Alter Bridge at the Motorpoint Arena Nottingham 26/11/16

Instead of my usual 5:25 to Glasgow, last Saturday morning, I found myself in Glasgow Airport boarding a flight to East Midlands Airport (tiny propeller plane!) as I headed off to Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena.

Having met many friends and made several new ones along the way at lunch and the meet and greet, I found myself in a prime spot on the rail for the show.

First out on stage were Like A Storm. I can honestly say I’ve never seen a show open with some didgeridoo playing before! This young band from New Zealand are fantastic and, despite a lack of space on the busy stage, played a spectacular half hour set. Their all too short appearance opened with Chaos from their debut album, Awaken The Fire. The remainder of the six song set comprised of songs from the album with one exception. These Kiwis played a storming cover of ACDC’s TNT. They wound things up with Love The Way You Hate Me. Brilliant. Nothing to hate about these guys!

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Next up were French band, Gojira. I’ll be honest here. I’ve listened to their latest album Magma and some of their older stuff and I just can’t get into them. Live they were certainly loud, hard and heavy and much better than I’d expected. The highlights of their eight song set for me were Silvera and Vacuity. Check them out and make your own mind up. For me, the jury’s still out.

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Volbeat from Denmark followed. Slowly drum kit by drum kit layer the stage space was increasing. Since hearing Volbeat’s latest album Seal The Deal & Let’s Boogie, I hoped and prayed that one particular track from it would open their set. The Danes didn’t disappoint.  The Devil’s Bleeding Crown is the perfect set opener. Loved it!

Three songs in and we were treated to some Johnny Cash as they played Ring Of Fire and Sad Man’s Tongue. Front man, Michael Poulsen asked the crowd to sing along. I think some of them need to brush up in their knowledge of the Man In Black.

A special guest joined them on stage a few songs later to lend his vocal support on Evelyn. Barney Greenway from Napalm Death helped with the vocal chores. Personally, I wish he hadn’t but the crowd around me seemed to enjoy it.

Volbeat’s ten song set drew to a thunderous climax with Seal The Deal (plus some added Back In Black) and Still Counting.

One criticism of an otherwise awesome set – don’t encourage crowd surfing please guys. Having previously been badly kicked by a flailing crowd surfer, it’s not funny to those underneath.

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Finally, the lights dimmed for the final time, the stage lit up as the intro played. Spotlights flashed out over the capacity crowd and Alter Bridge took to the stage, opening their set with The Writing On The Wall. Awesome choice from The Last Hero to open proceedings.

This was followed by Come To Life and Farther Than The Sun.

All four members of the band were on fire! From my position on the rail, the sound was incredible. Myles was certainly in fine voice!

I was relieved that Ghosts Of Days Gone By was still on the set. It’s one of my personal favourites. Love it!

The seventeen song set was a pretty fair mix of old and new anthems. Four songs from The Last Hero were spread throughout the ninety minute set.

Waters Rising was one of the highlights of the night. Mark Tremonti’s confidence as a vocalist has noticeably increased following his recent runs with Tremonti. At the end of the song, he passed the PRS guitar that he had just played to a young boy down at the front, citing him as the future of rock n roll.

Crows On A Wire followed. This is a monster of a song and is sure to remain on the standard set for a long time to come. Eargasmic!

Then it was time to slow things down for a moment or two. Myles appeared with his acoustic guitar and we all knew what was coming. It was the eve of his birthday and the fans were keen to see him celebrate, even if he confessed to not looking forward to being a year older (For the record, he’s 47)

Watch Over You is a truly beautiful ballad. I love this one. It’s a very emotional song and I think its close to the heart of every Alter Bridge fan. Beautiful crystal clear vocals from Myles. Stunning!

Two songs later the emotions were running high again as the boys played the iconic Blackbird. Incredible!  The solos in this one were amazing. Wow…that’s all..WOW!

Two old favourites rounded off the main body of the set – Metalingus and Open Your Eyes.

