Friday, 25 October 2013

The Quireboys, Bonafide & Bad Touch - Beautiful Curse UK Tour 2013

Bad Touch: photo courtesy of Sally Newhouse

If The Quireboys are right and 'This is Rock & Roll', then sign me up, because I've just returned from the adventure of a lifetime, travelling around the UK on tour with Bad Touch as they supported The Quireboys and Bonafide.

Visiting 11 towns and cities over 14 days, it was a great opportunity to see the country, meet new people and spread the word about this great little rock band from Dereham, a feat I think we all achieved with huge success.

Steve: photo courtesy of Sally Newhouse
Kicking off in Bristol, all five band members were a little nervous before taking to the giant stage, but the fantastic sound technicians at the O2 Academy really looked out for them, as did Bonafide with their provision of orange 'squash' (there was no vodka in it, honest!)

The piercing lights shone down on them as Seeks started the spine-tingling stage intro on rhythm guitar, closely followed by George on drums as Stevie bellowed: 'Good evening Bristol, we are Bad Touch', there was no doubt that the party had started, and any signs of nerves quickly melted away.

'Waiting on the morning light' was the opening song of choice, a party track which showed off Bailey's effortless talent on the 5 string bass to perfection, he made it look so easy as he threw his head down and let his enviously long locks cover his face – he clearly loves his work.

On their first major UK tour, and their first long stint away from home, the youngsters (in comparison!) were cared for by both Bonafide and The Quireboys, and as the show rolled into Oxford, the boys were honoured to be invited back on stage after their own set by Bonafide to perform their set-closing anthem 'Fill your head with rock'.

Bonafide: photo courtesy of Sally Newhouse
Pontus, Mikael, Martin and Niklas make up the Sweedish rock outfit, who I'd seen before at the Yardbirds, Grimsby. Offering punchy, no nonsense riffs and powerful vocals, they truly are a sight to behold on stage. As main support for the Quireboys, this was their chance to promote new album 'Bombo', packed with feel good rock originals including personal favourite 'Rock & Roll Skal'.

Their nightly 45 minute set left your ears ringing to an unmistakable sound of classic 80's rock with a tangible European twist. Tracks like 'No doubt about it', 'Hard living man' and 'Doing the pretty' allowed for plenty of audience participation, and the four-piece certainly stamped their authority on the tour, leaving fans shouting for more.

A day off followed the Oxford show, and so came a chance to reflect on the mania and spend time with the band, who were still taking it all in themselves. Over a very civilised dinner consisting of steak and red wine, the boys relaxed, chatted and joked around. The Playstation was brought out of hiding back at the Travelodge, much to Rob's delight who got his fix of Fifa 14, and the boys prepared themselves for a busy few days ahead.
Rob and Seeks: photo courtesy of Sally Newhouse

The O2 Academy Birmingham was a two minute drive from the hotel, so we got there early and watched The Quireboys and Bonafide soundcheck, a pleasure in itself. Paul Guerin, The Quireboys guitarist ensured everything was perfect; 'check, 1, 2, yeah yeah' repeated indefinitely – it had to be just right. Bonafide's soundcheck was the polar opposite; march onto stage, grab your guitar, strum a chord, and a thumbs-up to the sound man, done!

Birmingham was the toughest crowd yet, a fairly good crowd gathered, but without the same enthusiasm and enjoyment as previous nights. Perhaps the Wednesday 'hump day' blues had something to do with it, but the lads still shifted plenty of merch and left a lasting impression with a good number of Bad Touch converts.

We were ready to hit the road again on Thursday morning, heading north through the Derbyshire countryside to Sheffield. The shiny new Travelodge was a welcome sight, as was the close proximity of the venue. There was a buzz about Sheffield, and as the O2 started to fill up and the now familiar sound of the Bad Touch intro filled the room, the crowds were lapping it all up. 'Too Late' adorned the setlist, another high-tempo, sing-along track which went down a treat.

Spike: photo courtesy of Sally Newhouse

Promoting their latest album 'Beautiful Curse', The Quireboys have a loyal following, with some of their fans travelling around the country to more than one show. Having performed live for over 20 years, Spike and the rest of the band look completely at home on the stage. As a frontman, he's mesmerising, throwing his mic stand in the air as if it's made of plastic and dancing like there's no-one watching. His stage presence is truly infectious, as is his charming, northern humour and obvious appreciation of the fans' loyal support. Kicking off their headline set with 'Black Mariah', his husky voice envelopes the room and has the audience eating out the palm of his hand.

There was no time to rest, and following a quick toast after midnight for Seeks on his Birthday, we piled into our two vans and headed 250 miles north to Glasgow. We arrived having seen some beautiful scenery on the way, and had just enough time to freshen up and head down to the venue for soundcheck. Setting up the merch in what Steve aptly described as the 'dungeon', I prepared myself to miss most of the gig, but the bits I saw were brilliant. The Garage venue was absolutely heaving, even as Bad Touch kicked off proceedings. The lads had been told they could perform an additional song in their set, so were alternating between 'Water's Edge' and 'Lying and losing' – adding to the high-tempo and high-quality set perfectly.

The Quireboys had a blast in Glasgow, Spike affectionately told me 'We always get a great crowd here and we love playing here, they're always up for a party!'. It was like their second home. For us though, with a long drive the next day, there was no time for partying, just a quiet drink as a group before heading back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.

Bailey: photo courtesy of Sally Newhouse
The halfway point of the tour saw a sell-out crowd at the Rescue Rooms, Nottingham. A Saturday night too made for a proper party and the dismal weather didn't dampen the atmosphere. It was also a chance for the band to see some friends and family, with the faithful coming to support their boys. The heat in the venue was relentless, and was almost unbearable on the balcony where we'd set up the merch. But the suffering was worth it as the half-hour set went down a storm, with tracks like 'New Day' still ringing in the ears of new-found fans as they queued for signed copies of the latest CD at the end of the night.

Bonafide and The Quireboys clearly enjoyed the capacity crowd's enthusiasm, playing a blinder. The Quireboys performed tracks of their latest album, including a personal favourite '27 years' and the catchy title-track 'Beautiful Curse', a song Spike dedicated to guitarist Paul, who recently got married. Old tracks '7 o'clock' and 'Hey You' had the crowds singing along every single night, and this was no exception.

The Bad Touch family dispersed, all bar Nigel and Lynda, who took over driving duties from Band Manager Mark, taking a well-earned break for a couple of days as the rest of us headed through the dreary northern rain to Newcastle, much to Rob's delight.

George: photo courtesy of Sally Newhouse
The much-needed day off on Sunday gave a chance to relax, as we again came together as a group to reflect on the success of the tour so far. With family roots on Tyneside, Newcastle United fan Rob took the opportunity to visit St James's Park on Monday morning as the rest of the band slept in ready for The
Quireboys' homecoming show.

