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Thursday, 29 November 2018

The Music of Cream - 50th Anniversary Tour - 02 Kentish Town Forum, 26/11/18


Words by Annette Valentine
The sons of Cream are igniting the songs of the original super-group line up of Eric Clapton (guitarist singer), Ginger Baker (drums) and Jack Bruce (Bassist and singer songwriter) formed in 1966.   The sons, Will Johns, Eric’s nephew, Kofi Baker, Gingers son and Malcolm Bruce, Jacks son, are all artists in their own right.

The energetic soloists take to the stage at the 02 Forum Kentish Town, opening with rare footage on screens of their mentors and forefathers and blasted the audience with the polyrhythmic and psychedelic song Outside Woman Blues, sang by Will and next up, Politician by Malcolm. Badge, Sleepy Time Time and Deserted Cities of the Heart kept the Cream classics rolling, followed by the expected Strange Brew, with Will and Malcolm both singing full throttle.

A solo from Kofi, Pressed Rat and Warthog has him enveloped in light, cocooned as if in a time capsule with footage on screen of his dad drumming, with the trace of Ginger’s African travels filtering through the drum beat.

Maya, Malcolm’s daughter, makes a surprise performance singing Swlabr, showing the talent running through the family veins. The audience are riveted with Crossroads sang by Will and Born under a Bad Sign by Malcolm. The trio talk of personal memories and the legacy of keeping the music alive, which is a joy to listen to.

The crowd are electrified and if you close your eyes you would think you were back in the time, especially when Cream lyricist Pete Brown appears and sings White Room; what a treat.

Sitting on top of the World and Sweet Wine are almost transcendental by the force of nature breezing around the forum. Sunshine of your Love sang by Malcolm, Kofi and Pete is capturing the essence of Cream and the leaders that they were for bands like Led Zeppelin.

After an encore, the insatiable audience are treated to Spoonful with Malcolm singing , Kofi drumming and Will playing guitar, sprightly, superbly and brilliantly, bringing the music home.

Monday, 26 November 2018

The Dan Reed Network - The Venue Derby, 22/11/18



Words by Adrian Ball
The Venue in Derby is an unsung hero on the gig scene, attracting bands to this little corner of the city ranging from local heroes The Beyond to The Struts.

Tonight it's the turn of The Dan Reed Network who has risen like a phoenix to once again be producing great music and rocking the foundations of the live music scene with their funk inspired performances.

In support is Hollowstar who are a young and upcoming band making great waves on the rock scene.  A good sized crowd watch as they put in a performance  that would be well suited to a bigger venue. This band is set to launch to a higher level and are certainly impressing this crowd.

Next, new rockers Mason Hill are delivering a stunning and melodic performance that’s catching the ears and eyes of the audience. They’re no doubt gaining some new fans this evening on top of their already established following.  It’s great to see Guitarist James Bird give a shout out to his nan too.  
Short sets for both opening bands but they’re rocking hard and delivering way above their position on the line-up and will surely progress to headlining on their own tours very soon.

Dan Reed and the band are making their way from the back of the audience to the side stage full of smiles and high-fiving a few of the crowd en-route.  The lights dim and the band begin to appear one-by-one on stage with the biggest cheer saved for Dan Reed himself.  Launching into Rock You All Night Long and immediately heads are bobbing and hips are swaying.  It’s amazing to see that the soul and passion to perform is strong and these talented musicians are sharing it with the crowd  Under My Skin and Doin' the Love Thing receive loud cheers and nods of approval from the people who are lapping up every morsel of this funk-rock fusion.  We never want a good night to end, but inevitably it does and the band leaves the stage having gained new fans and reminding audiences of what they do best.

Friday, 23 November 2018

Wille & The Bandits - 'Paths'



Cornish blues-rockers Wille & The Bandits have asserted their original style of acclaimed ‘Acid World Rock’, taking a sonic approach that expands beyond the expected.
Their latest release Paths is a mix of modern themes and soft-focused memoires of better times. The soundscape mirrors the diversity of the instruments (including cello, Hammond organ, udu and djembe drums) and the genres, that combine rock ‘n’ roll with world, dance and hip-hop.
Opener One Way tackles questionable foreign policies with a bottleneck guitar, creating an anthemic vibe, then Make Love takes things from the on-trend Indie rocker sound to give a far bluesier feel, conjuring images of watching some local RnB stalwarts in an intimate dive bar.
Victim of the Night brings the groove, while Chakra tackles environmental issues and the beautiful tribute to Chris Cornell following Lead Vocalist Wille’s personal emotion after losing his favourite singer, How Long talks about depression.
The lyrical subjects diversify further with Watch You Grow; a story about Wille’s journey of becoming a father and Four Million Days showcases honed song writing skills, huge choruses and even bigger vocals, stunningly brought together by a perfect string arrangement.
Whatever your mood, there’s no need to trawl through your song collection if you own this album; it really is something for everyone. Each track comes from true experience and straight from the heart and is testament to a band that is pushing its own limits and making it work.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Doomsday Outlaw - 'Suffer More'


Words by Mark Williams
Like your music on the southern rock side with a bluesy-melodic-funky soul groove and crushing riffs? Yes? You may want to give this, the re-issued second album (originally released in May 2016) from Derby based rockers Doomsday Outlaw a spin.

This album was the first to feature vocalist Phil Poole, and my, what a debut it is. A fine pair of lungs the guy has, a great bluesy voice sprinkled with a pinch of soul. Names like Glenn Hughes, Ian Gillan, and Chris Cornell spring to mind.