It’s worth commenting on the spectacular lighting and impressive screen that dominated the back of the stage. This has to be one of the most colourful shows I’ve been to. By the end of the night, the psychedelic  screen was a bit over powering but that’s perhaps just me.

After a few moments Alter Bridge returned for their two song encore. Show Me A Leader was first then all too swiftly followed by standard set closer Rise Today.

With a few final waves and bows, flicked picks (Yes, Myles tossed one to me!) and hurled drum sticks that was it. Over. Done.

Roll on Dec 1st when I get to do it all again in Glasgow’s SSE Hydro.

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An Evening With Black Stone Cherry:The Kentucky Experience

For the third time in a week I boarded the 5:25 to Glasgow on Friday evening. This time I had a new chaperone – Little Miss Green Tea.

We were scheduled to rendezvous with Boy Child and FB Son at the venue.

Our destination this time was the city’s Royal Concert Hall. We were heading out to enjoy An Evening With Black Stone Cherry: The Kentucky Experience. (Yes, I know I saw them last Friday night too).

Having been found by the boys in the venue’s café (coffee was required), we made the obligatory pilgrimage to the merchandise stall then took our seats – yes, seats all round for this show.

Black Stone Cherry had promised something special and seeing the stage all set up with stools, rugs and occasional tables, I knew instantly what it was.

The first half of the show was an acoustic set! (Those boys really have spoiled their Scottish fans this week)

The show opened with In Our Dreams which much to my surprise really leant itself to an acoustic arrangement. It was followed by Hell And High Water and Like I Roll. Seeing those four boys from Kentucky sitting on stage relaxed and having fun with these songs was a joy to behold!

Whether in an electric or an acoustic setting the next two songs are probably the most powerfully emotional songs that Chris Robertson sings. His heartfelt vocals during The Rambler had the hairs on the back of my neck tingling. Things My Father Said had a tear in every eye in the room. Two breathtakingly beautiful songs.

Stay and Big City Lights followed with Chris encouraging the audience to sing along, especially on Big City Lights.

To close the acoustic set off Chris asked everyone to get on their feet for All I’m Dreamin’ Of.

Acoustic Black Stone Cherry were better than I could ever have dreamed of!

After a thirty minute interval- yes, an interval mid-rock show – things got a little louder in the Royal Concert Hall.

With the stage set up in its usual format plus fairy lights across John Fred’s drum riser, Chris yelled for everyone to get on their feet as Black Stone Cherry launched into the second longer half of the show with Devil’s Queen. Awesome set opener and, with a bigger stage than in The Cathouse last week, even more energetic! Does Ben Wells ever stand still? His energy is rubbing off on Jon Lawhon who was bounding about almost as energetically! Devil’s Queen was swiftly followed by Soul Machine that had everyone in the room singing “S O U L” in fine voice. An amazing cover of Bad To The Bone followed.

Darkest Secret from the latest album Kentucky is a recent addition to the set but it’s a monster of song played live. Love it! This was followed by one of my favourites Killing Floor.

Black Stone Cherry were certainly killing it!

The Glasgow choir were in fine voice during White Trash Millionaire and Me and Mary Jane. There was definitely “a thing goin’ on” here!

Another of my favourites made the set a couple of songs later – In My Blood. Awesome!

A thunderous performance of Blind Man led us into John Fred Young’s drum solo. His display was as high energy as ever with the addition of some harmonica. Awesome stuff!

Having certainly been “Shakin’ My Cage” the main set ended with the best performance I’ve seen from these boys of Blame It On The Boom Boom.

Twenty four songs in and these boys weren’t done yet.

The evening had been made all the more special by the fact it was Ben Wells’ 31st birthday and I’m pretty confident that Glasgow ensure it was one he’ll remember for a while.

The kinship and friendship of the guys shines through as bright as the musical talent in display. Maybe I’m a little biased  but each and every one of them is amazing.

As every Black Stone Cherry fan knows, a show always ends with Lonely Train and this one was no exception. The fans’ singing almost raised the roof off the Royal Concert Hall.

After blasting out Ace Of Spades our Kentucky Experience was at an end.