As we walked into the O2 Academy Newcastle that afternoon, all five band members had to pick their jaws off the floor when they saw the sheer size of the stage. It was vast, and they were worried they'd look lost. They needn't have, they owned every inch of it, with Steve dancing his way through self-written track 'Good on me' – a favourite of the massive crowd and an inspired insertion to the setlist, with its funky rhythm and cheeky lyrics.

Despite being Spike's hometown, this was not a biased crowd, they were there to watch three great bands and listen to some good music, and the Bad Touch boys went down a storm, with massive cheers from the audience and great merch sales to boot. Clearly though, as The Quireboys took to the stage, the crowd went wild, and when he introduced 'I love this dirty town' about his beloved Newcastle, Spike's audience was hooked.

The Quireboys: photo courtesy of Sally Newhouse
Back on the road again, we were off early the next day to head for the Club Academy, Manchester. After the midweek gig in Birmingham the week before, the boys weren't holding out a lot of hope for Manchester on a Tuesday. As a north-west girl myself, I knew the northerners wouldn't let them down.

A queue had formed. Granted, it was shorter than the line for 90's pop group Blue's concert next door, but plenty of rock fans poured in early to check them out. One lady had been at the Oxford gig and was so impressed with their set, she had to come back. Rob particularly seemed to enjoy the Manchester show, playing a blinder on lead guitar and his enthusiasm shone through on stage.

Bad Touch live at Bristol O2 Academy
The final day off followed, and a chance for the guys to get home to Norfolk to see friends and family and relax. So I did pretty much the same thing, travelling just 25 miles to Liverpool and taking the opportunity to spend some time with my parents. After some proper home-cooked food (thanks mum!) and a lovely hot bath, we were back on the road and heading for the capital and a bumper crowd at the O2 Academy Islington; the chosen venue for The Quireboys live DVD recording. The maze of stairs and corridors in the venue meant finding the dressing room was a challenge, but as we left the band to get ready and set up the merch stand, the queues were already building outside. As Bad Touch took to the stage, the room was already pretty full, and their rendition of Led Zeppelin's 'Rock & Roll' was very well received by the rock fans of London.

Bonafide delighted the masses too with their no-nonsense hard rock set, and by the time both bands adorned the stage for 'Fill your head with rock' the room was at capacity. The Quireboys performed a great 90 minute set for their DVD and Spike played the leading role to absolute perfection.

Staying in Surrey that evening meant a lovely drive through the centre of London at night, and a chance to take in the historic sights, including Trafalgar Square, the Mall and Harrods, along with an informative running commentary from George. Another modern Travelodge in Camberley was a welcome destination for a rest, before setting off for the south coast in the morning.

Bad Touch live at Princess Pavillion Falmouth
An easy drive down to Bournemouth was followed by another civilised dinner with the 'family'. But a great merch set up at the venue was let down by the disorganisation of the staff and the ridiculously early start time for the show – 6pm on a Friday is not Rock & Roll! This meant a small crowd for the boys' slot, but we still managed to shift a decent number of CD's, so they clearly made an impression. Having attended the after-show party, we left Bournemouth and headed on the journey from hell to Yeovil – almost 2 hours of windy roads, woodland and little villages.

When we eventually arrived, we were all glad to check in and get to bed and prepare (mainly emotionally) for the next day – the last day of the tour and (for us at least) the end of the break of a lifetime. The drive to Falmouth was breathtaking at times, with stunning scenery and gorgeous weather. And when we arrived, the place itself didn't disappoint.

We couldn't have asked for a better venue, or town in which to finish the tour. A walk around the Princess Pavillion gardens, and a great photo opportunity on the hill overlooking the sea made for an inspiring setting, and the gig was no less amazing. The Bad Touch boys completed their set for the final time with the only song they could ever have chosen to say their goodbye, the brilliantly written epic track 'Down' sounded out to a room full of impressed punters.

The boys were happiest when behind their instruments, and they became one, a tight unit of talented musicians able to bring such a great feeling into any venue with their high-tempo funky originals and infectious on-stage rapport, they truly made their mark across the UK.

The party wasn't over yet, as the boys were again invited on stage with Bonafide, and then by The Quireboys to perform their final song 'Sex Party', an absolute honour for Bad Touch, and a great way to finish the tour.

We said goodbye and made the mammoth journey home through the night, back to normality and routine, but I can honestly say that I loved every single second of the experience, and couldn't have asked for a better group of people to spend it with.

Bonafide and The Quireboys have now headed off to complete the European part of their tour together, and I wish we could have gone along for the ride, but instead the boys are straight back on the gigging bandwagon with plenty of shows between now and Christmas, including a final showdown in the Marshall Competition for a chance to play Download in 2014; a year which promises to be a massive success for Bad Touch, and I can't wait for the exciting times ahead!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Quireboys Tour so far...

So the big UK tour with the Quireboys and Bonafide is finally underway and the Bad Touch boys have taken to it as if they've been doing this for decades. Opening the shows with a half-hour set packed with rock party anthems, they're really succeeding in getting the crowds going, and are gaining plenty of new fans along the way.

The tour kicked off at the O2 Academy Bristol on Sunday. A large, recently refurbished venue with a capacity of 2,000, the giant stage area housed the boys perfectly, and brought out the very best in each band member. The acoustics were perfect, and there were already plenty of fans piling into the venue as the lights dimmed and Stevie introduced 'Waiting on the morning light' at 7.30pm.

'Too Late' duly followed in a high-tempo, energetic set highlighting the variation and musical quality the band offers in spades, before brand new and increasingly popular funky song 'Good on me' - aptly written about wearing womens' jeans. 'New Day' followed before Stevie introduced the timeless classic 'Rock & Roll'.

If anyone in the crowd was unsure about Bad Touch at the beginning, they were well and truly won over by this cover, and by the time 'Down', the final song, was introduced, the whole room was bouncing. The queues at the merchandise stand proved the success of the set, with plenty of fans requesting photos and autographs.

Bonafide and Quireboys were brilliant, and I'll be doing a full update and review about their sets as soon as I can, but I just wanted to give an update about how well the boys are doing. So successful is their support set, that night two in Oxford saw Bonafide ask Bad Touch back on to the stage to perform alongside them for the classic 'Fill your head with rock' - their last song of the set - an honour for the boys, who hope to be able to repeat this again tonight in Birmingham.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Oval Rock House Reunion - Epic Studios, Norwich - 21/09/2013

Courtesy of Norfolk Photography
It's not often in life you wish you were older. Perhaps when you're a teenager desperate to get into a nightclub or the latest horror film at the cinema, but pretty much as soon as you hit 21 you wish you were back in school.

I had the exact opposite feeling this weekend when I stepped foot inside Epic Studios for the Oval Rock House Reunion. I'd have given anything to have experienced it first time round given the buzzing, vibrant atmosphere that welcomed me on Saturday afternoon.

