulous song enhanced by this human humorous element.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQnFbmem3B0&t=45s

 

As ever Watch Over You was an intensely emotional part of the set. This is a truly gorgeous ballad and again it was clear to see Myles’ appreciation of the fans throughout.

There are several stunning guitars being used during these acoustic shows but the tone and beauty of that resonator steals my heart every time.

Myles started Travelling Riverside Blues…. Paused…. upped the tempo….then stopped. Channelling his inner drum major, Myles reminisced about his high school days in the marching band and as drum major in his senior year, before conducting the Glasgow choir’s clapping tempo (Having zero sense of rhythm and being unable to clap in time I declined to participate- sorry, Myles)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLVbqQADS5g&t=3s

 

(credits to the owner of this video – sourced via You Tube)

 

I love love love this song and never tire of listening to it.

 

Slickly Myles transitioned into World On Fire. I was amazed by just how well that song lends itself to an acoustic set. Slash better watch out. He has competition here!

The title track from the album, Year Of The Tiger rounded off the main set and Tim Tournier returned to stage to support the boss.

The Scots fans’ please for more were swiftly answered as Myles returned to the stage mere moments after leaving it. Having fed off the audience’s energy and enthusiasm all night it was obvious to all that Myles had had as much fun as the adoring fans had. As he limbered up for the next song, a few short bars of music made my heart soar – Baker Street! He’d opened his gift from earlier. (I just wish I’d captured the moment on video.) Thank you, Myles.

When I first heard the album, Year Of The Tiger, two tracks made me cry. One of them was Mother. The other was Love Can Only Heal. As Myles played Love Can Only Heal a lump formed in my throat and my eyes filled with tears. There was a goosebumps moment as he held “that” notes mid-song. Kudos to the fan who stomped out the heart beats. Highlight of an incredible night.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=576Ys0bQL-c&t=31s

 

Addicted To Pain had the honour of being the final song of the evening.

What a show!

With very mixed emotions, I headed home, having said farewell to my AB family and located Boy Child, FB Son and their two friends.

My Myles Adventure had come to an end for this tour but it sure went out on a high.

Thank you, Myles. Till next time.

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