Judging by the smiles on Little Miss Green Tea’s face, I think I’ve found a convert, someone else who can now say that Black Stone Cherry are “In My Blood.”

Hurry back boys, we miss you already!

 

(images sourced from Facebook & Google – credits to the owners)

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Brian Fallon and the Crowes at the O2 ABC, Glasgow 22Nov16

For the second time in a week I boarded the 5:25 to Glasgow, once again chaperoned by Boy Child.

So where were we off to on a chilly Tuesday evening?

Our destination was my favourite venue, the O2 ABC and we were heading there to see Brian Fallon and the Crowes.

It’s been just over six months since we last saw Brian Fallon play live and, even though he’d publicly said there would be no new tunes played this time, we were both keen to see him play again.

First on the bill was an act called Dead Swords. A lone druid-like figure stepped out on stage. Well, a tall familiar  looking figure in jeans and a hoodie with the hood up stepped out on stage. His short set was an interesting listening experience. My first experience of “shoegazer” music. It’s most definitely music for musicians and it pains me to say it left me cold. There was a short debate between Boy Child and I about “who is that guy?” I’m claiming the win…I recognised Alex Rosamilia (Gaslight Anthem and Brian Fallon and the Crowes) Dead Swords ambient style was easy on the ears. Alex is easy on the eye!

Next up was Chris Farren. Judging by the size of the pedal board on the stage, I suspected we were in for more “shoe gazing”.  This bundle of energy bounced onto the stage in the form of Chris Farren and delivered one of the quirkiest sets I’ve ever heard. His Facebook profile describes his genre as “slacker pop”…whatever that is!

Chris Farren has a unique approach to a set and his forty minute slot was highly entertaining. To me, it was largely more indie rock/pop. Light, with a hunt of punk, fun and easy to listen to. At times it felt a little tongue in cheek, especially when he played his own rapturous applause effects! Loved it! There were a few more poignant moments among the frivolity and he even threw in a Christmas song or two, much to the growing crowd’s amusement.

I’m not sure if  would go back to see Chris Farren perform a longer set (he is very cute in an Orlando Bloom kind of way)  but I may well be tempted to check out his new album Can’t Die.

Shortly after 9pm, Brian Fallon and the Crowes (including Alex Rosamilia and Jared Hart) took to the stage, opening their eighty minute set with Painkillers. Great set opener and the Glasgow choir were swiftly in fine voice.

Once again it was a delight to watch Brian Fallon relaxed and smiling on stage, enjoying some casual banter with members of the crowd.

As before the set was made up of a mix of music from the various projects he’s been involved in . We were treated to a fantastic version of Red Lights, originally a Molly and the Zombies song prior to its appearance on Painkillers.

Mid set Brian’s acoustic guitar made an appearance as he played two of my favourite tracks from Painkillers – the gorgeous Honey Magnolia and the incredible Steve McQueen. Love love love that song!

Two songs later Brian had another treat in store for the Scottish fans. When we saw him back in April, there were no Gaslight Anthem songs on the set list at all. Tonight there was one – The Navesink Banks- stunning song! Hearing it played live was breath taking. Seeing the smile on Boy Child’s face (its one of his absolute favourites) was heart warming. Perfect addition to the set.

From there on in Brian Fallon and the Crowes started to build on the tempo and the energy in the room. One of the highlights to the latter part of the set for me was Mojo Hand. Back in April we saw the live premiere performance of this one. (It’s a close second to Steve McQueen in order of preference for me.) This performance seemed a little more self-assured. More rounded. Loved it!

It was promptly followed by Rosemary then a trio of Horrible Crowes songs (Mary Ann, Crush and Behold The Hurricane) then the fantastic A Wonderful Life from Painkillers.

Brian Fallon makes it quite clear that he doesn’t waste time with encores. He does however round the evening off by bringing Jared Hart to the fore. The eighteen song set closed with them dueting in Linoleum, an NOFX cover. Perfect end to an entertaining evening.

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A Birthday Party – Black Stone Cherry Style

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Last Friday night, chaperoned by Boy Child, I boarded the 525 to Glasgow, heading towards something just a little bit special.