Erin Rockowitch and her team created a masterpiece in just 3 months, combining the sights and sounds of the Oval as was, with a sprinkling of sparkly new local talent – many of whom would have graced the famous stage today, had it not sadly closed its doors for the final time back in 1998.

At just £10, tickets were an absolute bargain and the proceeds went to a very good cause, the MIND mental health charity, and with plenty of impressive raffle prizes on offer, kindly donated by the bands and other supporters of the reunion, the impressive crowd ensured plenty of money was raised.

Over 620 people filed up the stairs of Epic Studios, many hoping to relive the glory years of rock music in Norwich, and plenty hoping to catch a glimpse of the perfect blend of fresh and vintage talent adorning the large stage for 11 action-packed, eardrum-shredding hours.

The darkened studio provided excellent acoustics, plenty of standing (and dancing) room and a breakout area for those whose feet simply couldn't take the pace (including mine). With large projector screens positioned either side of the stage, every member of the crowd had a perfect view of the performances, as the whole show was recorded by Epic camera crew and streamed live online for those who couldn't make it.
Courtesy of Norfolk Photography

For those who could, the atmosphere was electric, excitement built up throughout the day, helped by an early performance from Jim Higgs, a young acoustic artist who's music is a breath of fresh air and was a perfect way to start the day.

Under the Radar upped the tempo with their energetic set. The trio made as much noise as any five-piece band I've heard, with plenty of charisma, and an audible Green Day influence in their original work – they're a band I'd like to see again, and with plenty of local gigs coming up, including a set at the Rock Monster event at the Waterfront in September, the chances are I will.

Joining them on the bill that day are Silenced by Shadows, who gave us an insight into things to come on Saturday as they well and truly rocked Epic Studios to its foundations. The last show for their brilliant bass player Johnny Liu couldn't have been a better one, with great stage presence and an infectious metal sound, they certainly took me by surprise.

Erin professionally punctuated the day with introductions before each band went on stage – the personal touch you just don't get anywhere else, and as the crowds started to grow bigger, she left the stage to Synaptic, a band made up of some former Oval regulars who provided an absolute assault on all my senses – in a good way of course. Clearly experienced musicians, their tight set heavily influenced by the birth and growth of heavy metal grabbed the unfaltering attention of the room, and the matching Synaptik smart shirts worn by band members were a welcome change.

Courtesy of Norfolk Photography
Continuing the metal theme as the afternoon began to turn into evening was the brilliant four-piece Saigon Kiss, fronted by the talented and timelessly charismatic Kev Saigon, who brought punk and heavy metal together in an electric half-hour set dripping with energy and plenty of sweat for good measure.

The drinks were starting to flow from the bar (which was pretty much drunk dry by the end of the night!) as Wicked Faith brought a bit of technical rock & roll top proceedings fresh from their headline performance at another celebrated local rock venue – King Edward VII the night before. Jade, Becki, Tim and Matt tantalised the tastebuds of every classic rock fan in the room with plenty of catchy 70's style riffs brought bang up-to-date with refreshing lyrics and an energetic stage show- Wicked Faith do exactly as the latter part of their name suggests – restore your faith in the timeless nature of classic rock.

Courtesy of Michael Wilkinson
Blending rock and metal together was the order of the day as all 600 attendees took a ride through Norfolk's music history, and Soulborn tattooed 'metal' on the chest of each and every member of the crowd with their pulsating, feel-good take on the genre, with catchy yet powerful riffs and an addictive stage show, these guys are sure to continue to go from strength to strength in their bid to plaster a smile on the faces of metal-heads everywhere.

The ringing in my ears was allowed to subside with intermission performances by 'Thunder Mental Entertainers'. Made up of fire breathers and semi-clad dancers armed with angle grinders, the scent of parrafin filled the air and sparks flew across the room as the group mesmerised with their grinding, sexy routines.

Rock & Roll took centre stage again as 6 o'clock struck in the shape of No Mercy, the first band of the day to have played at the Oval back in the nineties having formed way back in 1988. The guys reformed two years ago to once again bring melodic, classic rock to the people of Norfolk, which is exactly what they did, with help from a guest on-stage appearance from Denny. No Mercy are back to their best – and back at Epic Studios supporting the Burning Crows this weekend as they continue to spread the word.

Courtesy of Norfolk Photography
My highlight of the day was fast approaching, and it couldn't have had a better prelude than a set by the brilliantly fresh and talented Strange Tail. Having seen them recently at the Lady of the Lake, I was looking forward to seeing what they had to offer. Despite only forming 7 months ago, I was astonished with how well they owned the Epic stage – hypnotising the audience with their Thin Lizzie inspired performance. Toby and the boys did tremendously well and well and truly stamped the strange Tail name into the minds of hundreds of die-hard rock fans.

Courtesy of Michael Wilkinson
Sparks flew once again as the Thunder Mental performance group warmed up the crowd once again and allowed Bad Touch to set up. It was time for a little bit of funky as the boys – who provided the back line for the whole event – pumped up the volume and made their presence well and truly known with a fantastic rendition of Led Zeppelin's 'Rock & Roll'. Sporting brand new shiny Hagstroms, Seeks and Rob on rhythm and lead worked in perfect harmony as the boys introduced party track 'Waiting on the morning light' and blues-inspired 'Preacher'. Finishing their fun-filled set with Skin's 'Look but don't touch', rehearsed especially for the reunion as a nod to one of the greatest bands to ever grace the Oval, the boys did themselves and their fans proud.

The fun didn't end there for me, as Mastema took to the stage. I'd been told about these guys and made sure I looked out for them. With a clear Papa Roach influence, their version of heavy rock envelopes your senses and makes it impossible to stand still. Belting out tracks from their latest EP 'Close to Breaking', the five-piece set the tone perfectly for a night of hard rock partying.

As the beer continued to flow, the floor of the once pristine studio floor took the brunt of all the dancing and spilled drinks, taking on a sticky glaze to bring back some memories for those lucky enough to have been at the Oval Rock House back in the day: 'Now it feels like the Oval!' were the cries of delight as your feet started to stick to the floor.

The anticipation was building for the headline act Sods Law, and Sweet n Innocent fed off the atmosphere to absolutely rock their set, which was unfortunately cut short With head-pounding riffs and raw energy emanating in spades, the crowd was in seventh heaven with tracks from their latest EP echoing in their skulls.

Words were being slurred and inhibitions were being lost as the party headed towards its peak, and Kamikaze Radio, combined with the 'surprise' reformation of the Oval legends Spot was the perfect catalyst to really send the crowd into overdrive. Belting out classics with an audible nineties rhythm, the 50-minute set left the over-excited crowd screaming for more as the re-lived the old days with friends old and new.

