Synergy Protocol UK Chaos Tour Photos

This week Synergy Protocol made their way from the Netherlands to play their UK Chaos Tour. Supported by UK based The Last Of Us, the tour has so far taken in Ilfracombe, Redhill, Sheffield, Wakefield, Northampton and Evesham, with Wellingborough and Neath still to go. Femetalism have been supporting the band on this tour and were really pleased to be able to see them perform in both Sheffield and Wakefield.  

Synergy Protocol were incredibly energetic, enthusiastic and utterly fantastic. The whole performance was well put together and the band clearly work well together; playing each others instruments, carrying out some gymnastics and generally fooling around, whilst also blasting out some of the best progressive metal I have heard in a long time. The paper aeroplanes were a lovely touch to throw about during Flight From Terra and attracted lots of crowd participation.

In an unexpected turn of events Laura has announced that she will be leaving the band in the very near future. There are still two dates left on the UK tour (Wellingborough and Neath) so, if you have a chance to see them, make sure you do!

Here are some photos I captured on Tuesday night in Wakefield.  See the full set on out photo page

Synergy Protocol

The Last Of Us

Review of The Maension and The Ambivalent at the Dove and Rainbow, Sheffield, August 5th, 2014. 
by Rowan Blair Colver

A typical August Tuesday in Sheffield sees a few familiar faces out and about on the rock scene, many of whom choose the Dove and Rainbow as their regular haunt for its classic real ales, decent lagers and ample top shelf but most importantly for the ultimate dedication they have for what it means to rock. Being a traditional pub with a long served history of rock and metal, the adequate stage provides a brilliant setting for local and touring bands who want to raise hair, pulses and pints. 
On this particular Tuesday evening, the bill was a little less typical. All the way from LA, via many cities in Europe before hand, we were treated to the musical mastery of two fresh, talented and hard working bands. Choosing to start much later than usual, the night kicked off around ten to ten. The bar was filled with more than a few handfuls of people, being on a work night didn't stop everybody. It was well worth the wait.
The Ambivalent took to the stage first and opened up the show with a set of powerful heavy rock music that shook the venue to attention. It wasn't long before the front of the stage was gathering bodies and we all enjoyed a selection of catchy and familiar sounding material. The edge they carried was with the fusion of almost dirty grungy guitar sounds with technical keyboard playing which created a unique balance of brilliance and energy. 
They were all enjoying themselves, and for me that is a true sign of band quality. The music came from their place of contentment and with their obvious rehearsal efforts and professionalism this formula is what allows them to tour Europe and beyond knowing themselves on the right path. 
Following from the formulated mayhem and groove brought by The Ambivalent, a short DJ session filled the time it took for The Maension to set up their stage. A few people went out to catch a crafty cigarette while others queued at the bar for the next round. Before the atmosphere had completely returned to normality, the stage became the centrepiece for what was to be an awesome set. 
Fronted by Mark Maension, a truly charismatic Italian guitarist and singer with predator style bright purple dreadlocks, The Maension took the level up one more notch. Their stage presence was awe inspiring, with each member owning their space and sound with confidence and style. The tight and intelligent bass from the left hand side carried though the pounding thrashy drums perfectly while the guitar simply ripped through everything in melodic claps of thunder. On the right of the stage came the punchy riffs from Skye, the keytarist. An unusual instrument for a metal band, with the only time I have seen one used before in this genre being sporadically with Children of Bodom.  She totally dominated the keys and synthesised pads while standing tall and forward like any great rock guitarist, a great combination of sound and delivery.  
It was getting late but I didn't notice and I don't believe many others did either. Controlled excitement and safely expressed musical aggression kept the energy high, while psychedelic undertones gave everything a much more interesting edge than what we may have expected. Dressed well, rehearsed and polished beautifully then delivered with an excellence comparable to stadium bands, I truly enjoyed my evening. A pleasure to see these artists perform in a local and intimate setting, perhaps in the not too distant future they will be booking the Academy just up the road and round the corner. They deserve to as they clearly put in every ounce of their person to achieve what is so far a truly awesome musical experience. 
Check out their websites for more info and future dates.
The Maension Official Site 
The Ambivalent Reverb Nation page



The Peckham Cowboys/The Bleedin’ Noses - Crumlin, The Patriot - 14th March 2014PrintE-mail
Written by Nev Brooks & Johnny H   
Friday, 21 March 2014 03:00

What a cracking prospect of a night we have ahead of us at The Patriot. The boys from Saaaarfff London, who not just to my mind but to a large number of the collective Uber Rock massive - who incidentally had turned out in force all with knowing winks and nods - that we could be in for something special. That’s because, and let’s put it out there, ‘10 Tales From The Gin Palace’ the second album from tonight’s headliners sits easily as the release of the year to date. No damn question about it. Although tonight it’s Johnny H who’ll have the honour of reviewing them, not yours truly.