Value for money here too, 15 tracks in all, and not a filler in sight. Bass player Indy Chanda has said the band that he would most like to emulate is Black Stone Cherry, and the evidence is right here. Walk on WaterJericho Cane and Tale of a Broken Man certainly invoke that vibe, along with a toe in the Black Label Society territory.

Some crushing bass grooves on show here, particularly on the ear-worm of a track Fallback and the funky soul-tinged I’ve been Found.

Track Pandemonium pretty much describes this 52 seconds of mayhem, very much along the lines of Guns’n’Roses Garden of Eden/

The southern rock angle gets a good airing courtesy of Bring You Pain and Blues for a Phantom Limb, the former also giving a hefty nod towards The Faces.

Running Into You shows a softer side; a beautiful ballad with wonderfully soaring vocals.

Showcasing the bands’ diversity, we take a trip to Alice in Chains territory in Wait Until Tomorrow complete with the appropriate doom-laden chords.

The band has been gaining critical acclaim and this album is an accomplished offering, dripping with class. Give it a listen and you may work out why for yourself.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Rainbreakers, Flowerpot Derby - 11/10/18


Photo credit: Haluk Gurer

Words by Adrian Ball
The Flower Pot in Derby is a gem in the Midlands gigging scenes’ crown and over the years has seen many great names grace the stage along with supporting new acts like Inglorious and Kris Barras recently.  Tonight it’s the turn of the Rainbreakers who are out on the road promoting their stunning debut album Face to Face

The plentiful crowd enjoy a bluesy set from Andy Crowe before the headliners make their way to the stage, prompting a mass shuffle to get a closer look, only adding to the cosy intimate feel.  Hitting the stage and making a great statement of what’s to come, the band launch into Lay It On Me and then take us on a guided tour of the rest of the new album.  Charlie (lead guitar) is mesmerising and shows what a talented young player he is; the reverberating sound of his guitar against the vocal from Ben Edwards makes for a set highlighting the amazing talents on display here.  

The show progresses beautifully through new and old(er) songs, before ending with the impeccably put together Heavy Soul which tonight sounds extra heavy in its delivery.  Chants galore for an encore and the band are happy to grace the stage again, culminating in a glorious night for live music.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Glenn Hughes performs Deep Purple - O2 Academy Bristol, 02/10/18



Glenn Hughes, legendary bass player and co-frontman with Deep Purple at their 1970s height, performs their classics live for the first time in 40 years.

It's kicking off at the O2 Academy in Bristol tonight and Laurence Jones, labelled 'the future of blues' who is warming things up seems every bit the master.

In shades with slick short hair, the epitome of cool, he is easily keeping the crowd's attention with renditions of Hendrix's All Along The Watchtower and CCR's Fortunate Son being lapped up by the second. He's blending (quite literally) songs from his latest album The Truth album with classics like this, giving instant goosebumps moments. 
The clean cut illusion of Laurence is ousted when he starts playing his guitar with his teeth - how very rock 'n' roll of you young man. It's fantastic.

When Glenn and his band including Jesper Bo Hansen (Hammond organ) and Soren Andersen (guitar) hit the stage they start with Stormbringer and everything instantly seems to slot into place - we are watching a Deep Purple show for real here. 

Glenn is a self-professed chatterbox but to hear his stories should be relished. He tells of his love for Tommy Bolin and how they were like brothers; now Glenn along with the guys on this stage seem like a close-knit family that are able to read each other's minds musically.  
Jesper rocks the Hammond organ like you never thought possible, making it sound like a fictional, space-age machine. At times, it's like a distant cousin of Glenn's bass sound, and with Soren's gritty solos and finger-smokingly fast fret work, the thunderous roots of this combination are threatening to tear up the floor. 

The classics are on tap with High Ball Shooter, Mistreated and the finale that is Burn. This show is a pleasure from start to finish and everything a fan could want from a DP show. Glenn has such genuine gratitude and that combined with his mind blowing vocal range, it makes you ponder how more shows should be just like this. 

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Planet Rock Presents: The Bad Flowers and Federal Charm - Birmingham 02 Institute, 29/02/18



Words by Adrian Ball
Photo credit: Olivia Johnston 

Planet Rock Presents Federal Charm and The Bad Flowers show has rolled into Birmingham 02 Institute tonight with a crowd buzzing in anticipation of a glorious night of rock ‘n’ roll.

A dry autumn night for the penultimate show of the tour, with the latter closing out the nights festivities in what is practically a home town gig for the Cannock rockers.  

Those Damn Crows open up the evening and their incredibly catchy brand of rock kick starts the audience into action.  A musically tight outfit that are sure to rise through the ranks based on tonight's performance.  Keep a look out for the album release in early Oct.

Federal Charm arrive on stage and immediately kick out Swing Sinner, setting the bar high from the outset and the crowd lap up every morsel of this rock feast.  The guys are smartly dress and are delivering classy songs one after the other, they have a stunning new album on offer and the live performance takes this up by a massive scale.  Tom Guyer (vocals) has a great set of pipes that blast through the rafters and with Paul Bowe on guitar, the band has the audience in the palm of their hands.  Tracks from the new album make for a shining set list but they pull out a few older tracks and end on a high with Gotta Give it Up from their self-titled debut album.  This is a band set for a higher plain and it’s well deserved on this performance alone.

The audience is building up the anticipation again as The Bad Flowers stroll out and prepare to rock the joint some more.  The set list is built to entertain and engage from the opening Hurricane all the way through to Planet Rock favourite Thunder Child.  The band is receiving rapturous applause at every interval as the audience continues to submerge themselves in the show.  The band are well loved and this shows from the reaction of every person in attendance.  
The show closes and both Federal Charm and The Bad Flowers make their way to the merch stands to meet the fans; surely every gig should be like this.