Courtesy of Kevin Watson
And so, after 10 hours of spine-crunching, ear-blending, skull-shaking rock and metal, the headline act were ready to take to the stage. Reforming for only two gigs after their split in 1999, Sods Law were better than ever as their first performance plastered a smile to the face of every single member of the audience. The 5-piece absolutely stole the show with pulsating rock beats in tracks like 'Whats done is done' and 'Violation', it was as if no time had passed since their final show at the Oval. With one more show booked at the Spalding Rock Club in November, this reformation has been a huge success and a sign that rock music is, as we all predicted, utterly timeless.

Erin and the team at Epic Studios put on a fantastic show, and what started as a one-off reunion gig celebrating a great venue has snowballed – with 'Ovalfest' already booked for 2014. And the 11 months in between then and now should be just enough time to recover from the awesome show we were treated to in 2013, proving that Norwich still has a want and an inherent need for pure rock talent. Roll on Ovalfest 2014!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Insane Music Festival Final - The Railway Venue, Ipswich - 15/09/2013

As Sunday nights go, this one was pretty special. Usually spent doing ironing and getting ready for work, this Sunday, despite the torrential rain, we made for the Railway Venue, Ipswich to watch the final of Lord Bishop's 'Insane Music Festival'.

An event set up by Lord Bishop in a bid to find a support band for his European Tour next year, we were treated to an eclectic mix of music from Four Wheel Drive, Shock!Hazard, Bad Touch and the Handsome Dead, who's set we unfortunately missed this time round.

We arrived just in time to sample the delights of Shock!Hazard. Now there's a stage show worth watching. These three guys have so much intense youthful energy pouring out of them, and they leave you as the audience feeling exhausted for them. 

Launching their new EP next week, the boys were treated us to an ear-popping mix of originals including my own personal favourite 'Dirty fight'.

Bad Touch set up next as the rain continued to pour outside, fresh from their unplugged performance at the Gemini, Dereham. 

The boys took to the familiar stage – where they'll be performing again on Tuesday 24th September in support of Warrior Soul – to belt out a 40 minute set sprinkled with the usual party tracks 'Set the night on fire', 'Too late' and 'Waiting on the morning light'. 

An opportunity to try out some new songs on a familiar crowd, Skin's 'Look but don't touch' followed brand new original 'Good on me' in its full electric debut.

Next up came the winners of the festival, claiming the slot on tour with Lord Bishop, Four Wheel Drive, a loud, four-piece band that screams attitude and grabs all your senses with catchy beats and infectious riffs. 

Performing tracks from their recent EP, including 'Hammered Again' and 'High Roller', it was the perfect ending to an evening championing local musical talent.

Next up for Shock!Hazard is their Live EP Launch at the B2, Norwich on 22nd September, while Four Wheel Drive continue their UK tour at the Exmouth Pavillion on 27th September. 

For Bad Touch there's a 7.30pm slot at the Oval Rock House Reunion at Epic Studios, Norwich on Saturday, 21st September before the boys head back to the Railway.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Bad Touch Unplugged - Gemini, Dereham - 14/09/2013

There's was a different, more laid back atmosphere to gig day this Saturday as I approached the Gemini, Dereham for Bad Touch Unplugged. Running late meant I missed most of the warm up, a jamming session between lead singer Steve, drummer George, and Steve's friend Ali.

It's not the usual venue for a rock gig, a 'Meet & Eat' bar, packed with families chatting over plates full of pub classics. Tucked away to the left of the front door, the band were set up facing half of the would-be restaurant, cleared to allow space for the fans who piled into the Gemini.

Unusually, the band members positioned themselves on chairs and stools (and the beat box for George) and, after a few PA adjustments, introduced 'Water's edge', followed by Rolling Stones classic 'Jumping Jack flash'.

The acoustic version of second single 'Too late' came next, before the boys slowed things down with Bon Jovi's 'Wanted dead or alive'.

It was a hometown gig for the boys, and this was obvious with the amount of people singing along to the original Bad Touch tracks, including 'Call for me', 'Preacher' and 'Lock & Load', and the die-hards were treated to an inaugural acoustic performance of new song 'See you again'. Steve dedicated the track to his friend Ali, who wrote it with him almost 10 years ago.

Thoroughly spoiled, the audience was also introduced to another brand new song 'Good on me', a catchy upbeat number written about wearing womens' jeans – a topic close to the heart of a couple of band members who I won't mention.

Ironically, ZZ Top's 'Sharp dressed man' came next in a set completely different to the norm. It was nice to see the boys in a different environment, casually dressed, perched on stools, enjoying themselves and having a laugh still as they do at every single show.

Paying homage again to Led Zeppelin, and with a couple of tributes to legends Skin and Guns & Roses, the set took fans on a journey through the history of Bad Touch, from their idols and inspirations, to their own musical beginnings and more recent efforts, right through to brand new barely out-of-the-studio originals.

The busy weekend continues for the boys as they head to Ipswich to perform in the finals of the Insane Rock Festival courtesy of Lord Bishop at the Railway Venue – great preparation for their set at the Epic Rock House Reunion next Saturday.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Bad Touch & Strange Tail - Lady of the Lake, Oulton Broad - 06/09/2013

Oulton Broad was again treated to a Rock & Roll masterclass last Friday evening, as the Lady of the Lake played host to Bad Touch, supported by Strange Tail.

The place was already packed when we arrived just after 9pm, and people continued to pour through the front doors as Strange Tail took to the stage. Lead singer Toby J. Rous, the former frontman of Bad Touch made their presence felt as the Norwich-based 5-piece belted out originals and rock classics in an energetic high-tempo set.

Influenced heavily by the likes of Thin Lizzy and AC/DC, the band work really well together, there is clearly an understanding between the artists which allows them to work as a tight unit, despite only being together for 7 months.

Performing their first demo track 'Running for your love' as well as their take on Thin Lizzy's 'Don't believe a word' and 'Jailbreak', the guys are well and truly making their mark on the local rock scene – which is only going to be helped with their performance at the Epic Rock House Reunion on 21st September.

Joining them on that day will be the brilliant Bad Touch, who took to the stage next, and with the crowd already in the mood for a party, the performance of recent hits such as 'Set the night on fire' and 'Too Late' went down a treat.

Punctuated with covers, the Bad Touch boys continued the nod to Thin Lizzy by performing their ultimate hit 'Whiskey in the jar', as well as Led Zeppelin's fantastic 'Rock & Roll, to the delight of the crowd that packed out the venue yet again for the boys.

Having been busy in their home studio, Bad Touch introduced the audience to some new tracks, including two originals 'Halfway Home' and 'See you again', as well as Skin's classic 'Look but don't touch' to bring a new, fresh edge to their performance.

Seeks and Bailey combined perfectly during fans' favourite and rock party track 'Waiting on the morning light', while Rob expertly held proceedings together during 'Preacher' with an awe-inspiring performance on lead guitar.