BNLet’s also put something else into the mix too. We also have a local band on the bill. A band who have started selling out venues everywhere they play, and recently pulling nearly 500 discerning punters into just one of our other underused local venues, Blackwood Miners’ Institute. The Bleedin’ Noses are picking (excuse the pun) up momentum and interest on a huge scale right now and are also starting to garner interest on the other side of the pond. This is also a band whose debut LP I raved about here on Uber Rock was back in 2012, so I must know something about this thing called music eh?


All of this was on offer for £4 Yup you just read that right, £4 you just had to go to this right? Well it would be plain rude not to.


On with the music and chatting with Johnny H during the soundchecks and he pipes up with the nugget that he thinks The Bleedin’ Noses have a hint of The Rockingbirds about them. Something to which I cannot really disagree although more so live than on LP. In fact they also have a hell of a blues fee to them live, with guitarist Kev provided some of the finest slide geetar touches I’ve heard in quite a few years of gig going. As musicians the six guys who make up The Bleedin’ Noses really can’t be faulted, and they are tight as f#ck, but most importantly they also have the songs and music to back it up. I still stand with my original review, pulling out hints of The Strokes, The Rolling Stones, The Pogues, and even Gogol Bordello tonight.


Set wise? Standouts were many but what really stuck with me were ‘Win’, ‘Done For’, ‘Shan’t Tell’ and ‘Road To’. Well that was the first part of the night’s promise well fulfilled. So if you like music with energy, drive, enthusiasm and know that you want a good time, get off your arses and catch The Bleedin’ Noses before they hit the big time. It’s that close for this hungry band.


Nev Brooks


PC1On to the main act for tonight, and you can feel the heightened sense of anticipation around The Patriot as The Peckham Cowboys hit the stage with frontman Marc Eden standing legs astride his mic stand like a young Rod Stewart in his Faces heyday, or Spike of the Quireboys at their sleaziest best. The Peckham Cowboys sound down right dirty, and exciting, which is all the things that great rock music should be. There is however something (or should that be someone) missing here tonight and that is largely down to there being a slightly different touring rhythm section to the one we were all expecting. A quick line up check then, and yup that’s definitely Ryan McCormick behind the drum kit but that looks like London SS bassist Andi Emm standing in at very short notice for the absent Nigel Mogg. Andi I happen to recognise from my years of going to gigs in London as he’s particularly eye catching with his top hat and dreadlocks, but tonight he’s locking down the beat playing an integral part of one of the loosest rhythm sections I’ve ever had the pleasure of encountering. But then that’s all part of the charm of this thing we call rock ‘n’ roll, right? You gotta learn to expect the unexpected.


You see The Peckham Cowboys are fully paid up card carrying members of the exclusive club of unpredictability normally reserved for bands like, Aerosmith, The Heartbreakers, The Lords Of The New Church, or Hanoi Rocks, a club which was founded by the likes of MC5, The Stooges and The Rolling Stones. So with that in mind tonight’s set boasts a blining ‘Crackhouse Blues’ from the band’s debut album ‘Flog It’, which live sounds jaw droppingly unstoppable, something I honestly never thought I’d ever find myself typing given my aversion to that album ‘Not Guilty!’ the opener from ’10 Tales’ is also superb, as is a super scuzzy ‘Bromley Girls’, but as the set progresses the songs begin to jam out a little too much for me, with the effect that it all becomes a little too loose in places, perhaps even hinting at Black Crowes style excesses during ‘South London Thing’ (again from ‘Flog It’). The longer it went on I got the feeling that perhaps a little more rehearsal time with Mr Emm might have done the likes of ‘Knocked Senseless’, ‘Quarantined’ and ‘The Debt Collector’ the world of good, as here they are much more fluid of construction when compared to their tight and sinewy album counterparts. But as I’ve said already that’s part and parcel of this thing we love called rock ‘n’ roll, right?




