Sunday, 30 June 2013

Bad Touch / Jettblack / Bonafide - Yardbirds, Grimsby 29/06/2013

Nestled away in a side street of Grimsby is an unassuming little rock venue. Surrounded by boarded-up shops, second-hand car sales yards and unmistakably 60's concrete slab buildings, the Yardbirds is a breath of fresh air and completely unexpected.

The stage is positioned in the far left corner of the room, allowing for perfect acoustics, and the bar runs the full length of the right hand wall – meaning there's plenty of space in between to enjoy the music – and what a show it was this Saturday as Bad Touch, Jettblack and Bonafide well and truly rocked this dockside town to its very foundations.

As the lights dimmed in the venue all eyes were on the stage in anticipation and expectation. The sound of guitar engulfed the room as Bad Touch started the party – with Stevie – dressed in a smart waistcoat and jacket introducing the band's first single 'Set the night on fire'.

It was good to see the boys back on stage after a month off, and it looks to have done them the world of good – there was so much energy pouring out of every band member, and their instruments were feeling the full force – George's bass drum almost left the mini drum stage on more than one occasion.

'Dr Heartbreak' followed, allowing Bailey to really excel on the bass guitar, assuming his trademark head-banging stance before Stevie introduced 'New Day' and Seeks took centre stage for the up-tempo party track 'Morning Light'. Their last single 'Too Late' came next – on the same day the boys approved the final cut of the video to accompany the song – now available on YouTube on the badtouchrockstv channel.

Rob G showed us what we'd been missing as he came into his own during 'Preacher', and 'Mirror Man' duly followed; the next single to be released through Animal Farm records, available on iTunes now. 'One Last Chance' and 'Rock & Roll' started to wrap things up for Bad Touch before the boys finished with what can now only be described as an anthem adored by fans old and new – and former Number 1 of the Tourdates unsigned music chart -'Down'.

Having well and truly warmed up the large crowd packed into the Yardbirds, Bad Touch left the stage to the brilliant Jettblack who carried on the party and showed why they're so successful serving up a power punch of true rock & roll.
Armed with a catalogue of catchy classic tracks from albums 'Get your hands dirty' and 'Raining rock', the four-piece needed no introduction, instead stamping their musical authority belting out favourites including 'Prison of love' and 'Two hot girls'. Inspired by late 80's and early 90's rock, AC/DC meets Metallica with a mix of original melodies and unmistakable guitar solos which without doubt left the Yardbirds crowd wanting more .

Frontman Will Stapleton owned the stage and made it look so easy – commanding the attention and respect of the appreciative crowd before him. With heavy riffs and a powerful set list, it's no surprise they're a rock band in high demand – travelling up to Scotland straight after the Yardbirds gig to perform at Lesfest.

As if that wasn't enough pure rock energy for one night, Sweedish favourites Bonafide claimed the final set and didn't disappoint with a thoroughly professional stage show. Pontus Snibb and his bandmates mesmerised with their traditional rhythm & blues tones for over an hour.

The Quintessential rock & roll band, Bonafide performed tracks from their self-titled album released back in 2007, right up to new anthems including 'Doing the Pretty', 'The Mess' and 'Too Fired Up'. Having toured Europe supporting the likes of Deep Purple and Status Quo, these guys have no problem whatsoever captivating an audience, and joined Jettblack performing at Lesfest the following night.

Bad Touch will be linking up with Bonafide again on the Quireboys UK Tour in October, performing in 10 major cities in England and Scotland. Tickets for the tour are available via Ticketweb.

While Bonafide and Jettblack continue to tour the UK, next up for Bad Touch is a hometown gig at the Cherry Tree, Dereham, next Saturday 6th July, with support from brilliant guitarist Tim Frost.
Check out the video to 'Too Late' here
Download 'Mirror Man' from iTunes here

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Charity Event - The Crypt, Norwich - 30/05/2013

The spooky, atmospheric 'Crypt' in Norwich played host to a charity event organised by local band The Upgrade to raise as much money as possible for Link Community Development. Established to help build schools and provide education for communities in Africa, the event was for a very good cause, and local talented musicians showed their support by performing on the night.

Alison MacKinnon started proceedings with a beautiful acoustic set, performing a good selection of self-written pieces, which showed off her soulful voice to perfection. With a sound similar to Jewel when she hits the high notes, Alison did a couple of covers to encourage audience participation, including a Maroon 5 classic.

As if organising the event wasn't enough hard work, the Upgrade performed a set themselves, and as more people arrived down the stairs into the Crypt, the sound of drums filled the tiny room. The acoustics were excellent for a rock gig, I just wonder whether the original builders of the unique underground vault knew it would be a music venue thousands of years later. A blend of influences is clear in The Upgrade's music, but the hints of Green Day and Muse are tangible.

With exciting news to announce, Wicked Faith were up next. Delighted to promote the release of their new album 'Under No Illusion', the band have surely made some new fans based on their performance at the Crypt. Uniquely different, the four-piece band is fronted by Jade Murray, who has plenty of stage presence and charisma, which makes it hard not to watch them. With a multitude of influences, it's difficult to compare them to anyone, but they have a love for heavy bass-lines and skillful riffs which will be sure to make them one to watch.

For Bad Touch, the event was the last gig for a month as the boys are set to take a well-earned rest in preparation for their tour with the Quireboys in October and a packed out diary well into the new year. Stevie took every opportunity to get the crowd to donate more money to the worthy cause, and remind everyone of the purpose of the evening. The boys had spent the whole day filming a new video for latest single 'Too Late', but the song still adorned the set list, and was the highlight. 'One last chance' was squeezed in at last minute, and the band brought the night to a close with the classic 'Down'. Which is certainly how their fans felt knowing it would be a month before the next show.

Check out Facebook for the latest news on Alison MacKinnon, The Upgrade, Wicked Faith and Bad Touch for the latest gig listings and new releases. For more information on the charity, or to make a donation, simply visit