Review by Ritchie Birnie for MPM
It is Stone Broken, it is Scotland and so I am there. The difference this time is the band are shaking things up, some stuff from the past, some reworks. So, if you think the Backstreet boys and the medley are back read on(this is what we call a hook ha).
I was really looking forward to this tour and no less for the excellent support in Scarlet Rebels. Both them and the headliners brought out immense albums last year and both were in my top 10 but it looked like the brakes were on as a post went up on the boys social media stating they could not make the show due to personal reasons within the band (I do hope everything is OK) and it looked like the Scottish curse would continue but Wayne stated he would play a solo acoustic set.
I have to hand it to this band, last time they were in Scotland Wayne played the show but had been told not to as his voice had gone and now this but it makes me love the band even more as they will do anything but cancel. Kudos to you good sir.
I know there is a debate over acoustic/ electric shows but for me I love them ( just as well as there is more of that to come tonight). A lot of the time you get songs stripped back and played how they were written so I will take it every time.
The amazing thing tonight was Wayne’s voice. Last time it was shot but they still put on a brilliant show but even if tip top a voice can be lost in the music so played like this your full focus was on it and it was sublime. There was far too much chat from the audience(especially the cheeky one at the front…a slap was in order) but it was amazing to see the songs played like this and one you will not see too often but lads, maybe think about some full acoustic sets as it was dynamite.
The highlight for me was “Leave a light on” which was one of my favourite tracks on “See Through Blue” and seemingly has only ever been played once before at a hometown show.
If you are going to this tour before the boys play full electric from 13th February onwards do not miss this set. It makes the night pretty special and a nod goes to Gary for doing all the grunt work…good lad.
Now to the headliners Stone Broken and the first night of the “Come Closer” tour and as I said at the start things are going to be all shook up. A lot of bands could learn a lesson from this tour. Last year I was feeling a bit of burn out on NWOCR live shows. Having seen so many of the bands time and again headlining, support and numerous festivals there was a lot of dejavu going on.
Even if a band had a new album come out it seemed a lot was just shuffled so when Rich told us we were going on a ride I buckled in.
The band took to the stage with the Revelation stage show with added lights and banners. Poor Robyn could hardly be seen due to the light flooding from behind her but the atmosphere was great as the three boys walked through blasting white light and burst into “Revelation” and instantly I am reminded of what a powerful album this is and just how good that solo is.
Back in time for “Stay all night” and the place is jumping. I will stop and give a little nod to the venue. It is my first time here and it was incredible. A real gem just along the road from my normal east Coast venue visitor in Bannermans.
The sound was also outstanding but there is a bit of a Scottish legend that is responsible for that. Well done sir and good to see you again.
We jump to album two for “Heartbeat Away” and another fan favourite no matter the subject matter. I finished doing photos and left the crowd going crazy as I went outside to cool down from the heat off those lights and as I was stood there three Americans walked into the courtyard after a hard days touristing(with bags to prove it) and asked if there was a show. I had a quick chat and after selling them on this being the UK version of Nikelback (I never use that analogy but I thought it was best for these yanks) and they bought tickets and sauntered in.
I came back in as “Black Sunrise” was starting and man I just love the heaviness of this track especially live before we revisit the debut once more with “Let me Go”.
We go back to the vaults for “Save Tomorrow” which has not been played for so long Rich had to have the lyrics on the monitor. Can you believe this has not been played since 2016 and only played six times before tonight. Another amazing stat is with tonights play that makes three times played in Edinburgh(The other two in Bannermans). Anyway enough of the nerdy stuff it was great to hear this back in the set.
Now you are probably thinking can you substantiate your teasing from earlier so I will. You will probably have seen in the socials that the band have announced a kind of reissue of Revelation with all sorts of reworked songs so we got the news first and we also got two of those songs worked in as acoustic numbers in “Over the Line”( where the Come Closer tour comes from) and “This Revival”.
It saw Robyn finally coming into view at the front with a drum pad and I have never seen here wield a drumstick quite so gently in my life. The songs were brilliantly done and you are in for a treat. As the acoustics were out it was time for the band to leave and let Rich take the stage himself in what is Stone Broken’s huge hit in “Wait for Me”.
During the last track I bumped into the American tourists and they had craft beers in hand and were loving it so that makes me very happy.
As we go back to plugging in and going full electric we go to “stronger” which has just been released as a new video(make sure you watch it) and the lyrics kind of sink in under a different context. I am looking at these four band members that I have been following since they first set their feet in Scotland way back in 2016 and seven years later it is still the same members.
The same bunch that still get a huge Ritchie hug every time I see them and every time they take a stage they are happy, they are solid and they hold one of thee strongest bonds in a band I have ever seen.
As we go into the finale we get “The Devil you Know” and the ever popular “Not Your Enemy” and once again Stone Broken leave a crowd utterly entertained even if the finish time was a shockingly early 9.45PM.
It is not hard to see that I love this band. They have been lodged in my heart since I reviewed “all in Time” all those years ago. I seriously need to count up the amount of shows I have racked up with this bunch, from Scotland to London to Download and even Belgium. I have loved every show and long may that last.
Come Closer’ UK headline tour:-
8 Edinburgh, La Belle Angel
9 Liverpool, Academy 2
10 Huddersfield, The Parish
11 Stoke-On-Trent, The Sugarmill
13 Swansea, Sin City
14 Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
16 Hertford, Corn Exchange
17 Dover, Booking Hall
18 Tunbridge Wells, The Forum
19 Bournemouth, Old Fire Station
21 Guildford, Boileroom
22 Oxford, Academy 2
23 London, 100 Club
Support on all shows comes from Scarlet Rebels.
Revelation Deluxe: https://stonebroken.lnk.to/Revelation…
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