Finishing their set with a cover of ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ took me straight back to that exclusive club of bands I mentioned earlier, because here was a song written by a band who inspired so many people to excess, just like I hope The Peckham Cowboys will for todays’ Generation Y jet set, but however much love Marc, Timo, Dale, Duncan, Ryan and Andi show this classic I can’t help think that it will all be rather lost on the apathy of today’s youth. But hey ho what the fuck? Because it’s only rock ‘n’ roll and as long as bands like The Peckham Cowboys exist I love will always love it!


Johnny H


To visit The Peckham Cowboys store on Amazon - CLICK HERE



rock zone uk

Secret Lie at The Railway Venue, Bolton – 5th March 2014

March 18, 2014

Apologies if this ends up as a bit of a rant but … actually, no, I make no apologies for this at all. I realise that I am in a very lucky position, getting to see 3 or more gigs every week (some for the price of a few thousand words and some paid for) and still I love music in it’s truest, purest form – live. Sure, many of these are bands I know but many I am going along for the first time with little or no preconceptions. Come on, the last year has seen me be declared a prog fan (The Reasoning, Touchstone, Von Hertzen Brothers to name just three) and now it appears I am becoming a metal-head … who knew? Oh yeah, back to my point, when was the last time you tried something new, something different musically … just because you could and because, to paraphrase George Mallory, it was there? Ah but David, you scream, you’re talking spherical objects – it’s too expensive. Really? Compared with what? Starsucks coffee at about £5 a cup (and once you’ve drank it, sure you might experience it again on it’s exit but really that’s it … gone). One unexpected trip to your local music venue, pay £5 to see a real band, with real instruments, singing their own songs (no, not covers that no one else plays – like Sex on bloody Fire, Comfortably bloody Numb, Wishing bloody Well, etc) and you might just get completely smitten and fall in love with you new, favouritest band in the world, EVER!

Which brings me nicely to Secret Lie. Fighting a battle that was always going to be difficult, this plucky band of Portugese musos arrived in sunny (ha!) Bolton. Now I reckon you could write the names of famous bands from Portugal on the back of a postage stamp, with a six inch paint brush – but since when did country of origin signify good or bad? As ever, those fabulous people at The Railway had done more than probably any venue, anywhere and promoted the gig far and wide, including a spread in The Bolton News that was, for once, ahead of the show (their advertising tag line really should be “Yesterdays news … tomorrow!”) and Secret Lie videos played in the weeks building up to the day and then it was show night. The videos (and, it has to be added, their album) presented a very poppy, somewhat folky band with a sound that wouldn’t be out of place on Radio 2 – grown up, mature, high quality but nothing out of the ordinary.

Their set started and that was when I realised that, live, this really could be one of my new favouritest bands. Hard, powerful and technically great guitar work blended with electric violin and great female vocals. Added in a bit of male co-vocals (a touch of Evanescence, possibly?) on a couple of tracks and generally sonic awesomeness that filled the room and the very small crowd with delight. There really was something for everyone with this set (including a cover of “Creep” – one of only two occasions when I’ve enjoyed a Radiohead song!), blending elements of Nightwish/Within Temptation with Bluehorses and many others. What I witnessed was, without question, a rock band and a truly fabulous one at that. Quality musicians, fantastic songs – all MUCH more hard rocking than on their album (an album that hit the Top 20 in Portugal!) which is a shame because the album does not, in my mind, do them any justice. It did however, get radio play in their homeland – apparently Portugese radio will play nothing with loud guitars. If we’re not careful, the UK might get like that too.


£5 (FIVE!) … that’s all. Venues like The Railway work very hard to bring the world’s best music to us and what do we do? We say “Never heard of them! Let’s go for a coffee instead … and then we’ll download some music for free.” If we do not support the bands (new and old) and, more importantly, the venues we will be fed an homogenised, mush of bland nothingness from TV reality shows – the aural equivalent of baby food. Me? I prefer Michelin star, grown up food.

