What better way to kick start a weekend with a Friday night jaunt over to Gravesend to one of the best rock / music pubs ive visited in a long time. With its homely and very friendly atmosphere, the walls inside are adorned with signed pictures and prints of many artists and the whole vibe is a throw back in time to when music venues like this were spread all over the UK sadly now in demise pubs like the RED LION need to be supported more than ever. So from the main bar its through a side door into a small hall with fully stocked bar and a built in stage with a capacity I would guess at around 200 or there about’s.
First act is “GORILLA RIOT” this wonderful and highly entertaining 5 piece from Manchester fronted by the energetic “Arjun Bhishma” all decked out in fancy hat and guitar slung over shoulder. With a nod and a wink to deep southern rock along with more traditional sounding 70s era rock n roll, they have a everything rolled into one and more importantly they have a 3 pronged guitar sound with plenty of slide guitar added just to give it a added twist, So impressed with the end result it was a no brainer to visit the merchandise stall and pick up a CD and after playing it at home I can happily state that what I saw on stage has been replicated in the studio and was well worth the £5.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6QckvYqDPk&w=560&h=315]
Next Up was a band that I have seen on a few occasions and they really do seem to be getting better and better. If anyone tunes into PLANET ROCK radio then they would have heard “Midnight Queen” by “COLLATERAL” the song seems to have sent this 4 piece on their way to bigger and better things.
Fronted by ANGELO on vocals and acoustic guitar, Todd Winger Guitar, Jack on Bass, and the ever smiling Ben Atkinson drums. What collateral have as a group is the full package, they have the looks they have the stage craft and most importantly they have the killer songs, songs such as “Going With The Wind” with fine back up vocals from Todd Winger, and the guitar heavy “Merry Go Round” which really ups the ante, with Jack in his own world head down slamming out a crushing bass line. Slowing the pace down is “Just Waiting For You” which I think is the best song off their debut EP (4 Shots) which slowly builds into a manic climax that in many ways has that BON JOVI “Dry County” feel to it
With a brief introduction to Todd on guitar who laps up the limelight and proceeds to shred the living daylights out of his trusty Guitar, if anyones attention was lost at this point with the solo then it was soon forgotten about with the arrival of THAT song “Midnight Queen” a song with a chorus thats so catchy its a great sight to see everyone singing along. I don’t know if its me but I have noticed that COLLATERAL seem to be getting more guitar heavy every time I catch them live. Tracks such as “Promised Land” and the cracking new single “Lullaby ” which again should prick the conscience of listening Radio stations. After tonights showing this band just keep getting stronger and stronger even with the Drummer Ben having a shitty dose of Flu it never stopped him or the rest of the group from blowing the roof off LEO’S RED LION.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79H8rrFsBoM&w=560&h=315]
BAD TOUCH tonight’s head liners hailing from Norfolk really are a band in a 1970’s time warp, with not only the image but some of the best blues /rock songs released from these shores in many a year. Lots of groups try to replicate that style of music but fail miserably, but with BAD TOUCH its in their DNA they just ooze the swagger and how can they go wrong with “Stevie Westwood” on vocals, with a mane of hair like a lion and a roar to match, tracks such as “Good On You” is a sure fire toe tapper which cleverly morphs into “ZZ TOPS” sharp dressed man, the ease to which this is done goes to show how well the band play alongside each other.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sik39lzVlz4&w=560&h=315]
The venue by this point was seriously packed to the rafters and no way was I going to get anywhere near the stage, its clearly obvious that the group may have outgrown the venue but such was the enthusiasm from Stevie he was announcing from the stage how much the group want to come back again.The touches of classic hey day ROLLING STONES and slow bluesy numbers just made me drift off into a world of shear heaven, Closing the set was one of their most catchy tracks 99% with a BLACK CROWES “Shake Your Money Maker” era vibe about it. These 5 lads who formed in 2010 have come such a long way and in another 10 years will easily be at the top of the tree. So what a end result 3 fantastic bands in a good old fashioned British Music Boozer. If you feel the urge for a rockin night out then look no further than Gravesend
Review by Steve Bruty for metalplanetmusic
Photography Darren Smith for metalplanetmusic