Most Sunday evenings for me consists of a few cups of tea with my feet up watching country file and pondering the working week ahead, but not tonight because when the opportunity arose to pop into London and review the mighty TESLA, a band I needed to tick off my bucket list it just had to be done.
On my arrival, with a slight delay receiving the much needed passes, I managed to grab the last couple of songs from the first of the three acts performing tonight. FLASHFIRES, a young energetic five piece rock band from London, proved to be a great warm up to tonight’s events showing classy song writing and very catchy songs. Front man Alex Gonzato, on vocals & guitar, is a star in the making with not only a clean set of vocals, but a terrific stage presence. Shame about the late arrival but on the evidence of tonight, I look forward to reviewing a full show in the very near future.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F_Z6zZKEhU?start=7&w=560&h=315]
Now this is a band on the up and up, and a band I have seen on many occasions, so I knew to expect it to be very loud and very energetic. From the opening “Don’t Wanna Go” to the closing strains of “Until The End” WAYWARD SONS, Toby Jepson – Guitar/Vocals, Nic Wastel – Bass, Sam Wood – Guitar, Phil Martini – Drums, and Dave Kemp – Keyboards, just blew the roof off this iconic venue. Frontman Toby with his white flying V, and decked out in very fetching tartan trousers, took control of the situation from the start. He had his vocal chords working overtime and with his raw enthusiasm, he got the heaving crowd onside in no time at all.
This is not all about the singer though, its about the collective whole of the five band members with Sam Wood just ripping the hell out of his guitar, none more evident than on “Crush”, a riff so catchy it has the crowd bouncing along. Nic Wastel has to be the most energetic Bass player I have ever seen, going round and round in circles dodging Toby’s duck walking, he was a real visual treat for the punters. Watching them, I found it hard to believe this was their first live show in 2 months due to the recording of their new album, such was the tightness of the nine song set. We were treated to two new songs from the upcoming album “Jokes On You” and “As Black As Sin”, neither letting up on the riffs with “Jokes On You” displaying a raw pop / rock element to it. A sure sign that album number two is going to carry on where the debut left off.
I’ve mentioned this before about WAYWARD SONS, and I take my hat off to Toby, because they could always play it safe by throwing in a couple of LITTLE ANGELS songs or a cover, but such is their confidence in their music and the material they offer, they all just smash their way through their own songs.
Another fantastic example of British Rock doing great.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7-stK5G4AU&w=560&h=315]
Walking on stage to a simple set up of speakers either side of the drums, this Sacramento five piece band don’t require flash bombs or inflatable stage props to announce their arrival. “Tied To The Tracks” followed quickly by “Modern Day Cowboy” does the job perfectly with the 1700 people in attendance just lapping it up. With front man, Jeff Keith, being about the coolest showman in rock as he preens, twirls, and tousles his hair almost like a pantomime dame, and those nasal vocals, the trademark of this legendary band, being on top form this man has it all and more.
“Be A Man” is the first chance for the crowd to start singing along with Brian Wheat, legs astride, hammering out a crystal clear bass line that’s just about drowned out by the twin guitars of Dave Rude and Frank Hannon, who seem to be covering every inch of floor space. Understandably this was a greatest hits live show spanning all the fan favourites, and they decided to throw in the title track of new album “Shock”, which rightly deserved to be amongst the likes of “Miles Away” and “Call It What You Will”.
The group then decide to go crazy heavy with a tooth rattling “Edison’s Machine”, and had the entire band and audience reaching for the oxygen when it came crashing to its end. The guitar antics of Frank Hannon is at times jaw dropping and, if I’m honest, I had no idea he was that good, with slide guitar aplenty and acoustic interludes, he was a separate show in itself. When he told the crowd that they had been recording at the world famous Abbey Road studios in London it was a no brainer for a beautiful cover of The Beatles “BLACKBIRD” to ooze into “LOVE SONG” with Dave Rude’s acoustic joining in for double the effect.
With the 11pm deadline fast approaching, the band ploughed on with “Little Suzi”, rounding the evening off with “Signs” and as they went over their allocated time, they gave the fans pure value for money with no time wasting on the traditional encore, they just played on and on.
I have never attended a perfect gig but this is as near as I have got with three terrific groups and a world class head liner who turned up and played what we wanted to hear with a great quality sound system just so talented and such top guys.
Thank you Tesla for proving that Sundays don’t have to boring !![youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ne6uKG6TJrw&w=560&h=315]
Review by Steve Bruty for metalplanetmusic
Photography by Darren Smith for metalplanetmusic