Come on people, support the scene. make a vow to try a live show by a band that you aren’t too aware of every month (or even week if you can) …. then, like me, you can have a new favouritest band such as Secret Lie. They were, to quote a Mr Hanson of this parish, “GENIUS!”

For more information:

The Railway have masses of great events coming up, check out:

Enuff Z'Nuff/Blue Origin/The Peckham Cowboys/Hangfire - Crumlin, The Patriot - 1st December 2013PrintE-mail
Written by Rob Watkins with Gaz E   
Wednesday, 11 December 2013 03:00



Talk about the North/South divide: Enuff Z'Nuff, now fronted (once again) by the great Johnny Monaco, arrived in Crumlin, South Wales, after a lauded and incredibly well-attended appearance at the Hard Rock Hell festival in North Wales to find that the sum total of band members on the bill, sadly, outnumbered the paying punters.


Shame on the local 'supporters' of live music for staying away in their droves. Gigs clashing and the time of year excuses get thrown out by those very same people who, after complaining for decades that nothing ever happens in these places, can't be bothered to drag themselves away from their reality television to catch up with a celebrated US rock band who NEVER disappoint, no matter what demons certain (former) band members seem forever at odds with.


Still, those of us loyal and clued-in enuff to attend were determined to have a good time in the company of some good people, to a backdrop of fine tunesmithery; we did not leave displeased.




Hangfire did their best to warm up the audience and tumbleweed, even if the local outfit's merry band of loyal followers decided to not bother following. Opener 'Hell This Time' shows that the wait for the band's Leppard-esque recording of their sophomore album to be completed will be worth doing the time for,  the guys emitting a laidback, relaxed vibe befitting of the circumstances. Matt Blakout threw sticks in front of the stage lights in the hope that the shadows cast would make the venue look fuller but, alas, it was to no avail.


The Peckham Cowboys, with their own second album, '10 Tales From The Gin Palace', set to be released on Valentine's Day, threatened to give us glunk rockers in attendance plenty to fall in love with, simply by having the likes of Timo Kaltio and Nigel Mogg in the band's line-up. The distortion that coated the band's debut album, 2011's 'Flog It!', has been washed away somewhat, but with cheap booze rather than soapy water. The sound now is more Faces-esque and cool '70s rock 'n' roll inspired, pretty much how you'd imagine it given the talent on show. Singer Marc Eden could well have been fronting Velvet Revolver rather than spending his Sunday night in a Valleys biker pub, but, in Crumlin rather than California he finds himself, his star quality shining through the faint whiff of despair in the stale air. The band's album release and tie-in headline tour can't come soon enough...though I'd advise Mogg to pack a spare bass; the former Quireboy forced to play most of the set with another band's shiny red five string uber-metal bass after breaking a string in the second song. Massively entertaining and worth the admission price alone. Band, not bass faux pas, though that was entertainment in itself.




Blue Origin are a young Midlands-based bunch of hard rockers with the main support slot on the EZN UK tour. They're a bit of a Breakfast Club image-wise, people from different walks of life thrown together to spend time in one room; there's the pretty boy, the metal boy, the drummer who looks like he fell from a Scandinavian garage band's mini-van...but, as a collective, they're as slick as expected of a band second from top of an impressive undercard. I wouldn't like to try and follow band members famous for their work with the likes of The Quireboys, Cheap and Nasty, Primal Scream, etc, but these kids give it their best shot. They lack a real hurting bomb of a tune in their arsenal, but they're a spirited lot and I'm sure a slew of late night lessons in rock 'n' roll from Chip Z'Nuff will stand them in good stead for their future.monacopatriot


As they finished it was time for me to stand aside and hand reviewing duties over to a man who actually owns a used item of Mr. Z'Nuff clothing. It seemed only right..... (GE)


As Enuff Z'Nuff hit the stage with, for me, the perfect opener in 'Heaven Or Hell' there's an obvious happiness within the ranks judging by the stage presence here tonight, and the classics keep on flowing; 'Hollywood Ya', "Ya Ya Ya", to the more uptempo moments from the group's beautiful back catalogue which include 'One Step Closer To You' and the pop-tastic brilliance and groove of 'There Goes My Heart'.


Chip Z'Nuff shows his influential side as he slips in an infamous Cheap trick bassline to introduce 'We're All Alright', but with, of course, that aforementioned back catalogue the guys can dip deep and pull out some unbelieveable moments of heartfelt beauty, and this is truly evident on 'Fingertips', another wonderous inclusion from the Z'Nuff musical songbook.