The gig gave the opportunity for Bad Touch fans to celebrate with George on his birthday, and he was centre of attention for an epic drum solo, complete with cowbell of course, during 'Lock & Load'. Stevie took full advantage of the atmosphere in the venue, mixing up the original track with 'Word up' and 'Hot in here' for the highlight of the night.

'Down' brought the mammoth 2 hour set to a close, but instead of screaming for more, the crowd burst into a random chorus of 'Happy Birthday' for George, who thanked the audience as the lights came back on and people started to disperse into the night.

Next up for the boys is an acoustic set at the Gemini, Dereham on Saturday, before the finals of the Lord Bishop 'Insane Rock Festival' at the Railway, Ipswich on Sunday.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Bad Touch - Brickfest - 26/08/2013

The Brickmakers Norwich played host to the brilliant Brickfest music festival last Monday in aid of Sprowston Junior School, and with 3 stages fully booked all day, the £2 entry fee was an absolute bargain.

It was hardly surprising that queues formed outside as the large venue was at full capacity, with Bad Touch headlining at B2 stage and Aftershock finishing proceedings on the Brickies stage after a day of top quality music from many different genres.

The Brickies stage proudly hosted a wealth of local talent including Strange Tail, Tattooed Lies and Pure Passion, and there was literally no room to move as the audience was packed out all day with rock and pop fans of all ages.

An acoustic tent stood proudly in the garden surrounded by bouncy castles, food stalls and dozens of people enjoying the glorious bank holiday sunshine. With the likes of The Black Diamond Duo, Jade Murray and Lee Vann entertaining the crowds who sought solace outdoors, the musical contrast between indoors and outside was vast, but worked perfectly to please the massive crowds all day long.
We spent most of our day at the B2 stage, watching some great local rock bands including Wicked Faith and Blind Tiger, who have completely changed their sound since I last saw them in 2011. Sounding much more mainstream rock now, they are a tight and professional outfit with plenty of songwriting talent.

Dying Breeds brought some punk rock to proceedings just after 9 o'clock, before the Bad Touch boys set up ready for a headlining performance. With most of the band having been at the Brickies all day supporting other local talent, they were definitely in the party mood as 'Set the night on fire' kicked off a high-tempo, energetic set.

The B2 stage area was packed, and with a fenced off area for the band, Stevie felt right at home playing to the crowds, suitably dressed for the occasion in a fetching leopard print shirt. 'Dr Heartbreak' followed in a set dominated with brilliant original tracks that really got the crowd moving.

In true Bad Touch style though, the boys mixed things up during the classic track 'Lock and Load', as George and Bailey changed the tempo following Rob G's instrumental to introduce a little bit of 80's disco in the form of 'Word Up' and some classic Naughties' rap in 'Hot in Here' to add an unexpected twist to their performance.

'Too Late' and 'Waiting on the morning light' went down a treat as the Brickfest event sadly drew to a close, before we were reminded by Stevie why we were all there. He took the opportunity to thank the venue, congratulate the other performers, and introduce some 'good, old-fashioned rock and roll' as the sounds of Led Zeppelin's epic single filled the room.
Finishing with fans' favourite and perfectly written track 'Down', the boys finished the event off in fantastic style. A great day was had by all for a bargain price considering the wealth of talent on offer at the Brickmakers on the last Bank Holiday weekend before Christmas, and I couldn't imagine spending mine any other way.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Bad Touch - Carlton 16/08/2013 & Flying Dutchman 24/08/2013

August has been a good month for Bad Touch fans of North Suffolk, as the boys performed there twice in eight days at The Carlton, Lowestoft and the Flying Dutchman, Oulton Broad.

With their local presence in the area growing by the month, the Carlton was a new venue for the boys, and they squeezed into the performing space provided to complete two 45 minute sets.

Packed with Bad Touch fans old and new, the pub is starting to stamp its authority as an upcoming live music venue, and with money in the pot for the completion of its refurbishment, their PR campaign is bound to be successful.

With the PA whirring to the sound of 'Set the night on fire', the ageing windows looked to be feeling the full force of rock & roll as the glass panes vibrated in their frames, seemingly dancing to the top quality music inside.

Completing the set looked unlikely at the beginning of the night, with rhythm guitarist Seeks genuinely suffering with a viral infection, but his professionalism shone through as he saw the show through to the very end, making the very sensible decision not to sing and backing vocals as he could barely speak.

Combining classic covers and original tracks perfectly, the pace flipped between party rock and moody ballad – from the likes of Bon Jovi's 'Wanted Dead or Alive' to original anthem 'Waiting on the Morning Light'.

The highlight of the show had to be the 'Lock and Load' mash up with Nelly's 'Hot in Here', featuring an epic drum solo by George and some pretty impressive rapping by Stevie, who actually managed two verses of the R&B classic by the time the boys performed at the Flying Dutchman on the 24th.

Sporting a new stage area and plenty of room for the crowds to enjoy the music, the Flying Dutchman too has had some impressive work done, making for a much better gig experience. With one whole side of the pub now a dedicated performance area, it's a welcome upgrade, and with friendly bar staff and 'Coronitas' on offer (Tequila slush with a Corona), the venue has improved dramatically.

Following the cancellation of a show in Doncaster for the Friday night, the Flying Dutchman gig was unexpected and fairly last minute, not that you'd be able to tell that with the boys performing to a really high standard as usual.

The gig saw the debut performance of their brand new track 'Halfway Home', a bluesy, soulful song with meaningful lyrics and a fantastic melody. With an unmistakable catchy Bad Touch sing-a-long tag line, it's sure to be another memorable classic.

Rob was his usual brilliant self, excelling particularly during 'Preacher', but looked glad of the rest as he chilled out, sitting down on stage during George's 'Lock & Load' drum solo.

A last-minute set change saw the boys perform 'Superstition' and Bailey expertly kicked the song from Stevie Wonder style to Bad Touch style effortlessly on the Bass guitar.

Finishing with 'Down', the boys have yet another successful gig under their belts, in preparation for their headlining performance on the B2 stage at Brickfest on Bank Holiday Monday before heading into a very busy September.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Bad Touch - Reepham Festival & The Crown, Reepham 11/08/2013

Driving down the narrow lanes of rural Norfolk last Sunday afternoon, I was getting a little concerned that this gig wouldn't live up to expectations. Taking a turn down 'Nowhere Lane' didn't help matters. Sat Nav assured me I was just over a mile away from Whitwell Station, the Sunday home of the Reepham Music Festival;  but I couldn't see any signs of life, so began to wonder.

Then, a winding road and a sharp right turn later, I pulled up in a car park and saw the Bad Touch minibus. We were in the right place! The weather was gorgeous and Whitwell Station was heaving - and so not what I was expecting.