When I first heard about this particular show, I thought I didn’t stand a snowball’s hope in Hell of getting tickets. However, the music gods were shining on me and I got two tickets at my first attempt.

So where were Boy Child and I headed?

Our destination was The Cathouse for a Nordoff Robbins Scotland charity show. There was only one band on the bill – Black Stone Cherry.

We arrived in Glasgow to find the Central Station crowded with singing, beer toting, football fans. They were in fine voice!

Almost an hour before door’s open, we joined a growing queue. (By seven o’clock I suspect Boy Child was quietly regretting his decision not to wear a hoodie. It was freezing!)

Our early arrival paid off though as we secured a spot right on the barrier.

Then we waited..and waited..and waited.

The rock music blasting through the PA kept the fans entertained but by nine o’clock the packed room was growing restless. Boy Child and I had been kept amused by a large fan who had tried to muscle his way into my spot on the rail. He had even leaned in and asked me to “make room for a fat boy.” Let’s just say I declined politely. He then proceeded to push and lean on both me and Boy Child. We stood our ground calmly and after an hour or so he finally got the hint and moved off into the crowd.

Activity out on stage signalled the imminent arrival of Black Stone Cherry.

First out on stage however was the nightclub owner and chairman of Nordoff Robbins Scotland, Donald MacLeod. Looking resplendent in a velvet frock coat, he welcomed everyone to The Cathouse’s 26th Birthday Party show in aid of the music charity.

Without further ado, Black Stone Cherry took to the tiny stage.

Devil’s Queen followed by Soul Machine opened the show. Instantly the room was alive. Every fan in the room (roughly 750 of them) knew every word and were singing them with all their heart. Those football fans from a few hours earlier could learn a thing or two from a room full of Black Stone Cherry fans!

Any concerns that the set might not have been as energetic as usual due to lack of space were quickly dismissed as Ben Wells bounced about the stage, high kicking as crazily as ever. Where does that boy get his energy from?

Being less than three feet from the stage was an incredible experience. First time I’ve had to duck as the musician on stage leaned out into the crowd, for fear of being whacked by a headstock.

Chris Robertson explained that they just intended to have a bit a fun and play what they felt like playing. The intimate crowd were treated to very special set list that spanned all five of their albums but focussed more on the older material.

We were treated to a rare performance of Please Come In. We also got two premiere live performances of songs from Black Stone Cherry’s last album Kentucky.

The first of these early in the set was Darkest Secret. That’s one awesome song played live! Those boys from Kentucky almost raised the roof off The Cathouse with it and most definitely rocked the room to the rafters!

Mid-set John Fred Young took control of proceedings and put on a mighty fine display of drumming. I may have precious little by way of a sense of rhythm but I could watch him play all night! He had the entire room in the palm of his hands.

The arrival of a tall stool on stage next meant only one thing. It was time to slow things down a bit. Chris made the fans promise to truly listen to the words, explaining that the song means “the absolute world to us.” He delivered a faultless, heartfelt rendition of The Rambler. I love this song and, if you haven’t listened to it, please do. The Glasgow choir sang along passionately, pouring their hearts into the lyrics. Simply wonderful.

When the song was over Chris offered to do a second acoustic song and gave the fans a couple of options. Big City Light won the vote. Another rare performance of a stunning song. Ben’s playing throughout was flawless, proving that he can slow it down and still play with as much passion.

How to follow that? Black Stone Cherry followed it with the premiere live performance of Shakin’ My Cage, another track from Kentucky. In front of me bassist, Jon Lawhon, was head banging, lost in the music as he thundered through the bass track. Ben was soon over at that side of the  stage as they traded places. He stood right in front of me, legs apart, head nodding. Awesome site and an awesome song!

All good things have to come to an end and the four boys from Kentucky were sadly soon playing standard set closer Lonely Train.

They still had a little something up their sleeves though.

Lonely Train reached its destination and was swiftly followed by a mighty rendition of Ace Of Spades.

The fans were lapping it up!