'Love Train' stemas into some jamming to set up yet another tune from the highest echelons of songwriting perfection, 'Baby Loves You',  which incorporates a medley of such hits as '500 Miles', 'Don't Stop Believin', 'Wrecking Ball', 'Summer Of 69', 'Surrender', and Lita Ford's 'Kiss Me Deadly' to namchippatriote but a few, also, it should be uttered, giving Johnny Monaco his moment to shine...and shine that man does, not only as a frontman but as a guitar player too.


The obligatory (well almost) Beatles (family) cover is offered up in the form of the Wings tune of tunes, 'Jet', and what a rendition too, perfectly executed and delivered with some ultra fine backing vocals to accompany Johnny Monaco's lead.


And let's not forget Tory Stoffregen and Randi Scott who are as much about Enuff as anybody else involved or associated with the group throughout the history of Z'Nuff for keeping the EZN flag flying high.


Monaco takes centre stage for a solo piece in which he knocks out Van Halen's 'Eruption' before running into 'Fly High Michelle', a song as dreamy today as it was all those yesterdays ago, ending things on a high with "What Else" but 'New Thing'.


Effort. Dedication. Belief. Musical brilliance and intelligence... The list could go on and on and on and on...


But, for me... Genius. (RW)





Written by Rob Watkins   
Tuesday, 08 October 2013 03:00



"The Home Of Rock" reads the sign on the front of this great (old school) rock club, so if that's correct what better place is there to kickstart 'The Rapture UK Tour 2013' featuring headliners Romeo's Daughter and special guests Dante Fox? Mouthwatering, indeed.



The five piece Dante Fox get proceedings underway in style with a kinda classic AOR sound knocking around on songs such as 'Lucky Ones' and 'Firing My Heart', real foot tapping happy tunes one and all, this music still extremely relevant as these two musical artists tonight giving things a modern updated slant on this particular genre proves.


'I Can't Sleep', 'Secrets', 'Who Stole The Innocence' and the title track from the band's highly acclaimed album, 'Lost Man's Ground', all full of nice little song structures a la '80s inspired tunesmithery.


Some powerful vocalizing courtesy of Sue Willetts, sliding in some tender vocal patterns neatly aside the six string elegance of Tim Manford.


Leaving the best 'til last, as these musos tend to do, they bang out their rendition of Stevie Vann Lange's early 1980s classic (Limara TV advert) 'Remember My Name', a rather pleasant surprise for me as a fan of the original back in the day, to close their set in grand fashion.

And a hearty deserved round of applause to the fervent aficionados attending the show tonight, music fans one and all - I salute ya.


And so to our headline act for the night....Romeo's Daughter may need no introduction, but here goes anyway, the delectable Leigh Matty alongside her band of original musical brothers.


Kicking it off with 'Trippin' Out', the opening tune from their third album release and the reason for this tour, 'Rapture', also slipping in 'Keep Walking', 'Bittersweet' and 'Lightning', 'Alive', 'Will Be' and 'Cannot Be The One' from that opus certainly entertains the musical troops here this evening, some fine crowd appreciation coming easily as this musical collective can well and truly rock it up; there are no opening night jitters here in Crumlin, that's pretty evident.


The pure class and elegance of their individual instruments and musical style, with a 100% musical tightness and groove (baby), only adds to that the venue's vibe and, of course, some not too shabby compositions with, as expected, a large dose of tonight's setlist made up of songs lifted from the 1988 self titled debut release.


'Velvet Tongue', 'Inside Out', 'Stay With Me Tonight' and, of course, the anthems 'I Cry Myself To Sleep At Night' and, from the soundtrack to A Nightmare On Elm Street 5, 'Heaven In The Backseat'.


Romeo's Daughter conclude their business for the evening with 'Hymn' and 'Wild Child', leaving the stage to a rapturous ovation.


Heaven in The Backstreets.....



