After what seems like eons Stone Broken return to Scotland with a mini tour being part of their Home tour. Time to see what a difference touring the states and Europe has made to the band.
Although I was always going to be at this show with the additional two bands added to the bill this was bang for your buck and guaranteed an excellent night of music.
Those Damn Crows were up first to allow the local lads second billing but I can tell you right now these Welsh boys are headliners. I first caught them live last year on another cracking three band bill and I was instantly won over. They kicked off straight into “Don’t Give a Damn” with the killer riffs and singer Shane Greenhall smiling his head off. This song goes straight for the throat, rips the head off and digs its talons into your heart.
They slow the tempo down on “Someone Someday” and bassist Lloyd Wood takes the drop in tempo to get to the front of the stage and get his mug onto every camera lens possible. This song has a real Scottish feel to it and up here you will get comparisons with the band Hunter and the Bear. Both bands are very talented and both can rock the shit out of an audience.
“Fear of the Dead” is much heavier and the band have the audience on their side already and for the people who had not seen them they were the talk(and the find) of the night. With three bands on and a venue curfew the set was short but the boys were making sure they left an impression as they powered through “Breakaway” and set closer and all round rock anthem in “Rock’n’Roll Ain’t Dead”.
This song is a powerhouse and something that harks back to the MTV era stadium fillers. With its sing along piece the band got everyone up for the night and when they left the stage it was a buzz of conversations on how much ass they kicked.
The local lads who were main support tonight were the well known Anchor Lane. A perfect fit for the headliners and a band that is very much loved in this town. Like Stone Broken they had a hell of a year in 2018 so it was time to kick of 2019 in style. They are supporting in all three Scottish shows so the love is being spread far and wide.
I have lost count of the amount of times I have seen these boys live but there is no chance of getting bored as their set list is constantly changing and it seems as if they are constantly writing new material which is where opener “Found out” comes in. With only one EP to their name you could expect them to play that in full as we know it inside out but not a chance of that…they want to keep us on our toes.
We do get a well known moment as the riff from “Annie” starts and we get to sing a bit, especially in the breakdown inclusion of Queen’s We Will Rock You which sees Conor in the pit encouraging the fans to sing(it is a Saturday and there has been some libations consumed already so you do not need to worry about this).
Anchor Lane remind me a lot of Stone Broken, both bands blew me away the first time I saw them, both of them have a real desire to make it and both are crammed with talent. I can also say that every time I catch both bands live they have improved.
Tonight we got to hear the outcome of working with a bit of a Glaswegian legend in Ricky Warwick. The boys worked with him last year and from the first hearing of “Dead Run” I know it is a surefire winner. This really has whetted my appetite for their debut album which they will be recording in Bristol next month. There is a huge anticipation for the album here and with the huge steps they have taken since recording the debut EP it should be the springboard they need to the next step up that ladder.
The boys finished up with another sing song with a version of “Flower of Scotland” which may have been a bit half hearted after the rugby team were beaten that day.
What a difference a year makes, you just need to look at the stage to know that. The risers, huge backdrop, banners, lights and the smoke machines but Stone Broken were never about the gimmicks, it is all about the music but they understand what it takes to make a full show now. They learned from a master as they toured the states with Fozzy and I really was hoping Rich would take to the stage with a light up jacket but alas, we don’t always get what we want.
The packed hall gave a massive cheer as first Robyn, then the rest of the band took the stage and dived into “Stay All Night”. Kick of with an old favourite and the fans are already in a good place. They followed up with “Doesn’t Matter” from the successful second album “Ain’t Always Easy”. The new songs slot in so well as we have heard them live for so long we cannot even call them new now.
Third up is the song “Heartbeat Away” which focused on abuse showing the band are not scared to approach tricky subjects and it also focuses on how good this band are as song writers. This song screams of personal knowledge so it means even more that they can stand there and play it night after night.
After shooting the first three songs I go up to the balcony to get a few extra shots and I put my camera down and take in the scene below me. There is a sea of people below and I think back to the band’s first Glasgow show which had 30 people present if you were lucky.
This is no Greta Van Fleet story but what it is is a sign to all other bands out there that hard work pays off. I cannot name a band more dedicated than Stone Broken. I honestly had a proud dad moment up there and there may have been a little sparkle in my eye that needed wiped away.
A huge part of their success is via word of mouth and the fact if you meet the band you will not come into contact with a nicer bunch if you tried. Back at that first gig they didn’t have to hang around for long after their show to say hello but now the merch stand is packed with people desperate to say hello and all free of charge as this band know how to do it, they know how to give back what they have received and they truly do love to meet people.
This set is so more polished, so much tighter and tenfold better in professionalism. Robyn is still sheer dynamite at the back, she still has that smile from ear to ear. Kieron now has space on a stage to make sure every corner of the audience sees him and Chris does his metal ballerina dance across the stage as he blasts out riff after riff.
That leaves Rich up front and he could always command a crowd but now he finally believes he can. From the moments he put down the guitar and took to the keyboard to the point where he stood alone, with just an acoustic and started off the bands most popular song of “Wait for you” it is clear how this focused young man has grown.
This is the best I have seen Stone Broken to date but I say that after ever gig I witness but its more than that. In this tough world of the music business this band have taken on the challenge and now stand before us as Icons, theres is a model that all new bands can look to and know it can work, that they too can break through and as much as we have to thank them for the music it is their story that is inspiring.
Images and words Ritchie Birnie