In the distance I could hear the sounds of children cheering and the chug of a train, and as I walked through a corridor of unique food and craft stalls, the sound got closer. As an outsider, I wasn't so sure what kind of welcome we'd receive as we approached the large crisp white marquee, but everyone smiled and greeted me like I was one of their own.

The tent itself was unusual to say the least. With a proper floor, chairs and tables and a well-stocked bar, it wasn't quite what you expect from a music festival, where browning grass, plastic cups of one type of ale and standing room only are generally par for the course. This was a very welcome surprise.

We set ourselves up behind the tent on the green for a little while to soak up a few rays and take in our surroundings. It was then that the childrens' cheers from earlier finally made sense – the kids were invited to take a short ride on the tracks on an old engine – that must have made their day – much more fun than the standard fairground rides offered at festivals these days and very in-keeping with the feel of the Reepham Music Festival.

5:10 pm approached and we stationed ourselves at the front of the posh music tent ready for Bad Touch to rock the party. And they did just that, introducing themselves with 'Set the night on fire'. The sound was great and well-organised by the volunteers of the festival, and meant the boys could really concentrate on performing a top quality set, with 'Dr Heartbreak' coming next.

Picture courtesy of Kevin Huckle/Sundance Photography

Stevie made sure that every member of the crowd was on their feet by the time 'Too Late' and 'Waiting on the morning light' reverberated around the station, and, in a set filled with original tracks including 'Mirror Man' and 'Preacher', I think the boys found themselves quite a few new fans of all ages.

Suggesting a revolving stage for next year, the boys attracted the attention of those still revelling in the sunshine behind the marquee, who crowded around behind George to join in the fun. All eyes were well and truly transfixed on the young musicians from just down the road in Dereham; and when the only cover of the set – the final song on the list - was introduced, and Led Zeppelin's epic 'Rock and Roll' filled the room, the boys – and the audience were in their element.

Screaming for more, the crowd was delighted when the boys took their positions one more time and belted out the fantastic 'Down', finishing a pitch-perfect performance off in style. The queues for merchandise were a welcome addition – as was the announcement of another gig that evening – just down the road at the Crown.

Shock Hazard took to the stage following Bad Touch, and although I didn't get to see much of them, by all accounts they went down really well too, closing this fantastic festival for 2013 – and we all really hope it'll be back again next year.

During the break between gigs, we had a walk around the little market town and were impressed with the feel of the place, a real community with traditional pubs, independent stores and a church lining the main street. Settling in to a little nook in the gorgeous Kings Arms pub, we decided food would be a good idea. What a perfect place to choose for a bite to eat and a break away from the crowds. With old-world charm and vast menu choice, we were impressed with the price, the people and the quality of the food. It's no real surprise this place has been in the Good Pub Guide for consecutive years.

So, on it was to the Crown just a mile or so away from the main square. By 8pm the pub was already heaving, and the band's fans, old and new, continued to pile in to check the boys out for the second time in only a few hours.

Setting up in the small games room of the pub, the Bad Touch stage show was a little more cramped than it was at Whitwell Station, but they equally as mesmerising, as the boys were able to connect with the audience who were within touching distance – making for a really raw, gritty performance.

With two 45 minute sets sprinkled with some classic rock covers, including 'Whole lotta Rosie', 'Jumping Jack Flash' and 'Whisky in the Jar', the pub was bouncing, and the heat was intense as the crowd piled into the tight space.

Stevie ensured the rest of the pub was involved in the show by walking through the immediate crowds to perform for the fans who couldn't squeeze into the games room. His stage presence and charisma is magnetic.

Some of the set was repeated from the daytime show, but you could hear those tracks all day and not be bored, and one of these, 'Waiting on the morning light' allowed Bailey to perform an absolute masterclass on the bass guitar. 'Poison in a pretty dress' was dragged from the archives and went down a storm, while Rob excelled on lead guitar in AC/DC's epic 'Sweet child of mine'.

Despite the tight stage area, Seeks played his usual part, with his patched-up Les Paul in hand, he darted around the stage area, and even into the crowd encouraging his bandmates and the audience to give that little bit more, and even treated us all to a lesson in playing the guitar with a 'Coca Cola' glass during the cover of Led Zeppelin's 'Whole lotta love'.

George kept the beat going brilliantly for the whole 90 minutes, and despite clearly struggling with the intense heat, he was obviously enjoying every second, coming into his own during the second set, performing Mr Brownstone perfectly.

It was hard to believe this was a Sunday night – most of the audience, including myself (and some of the band) were in work only a few hours later, but the party atmosphere from the festival had overspilled to the evening, and with the Bad Touch boys giving their all, leaving the Crown early was not an option.

The 50-mile journey home was totally worth it, and I hope to come back next year, hopefully for both days of the event to really appreciate the unique atmosphere of the Reepham Music Festival. A great community of lovely people, a brilliant day was had by hundreds.

For Bad Touch, the hard work continues, with a performance at the Carlton, Lowestoft on Friday. Entry is free so please come along and see a great gig as the boys rack up the shows – and the miles – in preparation for the Quireboys Tour in October.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Vicfest, Martham, Norfolk 04/08/2013

The summer festival season is well underway, and this weekend's Vicfest in Martham may have been one of the least well-known, but it was certainly one of the best, as a wide array of musicians descended on this small village in Norfolk to celebrate the one thing that brings us together in all its forms – music.

Taking place over a weekend in aid of the East Anglian Air Ambulance, Vicfest is refreshingly different. Set in the grounds of the Victoria Inn, the main tent dominates the area, and is well laid out, with a stage at either end and an all-important bar stocked with lagers, ciders and ales half way along the back wall.

Outside the main tent, there's plenty of space for families to set themselves up to enjoy the afternoon, with a couple of food stalls selling decent quality meals at fair prices down one side. Campers who stayed for the whole weekend (and why wouldn't you want to?) had plenty of space on the grounds too, and the facilities themselves were impressive as festivals go.

But, people didn't go just to sit on the grass and enjoy the sunshine, or eat a thai curry from the stalls, they went to enjoy the music. And you couldn't help but love the huge variety of acts that were chosen to play this year.

Covering every genre from rock to folk, and from blues to indie, the event was very well organised. As one band completes its set on the main stage, the acoustic stage gets the thumbs-up from the sound man, and the transfer in instant, no waiting around for another band to set up and sound check, it's seamless and professional.

We joined in the fun on Sunday afternoon, just as Big Black Cadillac were finishing their set, and from what I saw, I'm sorry I missed it. Bringing back the sounds of the 1950's, this four-piece had the audience jiving in the summer sunshine.

Banjax, a local Great Yarmouth acoustic trio were next to impress, with their catchy takes on pop favourites like Paulo Nutini's 'New Shoes' and Katie Perry's 'Hot & Cold', before Cambridge-based garage rock group Violet Bones took to the main stage and belted out original tracks from their album 'Decline of Vaudeville' with passion and power. As the flip between stages continued, Tom Pearce bravely took to the stage armed with his acoustic guitar to take the audience on a journey with his storytelling style and meaningful lyrics.