Donald MacLeod returned to the stage accompanied by a pretty girl carrying a birthday cake. He led the room in a rousing sing along of Happy Birthday and allowed the Black Stone Cherry boys to blow out the candles (and pinch the cake.)

Just as the audience and some of the crew thought it had all come to an end, Chris stepped up to the mic and declared that they’d missed a song off the set list. Cue frantic lead plugging in by the hard working crew and the Glasgow fans were treated to one final song- In My Blood. One of my personal favourites. Perfect way to end the night.

Boy Child was fortunate enough to be passed a drumstick by John Fred Young, the icing on the cake for him.

Safe to say Black Stone Cherry is In My Blood.

Roll on next Friday when they return to play Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall.

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Alter Bridge – The Last Hero

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Some albums come along once in a blue moon that are like a fine wine. They need to be opened and allowed to breathe before you can truly appreciate them at their best.

Alter Bridge’s fifth studio album, The Last Hero, is one such record. Released on 7 October via Napalm Records, this is a monster of a listen. It’s not for the faint hearted.

I’ve delayed writing it up to allow time to appreciate and unravel its many layers and underlying themes. Ten days down the line and countless listens later, I’m still hearing something new every time I play it.

The Last Hero loosely explores the theme of heroism but is by no means a concept album. The four members of Alter Bridge have all spent time over the last three years exploring side projects, like Tremonti and Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, and it’s the learnings from these that are brought to the fore here.

Opening track Show Me A Leader get things off to a bold start. There’s no denying the dig at the current political situation within the USA in this one.

“Well they’re selling another messiah here tonight but we’re all divided to buy it.”

The radio edit if this single is perhaps best avoided as it doesn’t include the stunning guitar intro that runs to over a minute in length. There’s an air of unease/a hint of darkness being created from the off.

The Writing On The Wall moves the listener’s thoughts to climate change and global warming. Love the military vibe to the snares in Scott Phillips’ drumming. This track is heavy. This track is majestically dark.

Third track, The Other Side, continues the dark heavy brooding journey. Is this record going to be even darker than the superb AB III? This song wouldn’t have been out of place on either of Mark Tremonti’s more recent solo project albums, Cauterize and Dust.

“Time for you to meet your maker playing God tonight.”

The long lost sibling track of Words Darker Than Their Wings perhaps? One of my personal favourites.

My Champion lifts the mood for a few minutes. The intro reminds me of a mix of The Who (think Baba O’Riley) meets vintage ACDC. Inspirational. Upbeat. Straight from the heart.

“Let this be your victory song. A song for you when I am gone. Reminding you of what you’re meant to be.” Love it!

There are thirteen tracks on this record, fourteen on the deluxe edition, and I could go on at length about each and every one of them. No less than six of the thirteen exceed the five minute mark but none of them feel a second too long.

Cradle To The Grave is a monster of a track that exceeds the five minutes. It’s haunting. It’s a heavy, dark, intense listen but with subtle lighter moments.

“All these memories start to fade before me. I cannot let them go.”

Hints of Ghosts Of Days Gone By in the background. Another strong chorus and personally I can’t wait to hear this one played live when Alter Bridge tour the UK and Europe later this year. (A premiere in Nottingham or Glasgow would be nice…hint..hint.)

This Side Of Fate, track eight, lures the listener into its depths with a beautifully picked intro. This is the longest track on the record and is of epic proportions. It’s Myles at his soaring vocal best. The first section has more than a hint of blues before the full force of Alter Bridge seals the listener’s fate. Stunning track!

Like all Alter Bridge records, there’s a gorgeous ballad tucked away amidst the darkness. You Will Be Remembered is this album’s hidden gem. It’s dedicated to those who have served and sacrificed their lives but I can’t help but wonder if it has a more personal meaning too.

“I wrote these words to tell you all the things I should’ve said so long ago. So Long ago. Know that I am grateful. I will not forget or let your memory go. No I won’t. I’ve waited way too long.”

Gorgeous power ballad.