Hangfire - Ilfracombe, The Chill Bar - 21st June 2013PrintE-mail
Written by Matt Phelps   
Tuesday, 02 July 2013 03:40



Our mission here at Uber Rock is a simple one, to help point you in the direction of as many top notch quality bands as we physically can. But equally we are just as likely to be heard praising an excellent venue as we are an outstanding band and the The Chill Bar in Ilfracombe is certainly one such establishment I'm all too happy to raise a flag for. Having witnessed a fantastic performance from Hangfire there last year I didn't need much convincing to go back for a second shot.


The Chill Bar has been building up a nice little reputation for itself over the last couple of years due in no small part to the popularity of its open mic nights and live music weekends. Weekends that offer a wide range of musical flavours to suit most tastes across the multifaceted rock spectrum. The night following Hangfire for instance was ready for an acoustic rendezvous with Tom Hingley, former frontman for Madchester legends Inspiral Carpets.


For such a relatively small town the Chill Bar and Hangfire had pulled an impressive crowd that had the intimate venue buzzing by the time 'Lord, I'm No Angel' kicked off the main set at around 10pm. And with 'Shoot The Crow' fast to follow it didn't take long for the temperature inside the Chill Bar to start rising. Things got a little louder with 'Faith In Me' cranking it up before a savage rendition of the brutal 'Bodies' dug deeper into the debut album that ranked so highly for the Welsh foursome last year.




But alongside the debut classics there was also a chance to check out some songs that should be making an appearance on Hangfire's eagerly awaited second album. 'Hell This Time' is a striking barnstormer of a track that certainly whets the appetite for new material while 'Rising Sun' and 'Hangman' from the 'Confessions' EP, have been revisited or as frontman Max Rhead put it "dug up" and renewed. All three played out like strong contenders easily equal to the best stuff on 'Shoot The Crow'.


With its crisp painted walls and mood lit interior the ambiance within the Chill Bar only helps to enhance the music further and during the smoldering stride of 'Fire In The Hole' it feels almost like the bar floor is an extension of the stage, immersing you within the smokey grooves of Bob Goo's bass and Matt Blakout's hypnotic beats. Effective lighting again came to play during Hangfire's tribute to their fallen brother Aaron Evans, the emotional 'Deadman Walking' sending shivers around the packed bar.


Last single 'For Crying Out Loud' was clearly a popular inclusion, raising voices in line with the temperature and when the burning ambition of 'Adrenalise' fired up the latter half of the night the captivating, faultless guitar work of Lizzy Evans lit up bar area like a firestorm. Wrapping up the set with an explosive payload of 'Drop The Bomb' and an almighty blast of Hendrix fueled 'Fire' brought the night to an electrifying end. Once again Hangfire delivered an exemplary performance in fine surroundings well supported by passionate fans well versed with the tunes and cemented their reputation as Chill Bar champions.


There are few better places to catch a band up close and personal and few better bands to see there than Hangfire. A winning combination and an absolute belter of a night out. Make sure you keep an eye on the Chill Bar's future listings.




[Photos by Tessa Blakout]


To pick up your copy of 'Shoot The Crow' - CLICK HERE



The Donnie Vie Band/Young Lust/Stop Stop/Rebel Lust/Baz Francis - Crumlin, The Patriot - 11th November 2011PrintE-mail
Written by Rob Watkins   
Friday, 18 November 2011 05:30



Time To Let Me Fly High on the Love Train to the tiny hamlet of Crumlin to Get High on the New Thing to witness one of the finest songwriters to grace this Rock 'N' World, Mr Donnie Vie and his solo touring band.


First to enter the Patriot arena is Baz Francis who has played half of this tour with his band Magic Eight Ball and half with a solo acoustic set. The latter is what we get tonight, although terribly early given that there are four support bands. Donnie and EZN are obviously major influences for Baz - Jellyfish also, happily - and, songs blessed with well crafted melodic vocal passages and a '70s indie theatrical element, he doesn't disappoint.


And now for something completely different in the form of three piece, part sleaze, part glam, all party rock 'n' roll outfit Rebel Lust, bounding on stage with their version of rebellust400the anthem '(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)' and following it up with some self-penned tunes that would all sit quite happily on the first Poison opus. With fluorescent green bass strings to add to the visual showing I'm sure these upstarts have a certain liking for Steel Panther with their LA glam inspired movements and arsenal of BC Richs galore. The torso of frontman Acey Lust has 'Rock 'N' Roll' tattooed across it and, although the get-up of guitarist AJ Lust may be a bit too piratey, their not-too-shabby cover of Steve Earle's 'Copperhead Road' is a high point. Rebel Lust for Christmas Number 1 - Vote to follow....


