01 April 19
What a fantastic way to spend a Monday evening! 4 fabulous bands all on the same bill did necessitate an early start with doors opening at 6pm, very early for many it seems. VEGA were the first band on at 6.15pm and although people were still arriving, there were plenty of eager fans pressed against the barrier in readiness.
VEGA are pure melodic rock, always top notch, always a performance not just a gig with Nick Workman playing to the crowd and getting them involved from the start. It’s a full on tirade of punchy melodies, catchy lyrics and an all round enjoyable performance. The band have so many good songs and the very short set of 30 mins meant that it was packed full of crowd pleasers including ‘Every Little Monster’, ‘White Flag’ and closing with a personal favourite ‘Saving Grace’.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ffofwP9VnE&w=560&h=315]
The sound was spot on, the lighting was a photographer’s dream and the band looked like they had enjoyed themselves. They always deliver and tonight was no exception, a fabulous polished performance from a band at the height of their game.
After a very quick change over, Norfolk rockers BAD TOUCH took to the stage. This was going to be another very short set. I like their sound, I love the rich tone to Stevie’s voice, a band with a subdued energy on stage which suits their sound nicely. Opening with ‘Lift Your Head Up’ and then straight into ‘Movin’ On Up’ before a brief chat from Stevie but with time being so tight this was kept to an absolute minimum. The setlist was perfect for this crowd and included ‘Too Many Times’ and ‘Dressed To Kill’ before they closed with 99%.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sik39lzVlz4&w=560&h=315]
A fabulous job continuing where VEGA had left off in keeping the crowd interested and buoyant adding to the atmosphere as the numbers had grown in the room. There was now a very sizable audience for the gig, nice to see as the fuller this main room gets at Rock City, the better the sound always seems to be.
I’ll try not to rave too much about FM but they are probably the best AOR band around. Their performance is always spot on and their set lists have so many fabulous crowd pleasers it sometimes leaves your face aching from smiling so much and singing along. This was the case again tonight as the opening bars of ‘Breathe Fire’ began and the smoke blasted up from the front of the stage heralding the start of what I can only describe as a treat for the senses. Swiftly followed by ‘Bad Luck’, the band seemed to be really up for tonight’s opening gig of the tour.
FM are a band that tour relentlessly and this shows in just how good a performance they give, the quality of the musicianship and of course, ‘The Voice’ Steve Overland is exemplary. The band have so many songs to choose from, it was great to see crowd favourites such as ‘That Girl’, ‘Let Love Be The Leader’ and Someday’.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsjEkuGzn1Q&w=560&h=315]
Of course we need a ballad in there too and tonight we had ‘Closer To Heaven’ which allowed Overland’s vocal to just melt your senses into a pool of mush. ‘Face To Face, ‘Over You’ and ‘Tough It Out’ brought back the big licks and riffs, big rhythms and walls of keyboards filling out the sound add to that the dual guitar harmonies, gang chants and the interwoven melodies it all just eats into your head, swirling around and filling it with awesomeness.
I love how the older songs from their back catalogue fit snuggly in with new material like ‘Killed By Love’ from their last studio album ‘Atomic Generation’, they never date, totally timeless. I don’t know how they sit down and pick what to play they have so many good songs which take on a fresh lease of life every time they are played live.
I could ramble and rave about how good the band are but why not go and see for yourself? I promise you will love them.
The co-headliner tonight, The Quireboys are another band that have seen a resurgence in their touring and festival appearances over the last few years similar to FM and judging by the number of people still in the room after FM’s blistering set, a popular choice of touring partnership.
The enigmatic Spike leads the band with swagger, that smile of his lighting up the stage and his voice just full on gravel toned blues. The way he moves around the stage enthrals you, a whirling dervish of cheekiness and pizazz. Couple that with the immense talent of each and every one of the band and the party vibe and energy in the room increased yet again. A set list packed out with singalong songs including ‘Mona Lisa Smiled’, a new song which should in theory have flattened the mood slightly as the album has only just hit our ears but didn’t, mainly as they have stuck to their sound, not changed things up massively so the song sound familiar although new.
I have no idea if Spike got the words right and I don’t care. Spike chats easily to the crowd, “Thanks for keeping rock and roll alive” he says, well tonight is proving that it is very much alive and kicking some serious ass. He seems to be in his element and the smiles between band members seem to endorse the fact that they are loving it too. ‘Sweet Mary Anne’ fills our ears, a song I love to hear.
The immortal words are uttered… “What time is it?” there’s a huge response, the room erupted as harmonica and voice lead ‘7 O’Clock’ and yes, it was time for a party, the floor bouncing as the appreciation grew. A blistering set of all that is good from the band and one that seemed to be over far to quicly, ‘I Don’t Love You Any More’ keeping the sing along going and how do you finish it all off – with a ‘Sex Party’ of course!
A cracking night! If you haven’t got tickets, get some, get yourself out to one of the gigs. Probably one of the best gigs I’ve been to this year. So good I’m going again!!
Review and Photos by Lindsay Smith-Boam for Metal Planet Music