For a showcase of Myles’ vocal talents, Crows On A Wire is the   track to watch out for. Again the air is dark and menacing. Mark Tremonti displays his thunderous guitar talents to perfection. Great heavy riff.

“Cause they’re waiting just like crows on a wire to pry and conspire. That’s all they do.”

The Alter Bridge team have conspired to come up with a mammoth listen here. Awesome track.

Title track, The Last Hero, brings proceedings to an end on the standard version of the record. They’ve thrown everything into this heart and soul. This track showcases Scott Phillips at his finest but there’s not a weak moment from any of them on this one. This track brings things to a soaring conclusion.

Much as I loved 2013’s Fortress, I personally feel that The Last Hero has raised the bar even higher. It’s a welcome return to the dark side of AB III while it has built on the majesty of Fortress. Mike “Elvis” Baskette has done  a fantastic job on the production here, teasing the best out of all four members of the band. Is this their magnum opus? Personally, I’m pretty sure there’s even more to come from the souls of Alter Bridge.

Is this the album of 2016? Quite possibly. It’s certainly top of my list so far this year.

 

10/10

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images sourced via Google

Credits to the owners

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Blackberry Smoke – Like An Arrow

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Atlanta’s finest, Blackberry Smoke, are back in town with a new album, Like An Arrow.

Recorded and mixed by Billy Joe Bowers at The Quarry Recording Studio in Kenneshaw, Georgia, Like An Arrow is the band’s fifth album. This time around Blackberry Smoke produced it themselves as frontman Charlie Starr explains, “This album is the self-produced culmination of fifteen years of trying to plant our flag in the musical landscape. We couldn’t be more proud of it!”

And so they should be!

Released on 14th October via Earache Records, Like An Arrow brings us twelve new songs- well, eleven new ones and one that may be familiar if you are a regular at a show.

Waiting For The Thunder, the first single released from the record, opens proceedings. This song is instantly recognisable as Blackberry Smoke but its harder and heavier than their normal offerings. Brandon Still get to shine with a stunning organ solo that’s swiftly followed by a sweltering guitar solo from Paul Jackson. Thunderous opener!

Let It Burn changes the vibe and tempo. It’s back to their country/honky tonk bar roots with this toe tapping tune. “I can’t be sentimental when it don’t mean nothing to me.” This one obviously means a lot. Love it!

Track three, The Good Life, slows things down a little. There’s a reflective air to this track. Lovely easy drums (I want to say “lazy” but that sounds rude) from Brit Turner. Love the heartfelt vocals from Charlie Starr. “Don’t let the good life pass you by.” No chance! Beautiful song.

This reflective mood continues a couple of tracks later in Running Through Time. There’s echoes of The Eagles in this one as Charlie sings about the changes a guy faces with aging and looking back to his younger self. Gorgeous guitar work in the background. Love the line “He’ll kick like a mule at the thought of being told what to do.”

Title track Like An Arrow follows and returns to a heavier rock feel. “Like an arrow we will fly. Some stay low and some get high.” Yes, I’m sure they do. Great track!

One not quite so new song makes its appearance a couple of tracks later. Sunrise In Texas has appeared in Blackberry Smoke’s live set on and off over the years. As Charlie admits, “That song is like Big Foot for the band- it would show up now and again then disappear for a while.” Don’t let it out of your sight again, boys! Love this sleepy, end of the day tune.

Believe You Me adds another dimension to proceedings. It adds a bit of 1970’s funk- think James Brown or perhaps The Bee Gees. It’s catchy. It’s fun and it makes you want to dance. Sure to be a hit when played live.

Like An Arrow concludes with something a little bit special. Greg Allman of Allman Brothers Band fame has long been a huge influence on Blackberry Smoke and he guests on the final track, Free On The Wing. This is a truly stunning song to end with. Lyrically its Charlie Starr at his finest. The introduction of the mandolin adds that little je ne sais quoi. Beautiful song. “One love story’s over and another’s just begun.”

It sure has!

Blackberry Smoke had hit the bullseye Like An Arrow with this album!

 

10/10

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Massive Night In The Cathouse

With the autumn sun shining, I boarded the 5:25 to Glasgow last Monday, heading for a night in The Cathouse.