Spanish outfit (stripped to a trio for this UK tour) Stop Stop take to the stage with singer/bassist Jacob donning a full face of white make-up and looking like a cross between Peter Frampton and Paul Stanley with his cool '70s persona. Guitar boy Vega is one for the Uber Ladies, looking like the Spanish lovechild of Russ North. "Are you ready for some rock 'n' roll?" asks the cool frontman in his best broken English and, with tracks like 'Happy Man', 'In Your Face', and a cover of 'Hush' and a speedy little take on 'Get Back', the band impressyounglust400with a performance that is verging on headline status, even making time for guitar and drum solo spots. One of those pleasant support band surprises that we love at Uber Rock, and that bass-boy deserves the final words: Star F**kin' Retro Quality.


Southampton rockers Young Lust are the final finger bang before the full-blown Vie-fest be honest...they fall a little flat after the OTT antics of the Spanish bombs that preceded them. Frontman Stevie Pearce looks the part...although this may well be because nobody else in the band does; a real mish-mash of styles. It's a little bit of a one man show, though the rhythm guitarist is possibly the coolest member up on the stage. No nonsense, no-frills, no risk rock 'n' roll that is well played and well received.


How do you introduce, for me personally, a living legend and one of the greatest songwriters America has ever produced - Donnie Vie, the frontman of Enuff Z' Nuff, here in town with The Donnie Vie Band on the eve of the release of new album 'Wrapped Around My Middle Finger', as part of their 2011 UK tour?


Tonight is all about the songs: no glitz or glamour - No need, this is songwriting finesse. Playing tracks from throughout his illustrious career including 'These Daze', the rarely performed 1985 album track 'Day By Day' and big single/MTV video hit 'Baby Loves You'. New tune 'Lisa' is dedicated to Donnie's main squeeze and followed by 'Dissonance' track 'Lazy Dazy'. Ably assisted by EZN/Black Mollys drummer Randi Scott, bassist Patrick Pulver and guitarist Jimmy Maguire, the tunes just keep on coming; Heaven, my friends, Heaven....


'One Step Closer To You' is great, only topped by a storming version of 'The Beast' that features the guitar work a young fan who had handed over fifty quid for the priviledge; you expect Donnie to hand back the money as he hugs the kid post-song - he doesn't. 'The Love Train' ploughs into a willing audience mouthing every word and is followed by the classic 'In Crowd' and 'Downhill' and 'Your Heart's No Good...But I Love Your Face' is followed by the obvious Beatles cover; Young Lust's Stevie getting up to play guitar on 'Come Together' which ends with a cute 'She Loves You' refrain. Baz Francis gets up to turn to this last night of the tour into a party with a cool version of 'Time To Let You Go' sung with his hero.


What else could the night end with but 'New Thing'? And how else could I end the night without feeling high....




[Photos by Tessa Blakout]



Wrathchild/Hangfire/Stop Stop - Crumlin, The Patriot - 24th February 2012PrintE-mail
Written by Gaz E   
Saturday, 03 March 2012 05:00




Rock 'n' roll, and this might surprise some, doesn't always have to be about reinventing the wheel. Sometimes, good music, good company and good times baby, as the song once famously said, are all you need. Funny then that a modest night in a venue synonymous with wheels should be witness to a reinvention, a re-animation of sorts, rock 'n' roll in nature.


But I must not get ahead of myself. First I have to watch, happily, the night's opening act,Stop Stop. I saw this bunch of Spanish exiles late last year for the first time and they fair near blew me away. The band, stripped to a three piece since their relocation to the UK, are currently putting a shift in around the smaller venues of Great Britain, playing everywhere and anywhere and, if there is indeed any justice in this world, greater things beckon for this terrific trio.




These guys, as their song tells us, were 'Born To Rock'. Frontman Jacob A.M. wears his bass low but sets his aim high: this mess of curls and greasepaint is a bona fide star in the making. Guitarist Vega, taking over sole six string duties with ease, is a complete throwback to another age, some quarter of a century ago, yet as agreeable a performer as you could hope to see. Drummer Danny manages to throw a drum solo into the mix before the set is out - a drum solo by the opening act of a three band bill, remember - that is as entertaining as the idea is ridiculous, and shaken up covers of 'Get Back' and 'Hush' infiltrate their classic take on cock rock.


