Review by Gary Spiller for MPM
Hidden in plain sight The Globe is certainly one of the Welsh capital’s quirkier venues. Housed in a former first-floor cinema, above a row of takeaways that the vibrant Albany Road is locally well known for, The Globe has garnered a quality reputation for putting on the best up and coming acts. This evening’s bill is no exception.
Heading across The Channel for a whistle-stop three-date mini-tour slick German rockers The New Roses roll into town. Support, this chilly evening, comes in the form of a pair of rapidly emergent Swansea talents in the form of The Now along with Zac And The New Men.
Relatively rare visitors to these shores The New Roses deserve to be massive here in the UK. In fact, it’s an utter travesty that this hi-quality southern-rocking quartet are not bigger in the UK. Their anthemic brand of rock n’ roll is arena-ready; with more hooks than a yearly subscription to Angling Times this is an outfit extremely high up the contagious list.
Cruelly this evening it seems like fate has transpired against them as with Planet Rock’s Rockstock festival, in full swing, just along the coast at Trecco Bay the crowd has suffered somewhat. However, it’s a perfectly formed gathering who soak up every last ounce of what’s on offer, making up for their numbers with an unbridled enthusiasm.
In fairness to all three bands, they approach the night as if this is a sold-out Motorpoint Arena with a gutsy fervour throughout. First on Zac And The New Men tear right into things with the soulful roar of their fourth single ‘Social Blur.’ Compared to the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix there’s definitely a retro touch to this amiable bunch of teenagers that is brought kicking and screaming into the 21st Century with twists of Royal Blood and Blackberry Smoke.
The raw, bleeding of hi-energy ‘Cut Short’ is well received before frontman Zac introduces ‘Watching The World Go By’ as “Their next release, a bit of a change from the last one. More of a pop edge.” Possessing a gentle evocative intro and emotive vocals this forthcoming single holds an infectious element firmly in its grasp.
Enquiring “Any Led Zeppelin fans in this house?” ‘Say It’ is dedicated to those behind the loud response. Dispensing with his guitar Zac blasts out a primetime Robert Plant dispatch whilst his fellow guitarist Oli drops to the stage floor to nail a groove reminiscent of early Reef.
There’s a maturity belying their tender years with a stagecraft developing. Current single ‘Birdcage’ thunders along melding Reef and Black Crowes in an unlikely alliance before ‘Deeper’ gets both crowd and band bouncing along. With a hammer of the gods intro Oli receives some fan assistance upon his fret as set closer ‘Second Chance’ taps into the forces of Valhalla itself.
Taking to the stage to the taped intro of their latest single ‘This Town’ The Now announce their arrival in a deliciously uncompromising incisive fashion. Having celebrated the release of their debut EP ‘Holy’ by being the first band to play the new arena in their hometown of Swansea back in February this is clearly an outfit on the ascent.
The galloping title track off that EP – described by Steven Van Zandt (guitarist in Springsteen’s E Street Band) as ‘The coolest song in the world’ – justifies its billing with a loud raw punchy delivery. Soaring vocals atop an attention-grabbing slab of riffage alloyed with a tempestuous solo give Van Zandt’s recommendation justification.
A curious blend of Rocket From The Crypt and The Struts pervades ‘Girl You Got Me’ with axeman powerage, prominent basslines and slick vocals. Hard driving ‘Rockstar’ ramps things up further as this Welsh quartet’s forcefulness shines through.
The darkened shades of ‘Wind Up’ and the marauding thunder of ‘HLD’ reverberate raucously. With a Ramones-infused punky edge ‘Dr. Jones’ is a sub three-minute ride through the rapids leading to the cataclysmic Stooge-driven climes of ‘Rewind.’
There’s a furious freneticism herein and by the time the brooding artillery onslaught of set closer ‘Friendly Fire’ brings the house down around them The Now have despatched a quickfire nine-track inside 30 minutes. High kinetic indeed.
Having released their fifth album ‘Sweet Poison’ at the end of October The New Roses are back to bring the rock n’ roll party to Cardiff some four years after taking Fuel Club apart. With broad smiles the quadrumvirate take to the stage to Roy Orbison’s ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’ before swaggering into the addictive Stateside tones of ‘The Usual Suspects.’ The crowd, full of enthusiasm, are right onside from the off with this track lifted off the recent release going down an absolute storm.
Frontman Timmy Rough asks “You guys ready for some sweet rock from Germany?” and with that the party continues with a second track from ‘Sweet Poison’ in the juggernauting form of ‘The Lion In You’ that, most appropriately roars along.
Slipping into their back catalogue The New Roses have the crowd in raptures with ‘Every Wild Heart,’ AC/DC undergone a touch of Californication. Conjuring up the essence of the highway Timmy stirringly sings “There’s an open road.”
Showcasing the band’s vulnerability with its gloriously blazing US country-rock vibrancy ‘All I Ever Needed’ conjures up a coupling of The Eagles and Skid Row via a median of Bon Jovi. Whilst ‘1st Time For Everything’ takes Def Leppard and immerses their Sheffield steel right into the searing heat of the Mojave Desert. “We’ve got one everyone knows” Timmy emotes as Neil Young’s ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’ is given an industrious workout faithful in its core.
Gravelly southern-fringed ‘Whiskey Nightmare’ is one of The New Roses’ formative tracks having made its first appearance on the band’s eponymous 2016 EP and being a rightful mainstay live pretty much ever since. Embracing a freight-train proportioned right-hook ‘Warpaint’ is a no-nonsense, full-throttle romp through the arenaceous badlands. Combining the swaggering lifeblood of Aerosmith and Kid Rock the anthemic ‘Life Ain’t Easy (For A Boy With Long Hair)’ lifts the roof with its bourbon-drenched forces.
With a 12 bar beat hammering down in ‘Nothing But Wild’, the titular track of their 2019 album and a silver bullet to boot, the Globe is having a total ball. A Rolling Stones meets Black Stone Cherry crossover for sure. The express train powers through the midnight airs in ‘Forever Never Comes’ as The New Roses hurtle along seemingly unstoppable.
Ratcheting matters ever tighter as the set draws towards its close ‘Down by the River’ enthrals with a shuffling rhythm incorporated into a slick southern-country affair. Basically denouncing the ‘pantomime’ of encores Timmy gives the Globe the choice of how progress. All are more than happy for the band to remain on stage and continue with a couple more tracks.
The US heartlands are brought into view with ‘Glory Road’ capturing the blue-collar vibe of Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen and eliciting a loud approving roar from the crowd. The boogie of ‘Thirsty’ introduces Bon Scott to the Black Crowes over a considerably sized tumbler of whisky on the rocks before a rabblerousing rendition of Bob Seger’s ‘Ole Time Rock n’ Roll’ provides a showstopping finale to a fine 75-minute set right out of the top drawer of rock n’ roll.
Filing back out into the biting Cardiff night I can only continue to wonder how this band are not selling out larger venues. In my mind there is no doubt that their infectious brand of rock thoroughly deserves it.
Photography by Kelly Spiller for MPM