A couple of stops further up the track my rock chick friend joined me, looking the part in her ACDC hoodie.

When we reached Glasgow we met up with two fellow “Aussie rock” fans, put the world to rights over a coffee then headed across to the venue in time for doors opening.

Who were we gathered to see?

Well, we were all convened in The Cathouse to experience the Aussie Wrecking Crew Tour 2016, featuring three of Australia’s finest bands. From the selection of T-shirts on display around the room, the diehard fans had arrived early.

The first band on stage however were a Glasgow based band called All Suns Blazing. As Thumper says in the Disney classic Bambi, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”

Moving swiftly on….

Black Aces burst onto the small stage like a stick of dynamite. There’s a cliché that all Aussie bands sound like ACDC or Airborne wannabes. Front man, Tyler Kinder, has obviously been brought up with a healthy appreciation for both as he powers energetically through their thirty minute set. In true Joel O’Keeffe fashion, he leapt from the stage, leaving bass player Alex McMillan conducting the vocal chores, and ran through the small crowd, still playing his guitar, then bounded up onto the bar and continued to dazzle the crowd. Highly entertaining. One of the highlights of set was Take It To The Wire – and they most certainly did. Loved them!

Tequila Mockingbyrd (love that name), an all-girl trio, were up next. With their energetic punk influenced rock, these young ladies played an all too short thirty minute set. Estelle Artois (Yes, that’s her real name) shone throughout on vocals. Mz Lzzy Hale may have a rival for her rock queen crown! On bass, Jess Reilly bewitched the fans with her dancing. Does this girl ever stay still? Their set comprised of songs from their debut album Fight And Flight. At the back of the stage, in the shadows, Josie O’Toole did a blistering job on drums. Don’t be fooled by this petite little lady. She’s one powerful drummer! Not only did she dislodge the bass drum a few songs in but she also destroyed a snare drum towards the end of the set. She’s a real wee powerhouse! Highlights of their set for me were Money Tree, Everybody Down and Somebody Put Something In My Drink. Like our headline act, these girls have crowd funded their relocation from Australia to Europe so there was an air of poignancy when they played Never Go Home. 

Please don’t! We love you! Hurry back to headline your own show in Glasgow, girls!

Finally, the wait was over! Two years and three days since they first played Glasgow, Massive took to the stage to headline their first ever Scottish show.

With front man, Brad Marr, sporting a snazzy shimmering jacket, Massive launched into their hour long set with Up In Smoke, from their second album, Destination Somewhere.

The addition of Brendan Forward on guitar to the line up has created a different dynamic to the original line up from two years ago. He’s energetic, talented and in desperate need of a new pair of Converse! (It has to be said, bass player, Aidan McGarrigle, seemed to have lost his altogether!)

Massive’s set was made up from a fairly even split of songs from both their albums.

The drum kit continued to display a bit of attitude causing Jarrod Medwin to have to adjust its position a couple of times during the show.

The venue hadn’t filled up as I’d hoped but Massive played as though they were performing in front of twenty thousand fans instead of a couple of hundred.

Massive powered their way through songs like Lacey, Dancefloor and One By One. Frontman, Brad Marr nailed the vocals on every one. They even threw in some of Black Sabbath’s War Pigs for good measure.

I have to say it’s the first time I’ve been to a gig where a member of the crowd asked the band to “keep it going” until they went for a pee! And you know what? – Massive did! A bit of joke telling, some slow hand clapping and a few observations over the length of time it was taking. Brilliant moment filled with much hilarity.

Ghost was the highlight of the night for me. I absolutely adore this song and Brad had promised me that he would “rip it out live in Glasgow” for me. Well, he sure did! Awesome performance of a slightly different arrangement. Loved it!

The boys ended their set with Now Or Never. Blistering end to an amazing night of Aussie rock!

I really hope it is “now” for these guys because they deserve to be headlining shows to sell out crowds across the globe.

Safe travels, boys. Get that van fixed and hurry back to Glasgow!

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