As the sun started to cool and the evening set in, the sound of the Second Hand Blues reverberated around the festival grounds, and those still enjoying the last warm rays made their way inside the tent to enjoy the show. Having been together for five years, this trio sounds professional and tight and has performed alongside the likes of Terry Reid and Dr Feelgood. With the main stage then free for Bad Touch to set up, Addison's Uncle took to the acoustic stage to provide light relief from the heavy riffs and drum beats, adding a folk-rock sound to the evening's entertainment.

As the audience turned its attention once again to the main stage, the disco lights came on and the PA whirred with the sounds of Bad Touch. Stevie introduced the band with debut single 'Set the night on fire' before belting out AC/DC classic and crowd favourite 'Whole lotta Rosie'. With the growing crowd completely hooked, the time was right for a selection of original tracks, kicking off with the funky Dr Heartbreak showing off Bailey's bass-playing skills to perfection.

On his new drum set, George took charge in the brilliant performance of second single 'Too late' before Seeks took centre stage with a great rhythm guitar introduction to the upbeat party track 'Waiting on the morning light'. Talking directly to his audience, Stevie shone during 'New Day', during which he told the crowd that the new day 'is yours, and it's mine for the taking'.

'Preacher' followed, which saw the boys get serious with a bluesy instrumental, headed up by a mesmerising lead guitar performance by Rob G. The brilliantly written latest single 'Mirror Man' followed, before the party got into full swing with the introduction of some 'good, old fashioned rock & roll' courtesy of the legendary Led Zeppelin and covered to perfection by the Bad Touch boys, who seemed to be enjoying the show as much as the crowd.

With a 45 minute slot at the festival, there was only time for one more song, and it could be no other than fans' favourite 'Down', a track which reminds me of so many classic rock tracks over the decades, catchy and timeless, and one which deserves its own little place in rock history.

The Bad Touch faithful were satisfied, but Vicfest had more to offer, with Bill Downs finishing proceedings with his meaningful, powerful acoustic set before handing over to headlining act Dumbfoundus. The Gorleston-born duo, Noel and Nathan, introduced an unexpected but brilliant reggae sound to the Norfolk coast to bring this amazing weekend festival to a close.

As a first-time visitor to Vicfest, I was not disappointed. The work done by the staff behind the scenes ensured that this festival was professionally run, distinctly different, and a massive breath of fresh Norfolk air.

Bad Touch Live at The Kind Edward VII, Norwich 03/08/2013

Life as a Bad Touch fan is never dull, it doesn't matter how many times you see the boys take to the stage and perform their hearts out, each and every time feels like the first. With their inherent ability to capture and keep the audience captive throughout the whole show – whether it's a 40 minute support set or a 2 hour acoustic session – every single gig brings new observations and experiences, no two performances ever feel the same.

Which is lucky when you're attending two in one weekend, like this week, when the boys were invited to perform at Vicfest on Sunday, but first, they were back at their old stomping ground, and their second home – the King Edward VII, Norwich.

Filled with familiar faces and a handful of new fans, the Eddie first played host to the brilliant Sansara on Saturday evening. Finishing their summer UK tour in Norwich as support for Bad Touch, they're definitely one to watch. The alternative rock four-piece from Bournemouth really impressed, performing tracks from their 'Let it Burn' EP. They remind me of a blend of Nickleback and Black Stone Cherry and lead singer Tom Sawyer has an infectious voice and stage presence, and, speaking to the guys after the show, they really have the right attitude and work ethic to be successful.

The Bad Touch boys had a task on their hands to follow the excellent Sansara, but, as always, the second the sound check started, the atmosphere intensified and the sense of expectation and excitement increased, the boys were really up for this one following a three week break.

Playing tried and tested tracks, including Animal Farm singles 'Set the night on fire', 'Too late' and 'Mirror Man', every single performance between now and October is perfect practice for the upcoming Quireboys Tour – seeing the boys support the rock legends on their 11-date trip around England and Scotland.

The best thing about the show was the off-the-cuff decisions. It's always good when bands assess the expectations of the audience when deciding on a set list, and Bad Touch did just that – changing tracks on stage and maintaining the interest of the crowd while they rolled out the classics, including 'Poison in a Pretty Dress', although, disappointingly (for some!), 'Lock & Load' failed to make an appearance.

Cover versions 'Wanted dead or alive', 'Sweet home Alabama' and 'Rock & Roll' went down a storm, and it's a wonder how the boys managed to see out a full 90 minute set. The Eddie is always a warm venue thanks to the dark walls and tight stage area, but Saturday was stifling, making Bad Touch's energetic stage show all the more incredible.

Saturday also saw the debut performance for George's gorgeous new Natal drum kit and personalised Baskey rug – thankfully the kit has space for the all-important cowbell, and has a really crisp sound allowing for a much sharper beat that will go down really well on tour.

Completing the show with the anthem 'Down', there was little time for rest, as the Bad Touch boys travelled to East Norfolk on Sunday afternoon for an evening performance on the main stage at the brilliant Vicfest Festival in Martham.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Bad Touch live at The Willow Festival, Peterborough 14/07/2013

It was a humid but cloudy morning as Bad Touch left Dereham behind for an afternoon performance at the country's biggest free music festival in Peterborough, but the midday sun soon burned through and brought with it the hottest day of the year so far.

With a 1.40pm start time, there was little opportunity to soak up the atmosphere of the festival before the boys took to the stage in the GP tent, instead many of the Bad Touch faithful used the time to get amongst the crowds handing out wristbands and generating interest.

It clearly worked as the tent filled up with people of all ages ready to enjoy a bit of good old fashioned rock & roll, and, after a last-minute set list change, the tent shook with the sound of AC/DC's classic 'Whole lotta Rosie'.

Once the crowds were hooked, the boys introduced some of their own quality tracks, including 'Dr Heartbreak', 'Too late' and 'Waiting on the morning light' – a personal favourite which shows off the qualities of each band member to perfection.

Bad Touch as usual had a little bit of fun with 'Preacher', which was lapped up by the growing audience in the tent – which might have been a shelter from the blistering sun, but there was no escape from the stifling humidity, so it was no surprise the boys – led by Rob G on guitar, made the most of the bluesy instrumental before kicking into top gear again for latest single 'Mirror man'.

'One last chance' came next to show that Bad Touch are anything but a one trick band; as well as the high-tempo, blow-your-eardrums rock & roll party tracks, the boys are capable of well-written, melodic rock ballads too, and play them with as much passion and quality as every song they perform.

Highlighting another of their musical influences, Stevie introduced the Led Zeppelin classic 'Rock & roll' to the delight of the crowd, and the boys finished their 40 minute set with the epic, former 'Tourdates Unsigned Chart' number 1, 'Down' – on the same day it was announced that 'Outta the dark' had also claimed top spot in the chart.

