15 min read

Review & Photography by Manny Manson for MPM

On a miserable night full of that horrible ‘mizzle’ I arrive in Nottingham, and make my way along the rain-soaked streets to the Rescue Rooms.

With a good crowd already assembled it was obvious that tonight would become a melting pot of musical enthusiasm as the long awaiting Robert Jon returns to smash the crowd. With him tonight he brings a newcomer to certainly myself and no doubt a few others in Caitlin Krisko & the Broadcast.

Hailing from North Carolina and full of southern drawl, it’ll be interesting to see what Caitlin brings to the table. The venue was buzzing with anticipation, as the opening act came on stage, and it didn’t take long for the crowd to fall in love with this new act, showering them with cheers and claps.

The night began with – Caitlin Krisko & the Broadcast, a band whose blend of blues, soul, and rock has been capturing hearts across the states. As they took the stage, the crowd’s excitement was palpable, and the room was bathed in blue lighting that created an otherworldly ambiance.

The band kicked off their set with “Blue Heron,” a soulful number that immediately showcased Caitlin Krisko’s mesmerizing vocals. Her voice, with its smoky texture and powerful range, drew the audience in, setting the tone for the evening. “Half Asleep” followed, a melancholic ballad that showcased the band’s tight-knit instrumentation and ability to create a captivating atmosphere.

As the set continued, the band played “Haunted by You,” a track that seamlessly blended rock and soul influences, and “Devil on Your Side,” which had the crowd swaying to its infectious rhythm. The interplay between Caitlin’s emotive singing and the band’s sizzling musicianship was a sight to behold. Aaron Austin’s P90 fuelled Gold Top sizzled as he effortlessly stroked it, the tone was simply breath taking, you gotta love a driven P90 pick up.

“Don’t Waste It” and “Operator” further demonstrated the band’s versatility, with the former offering a foot-stomping groove and the latter evoking a sense of nostalgia with its retro rock vibe. The crowd was in the palm of Caitlin Krisko’s hand, as she danced around the stage, the sleeves of her top forming the wings of an exotic bird.

A surprise for the night came in the form of a blistering cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll,” which ignited the crowd into a frenzy. The band’s energy was infectious, and they made the classic their own with fiery guitar riffs and a powerhouse vocal performance. I’d seen the band cover this on YouTube but played live it really kicked some serious ass. It ended with Caitlin on er back with both feet in the air.

The night reached its zenith as Caitlin introduced the final song as a “barn burner.” “Battle Cry” lived up to the hype, with its rapid drum beats and pulsing lights amplifying the song’s intensity. It was a sonic rollercoaster that had the entire venue bouncing, cheering, and singing along.

The band’s performance at the Rescue Rooms was not only a testament to their skill but also a showcase of their connection with the audience. Each song seemed to carry a piece of their heart, and the crowd responded in kind, creating an electric atmosphere that was nothing short of magical.

Caitlin Krisko & the Broadcast left the stage to a raucous applause, having definitely gained a gaggle of new fans they had certainly warmed the crowd up for the headliners.

With the stage set and the crowd buzzing, it was time for the main event of the night – Robert Jon and The Wreck. Known for their rock ‘n’ roll sensibilities and blistering live shows, they had the audience on their toes in anticipation as they walked on stage, beaming smiles especially from Bassman Warren Murrel, from behind his dark sunglasses you could sense the beaming eyes darting around the room taking the welcome on board. .

The band opened their set with “Do You Remember,” a track that instantly had the crowd on their feet. Robert Jon’s slimmer appearance compared to previous shows was evident, and it seemed to have invigorated his stage presence. His gravelly voice, reminiscent of classic rock legends, filled the room as the song rocked out.

“Tired of Drinking Alone” and “Ride in to The Light” the title track to the new album, with its Allman bros feel, followed, showcasing the band’s ability to craft anthemic rock songs that get the crowd moving. The Rescue Rooms was now a sea of bouncing bodies, arms in the air, and cheers echoing through the rafters, if there were any. Up on the balcony, they opened the doors to the Red Room to help with the airflow, such was the heat in the near capacity show.

“Rescue Train” and “Don’t Look Down” continued the high-energy onslaught, with Robert Jon’s commanding presence at the forefront. The crowd was hanging on his every word, singing along enthusiastically. The blue lighting bathed the stage making Andrew Espantman, on the kit, stuck in the back, hard to see at times, but when the light hit, , it created a mesmerizing visual spectacle of pink, green and blue beams of light.

As the set progressed, the band delved into their back catalogue, mixing up the older with the new. This was a setlist for everyone, performing tracks like “Pain No More” from the latest offering, ‘Ride into the Light’ and “Don’t Let Me Go”, from 2021’s ‘Shine A Light on Me Brother’ that showcase the bands musical prowess. The extended musical jam in “Cold Night” from ‘Glory Bound’ being a standout moment, with Henry James taking the spotlight with an impressive solo, his guitar skills left the crowd in awe as this extended jam played out.

Just when it seemed the night couldn’t get any better, Robert Jon and The Wreck left the stage briefly, only to return for an encore that sent the crowd into a frenzy. No Robert Jon set is complete without 2021’s “Shine A Light on Me Brother”, it is the perfect closer, a song that encapsulated the soulful and electrifying journey the band had taken the fans on. It never disappoints

It was during this song that, singer, Robert Jon took time to mention the band. Keyboards tonight were being tinkled by new boy, Jake Abernathie. He’s now taken over the Maggiora seat as he’s now gone on an extended walkabout with the mighty TOTO touring band. The rest of the band remain unchanged with Murrel on Bass, James on Guitar, Espantman on Drums and the ever-evocative Mr Burrison on Guitar and Vox.

Throughout the set, references to their back catalogue were seamlessly woven in, helping to connect the dots of their musical journey. It was clear that the band had poured their heart and soul into their performance, and the crowd returned the enthusiasm.

The atmosphere in the Rescue Rooms was nothing short of electric. The partisan crowd, hot and sweaty from bouncing and singing along, couldn’t get enough of Robert Jon and The Wreck. The sizzling musicianship, scorching guitar, and pulsing lights created a sensory overload that left everyone in the venue, in a state of euphoria and wanting more. A fitting testament to a great band.

The Rescue Rooms have delivered another musical extravaganza, one that will be impressed in the memories of all the fans gathered in the small, intimate venue, the baby sister to next doors ‘Rock City’. Caitlin Krisko & the Broadcast’s soulful opening set, set the stage on fire, while Robert Jon and The Wreck’s rock ‘n’ roll reverie elevated the night to an unforgettable climax.

It was a celebration of music, and the doughty spirit of live performances. Nottingham witnessed a night where the crowd, the bands, and the music became one, a spectacular night, and, as I head back to my car through the hustle and bustle of a busy, wet, Nottingham night, I find myself humming the cracking encore to the night ‘SALOMB’. Yip, we liked that one a lot.

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