An early trip to Stoke to interview the lovely Leigh Matty kicked off what was to be a great evening of music again here at Eleven.
Opening the evening with their first ever live performance was READ OUT LOUD, a band comprising singer/guitarist Tim Read, bass player Josh ‘Tabbie’ Williams, Paul Hulme, guitar, keyboard wizard Jem Davies and stand in drummer Sam Ogden deputising for his dad Neil.
Before the band took to the stage I had heard some good things from those in the room who had previously bought their album, so although you could see that Tim Read looked nervous as he took to the stage I knew that the crowd was already behind them.
Opening their set with ‘Staring For The Sun’; the calibre of the band ensured that the sound was huge, Jem’s keys playing their part together with the two-pronged guitar assault and stonking rhythm section. This was impressive. With only 3 rehearsals under their belt I couldn’t believe how tight they sounded! The nerves quickly disappeared as Tim’s professionalism and confidence grew with each passing track. ‘Talk To Me’ and ‘Are You Out There’ and ‘Nowhere To Run’, the heaviness of the riffs, the flood of energy emitting from the PA’s just blew the room apart. You could hear vibes of Thin Lizzy and Led Zep creeping through the riffs ‘In My Heart ‘, ‘Surrender’ and finishing with ‘Girl Is Trouble, I was really impressed with the quality of the song writing. READ OUT LOUD are a Rock band with a future, a fabulous bunch of high-level musicians looking like they are having fun and capturing the crowd live. Book them, go see them live, buy the album, just fabulous!
Where do you start with ROMEO’s DAUGHTER? A band that right back from the start in the 80’s have held their fan base despite an 18 year break.
As they came on the stage the room erupted, it was really busy and the temperature definitely cranked up a few degrees. Leigh Matty was all smiles as the band opened up with ‘Heaven In The Backseat’ swiftly followed by ‘Attracted To The Animal’ from their 1993 album, ‘Delectable’. The sound, as is the norm at Eleven, was really good, but it was the sound of the bad themselves which was their norm – bang on, Craig’s guitar loud and clear, riffs melting your very soul as they eat into your brain, Andy’s consistent drumming which has a lovely light touch when needed and new bass man, Steve Drennan giving a lovely low end to the songs but the stand out has to be the stunning melody and melting chocolate richness which belongs to Leigh Matty. This lady is one of the best female vocalists in the industry and her tone doesn’t seem to have altered or diminished over the years, blending so beautifully with Craig and Andy’s and sitting above the music leading the melody and also the constant sing along from the audience.
‘Bitter Sweet’ had those on the barrier living every word and arms aloft waving in time to the Whoa,Whoas!
The lovely thing with the songs is that on the albums they sound very light and melodic almost pop at times but in a live setting these guys are a rock band. The songs have that lovely thud that hits you in the stomach and riffs that vary from clear to warbling, to grimy and everything in between. ‘Touch’ from the album ‘Spin’ is a prime example of this where the riffs wind themselves round the vocals and the bass reverberates up through your toes and you then get that lovely emotional clean vocal. Fabulous stuff.
Leigh had said earlier that she was suffering with a cold but it certainly didn’t hinder her performance for the entire 18 song set. All the crowd favourites were firmly in place together with a new song and some that they had not played live for a very long time if at all like ‘Cannot Be The One’. I had goose-bumps! Leigh chatted easily with the crowd, mentioning people personally, a band who appreciate their fans very much, not just fans but friends too. Lots of new faces spotted tonight also which shows that this band continue to reach out to new ears and the release of a new EP of stripped back versions of some of their songs together with a new track, will keep bringing in the new fans and keeping the old ones happy.
Always a standout moment is ‘Cry Myself To Sleep’. In the days where lighters where in everyone’s hands held aloft during the song, it was the song that always lit up the venues but now it’s purely the passion in the vocal and the music which lights up the room. Just a stunning, ageless classic.
An encore of 3 songs including ‘Talking Love’ and ‘Since You’, both played stripped back semi acoustic, the clarity and purity of Leighs voice just lovely to hear allowed the band to catch their breath slightly before finishing the night with the iconic ‘Wild Child’.
Romeo’s Daughter always deliver. I have seen them so many times and cannot remember a night or a performance I haven’t really enjoyed. The new EP is a welcome addition to the collection and hearing a new song is always a treat.
After their 30th Anniversary tour had to be cancelled due to guitarist and songwriter Craig Joiner being very unwell, it is wonderful to see the band live again and I hope he gets back to writing a few new songs again soon. Another tour is on the cards for October and I really recommend going along to see these guys.
What a great night! Thank you to Juliet for arranging the interview and for Leigh to have taken the time to chat about touring, their career, ladies in the music industry and much, much, more.
Review by Lindsay Smith
Photos by Darren McVeigh