After a rapturous applause, the crowds dispersed and the band cleared away their gear and had an opportunity to check out the other sights and sounds of the Willow Festival. In the shadow of the beautiful Peterborough Cathedral, and set on the banks of the River Nene, the event welcomed around 50,000 people over three days and there was plenty of entertainment on offer.

Independent concession stalls and alternative food outlets dominated one edge of the festival grounds, while the opposite side was populated by a funfair to keep the kids entertained. Showcasing musical skills from acoustic folk to heavy metal and everything in between, there were various tents dotted around the park, so there was plenty to see and do. The acoustic tent stood like a beacon in the centre of the green and the other stages fanned out from there. It was impossible to watch every act over the weekend, but there's no doubting its appeal, as thousands poured in to soak up the atmosphere, and, of course, the beautiful weather.

Bad Touch now take a three week break before the next performance in their spiritual home (and the place which saw me write my first review!) the King Edward VII in Norwich on 3rd August, before travelling to Martham for Vicfest the following day.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Dave Evans & Bad Touch - The Railway, Ipswich - 11/07/2013

The Bad Touch faithful descended on The Railway Venue Ipswich on Thursday evening as the boys performed in support of AC/DC's original singer, Dave Evans and his band in an evening of top quality rock & roll.

With plenty of support travelling to the Suffolk capital, Bad Touch took the familiar stage to belt out a 40 minute set packed with high energy classics, kicking off with 'Set the night on fire' and 'Dr Heartbreak'.

Introducing himself and the rest of the band, Stevie used their nicknames from the official video for second single 'Too Late' – Moustache introduced Seeks, Ginger and Hair, stopping short of revealing Rob G's nickname through fear of the evil glare.

'Too late' duly followed, along with 'Morning light' and 'New day' before the boys had a bit of fun with 'Preacher', Rob G showing his rhythm & blues roots off to perfection on lead guitar with an extended instrumental.

Latest single 'Mirror man' and Led Zeppelin classic 'Rock & Roll' came next, and Stevie thanked everyone he could think of – a gratitude sadly lacking from the headlining act - before the boys finished with fans' favourite 'Down'.

It was time for Dave Evans to take to the stage as a few more fans filtered through the doors, and as one of the founder members of the legendary AC/DC, there was a sense of expectation from the audience, and he didn't disappoint, starting his set with the one single he recorded with the band 'Can I sit next to you girl' and its B-side 'Rockin in the parlour'.

Performing tracks from his own back catalogue, including 'We don't dance to your song' and 'Judgement day', Dave Evans provided a good blend of originals and AC/DC covers, as well as showing off his UK band in an epic guitar solo in 'Baby please don't go'.

Finishing on a high, he belted out the classics 'TNT', 'Highway to hell' and 'Whole lotta Rosie' before abruptly leaving the stage while the crowd shouted for more. Dave and his band duly obliged with 'Let there be rock'. 

Another successful night at the Railway as the crowd dispersed with the sounds of rock & roll through the ages ringing in their ears; which will hopefully have recovered for Bad Touch's afternoon performance at the Willow Festival, Peterborough on Sunday 14th July. The boys go on stage at 1:40pm, but get there early to claim your spot in the sunshine.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Bad Touch & Tim Frost - Cherry Tree, Dereham, 06/07/2013

Having watched Bad Touch perform in cities and towns around the UK, from London to Liverpool, nothing really compares to seeing them on their own turf. The boys came home this Saturday evening, packing out the Cherry Tree for a record-breaking night in the little pub on the corner.

The sun had been scorching all day, and the beer garden was packed hours before the support act even took to the stage; there was a sense of anticipation in the air – it was going to be a great night.

Good friend of Bad Touch, Tim Frost performed first with a brilliantly different guitar instrumental session. With the help of best friend Stevie managing the backing track, Tim bravely took to the stage with nothing for support but his guitar and effects pedal.

Despite his nerves, Tim played plenty of songs from his new album, including 'Legacy', 'Infinity Ground' and the impressive 'Determination'. Despite the lack of vocals, Tim's music takes you on a journey and it's clear he's really passionate about what he does.

With a rocky edge and a few nods to his former life in a local metal band, 40 minutes simply fly by. Tim has a genuine humbleness about him which is endearing, and makes you enjoy his performance all the more. He will be supporting Wicked Faith at the Suffolk Punch, Lowestoft of Friday 12th July, so get there if you can and show your support.

As Tim Frost completed his set, the band members started to emerge from all corners of the pub – and did a quick sound check using the classic 'All right now' to get the crowd in the party mood, before a needless introduction to Bad Touch and their first single 'Set the night on fire'.

The pub was absolutely packed, and with dozens squeezed into the bar where the band were set up, it was roasting hot and Stevie was feeling it, losing his shirt to reveal a tank top after only a couple of tracks.

The rest of the boys managed, somehow, to stay fully clothed as 'Whole lotta Rosie', 'Dr Heartbreak' – performed amazingly by Bailey on bass - and 'Too late' followed in a blow-your-ears-off opening, gratefully received by the large audience.

Playing to so many familiar faces must be quite a nervy experience, but they didn't let it show at all as 'Call for me' and 'Morning light' were belted out with passion and power, before the boys finally took a bit of a break performing Bon Jovi's rock ballad 'Wanted dead or alive'.

Bad Touch have come a long way since their first ever gig in Dereham, and they've picked up plenty of tips along the way making their performances tight and professional from start to finish, and their songwriting skills were shown in 'New day' 'Lying and losing' and 'Water's edge'.

The set-list was dotted with some classic rock covers done Bad Touch style, and Thin Lizzy's 'Whiskey in the jar' came as a welcome surprise, followed by Rob G's mesmerising guitar performance in the original classic 'Preacher'.

The tempo was rapidly increased again as 'Outta the dark' and 'Poison in a pretty dress' almost lifted the roof off the Cherry Tree – both are such party anthems with catchy tag lines and great drum beats, which gave George the opportunity to show his skills with the sticks.

Rob and Seeks worked together in perfect harmony for 'Sweet home Alabama', before Stevie introduced the latest single 'Mirror Man'. As the long show came to a close, 'One last chance', a mainstay of the Bad Touch set-list, and the anthem 'Down', reverberated around the pub to rapturous applause .

With the crowd screaming for more, the boys duly obliged with 'Sweet child of mine'. If it was their choice, I think the Dereham faithful would have had a 3 hour encore, especially as it'll be another two months before the band return, this time at the Gemini on 21st September.

Next, Bad Touch travel to the Railway Venue, Ipswich this Thursday 11th July, to support Dave Evans, the original singer of the legendary AC/DC, before heading to Peterborough for an afternoon performance at the Willow Festival on Sunday 14th.