I was wearing a vintage Ratt shirt (in an ironic 'Rachel from Friends wearing an MC5 shirt' style, obviously) when I first met Jacob last year. "Bring back the '80s!" he yelled in my direction when he saw the garment hanging from my frame like a stitched orgasm and, y'know what, his band pretty much do that: in small pubs and clubs around the UK this wholly endearing bunch of Spaniards are administering fun and echoes of stadium rock in hefty doses - seek 'em out.


The swell of interest in front of the stage prior to the appearance of Hangfire takes me a little by surprise. With the ink still drying on the cover of their new album, 'Shoot The Crow', the buzz around these local lotharios is rumbling to a level more accustomed to that of a '50s giant killer insect movie.




The sparks fly as soon as the eight legged rock machine tear into set, and album, opener 'Adrenalise', though this could be on account of the scores of dropped drumsticks hitting the wooden stage with the effect of kindling. Vocalist Max Rhead commands the stage in a surprisingly humble manner, bassist Bobby Goo to his left throwing out enough shapes for the two of them.


I was thrilled last month when Uber Rock's Matt Phelps conducted an interview with guitarist Lee ' Lizzy' Evans and never once mentioned that the fret fingerer was blind.hangfirelive300 It shouldn't matter with music, it really shouldn't, but live, well, it just has to be pointed out. This guy stands there and rips out one fat riff after another, faultless solo after faultless solo, and this kind of talent in the face of adversity should not be allowed to drift away without acclaim.


Single 'For Crying Out Loud' is welcomed, already, like an old friend while 'Bodies', heavy of riff, shakes at least a couple of the venue's beams loose. This is stripped back rock in its purest form, basic yet buoyant, that rattles through the body and hits the all the right buttons. You'd be hard pressed to argue, as set closer 'Drop The Bomb' fades into the dust, that the interest in Hangfire isn't warranted: a Summer drought, maybe a festival appearance or two, could see the flames of this fire fan out of control.


I saw Wrathchild a number of years ago when they were operating under the bastardized 'Psychowrath' moniker: they were good, it has to be said, but, compared to the energized outfit that hit the stage tonight with 'I Luv The Night', that former guise was but a shadow of the band in 2012.




The reinvention complete, dayglo re-animation fluid injected into their veins, Wrathchild are, simply, born again.


There have been other members in this band over the course of their delirious history yet, tonight, you wouldn't know it: unless I missed the memo at the door that threatened punters with sticks and stones and 'my dad is bigger than your dad' playground polemic if they dared to mention any other names, there was zero interest, or reason it must be said, for anyone in the venue to hark back to earlier days.


Sure, there was a spattering of Wrathchild vintage over the set list but, and this could surprise people not in attendance to witness this brand regeneration, the set leaned heavily, almost entirely, in the direction of last year's 'Stakkattakktwo' long playered return - ten of the fourteen song strong set comes from this latest release - but you wouldn't know it: almost every song is met with audience approval, the front of the stage walled in by fans mouthing almost every word.


'Too Wild To Tame', from 'Stakk Attakk' first time around, follows the set opener but then leads into a seven song burst from the new album - 'Goin' Down', 'All About U', 'Cherie Cherie', 'White Hot Fever', 'Nice 'n' Eazy', 'Trick Or Treat' and 'I'll Be Your Rokk 'n' Roll' - that could easily have upset the purists.....but doesn't. It works, and works well.


Gaz Psychowrath, like guitarist Phil Wrathchild, born to be in this band, has fashioned a winning stage persona and fronts the band with an added vigour: by the time '(Na Na) Nuklear Rokket' and 'Trash Queen' come around towards the end of the set the thought of him making the old songs his own is a distant memory.


That I am so deep into a Wrathchild review but have yet to mention the original members treading those boards and smashing those skins perhaps says everything about the band in 2012. Eddie Starr, looking as glamorous in full corpse paint as anyone cadaver right to, keeps the beat boiling over while his co-rhythmic reprobate Marc Angel, eyes mirrored with cop-like classic Aviators, marshals the bass that bubbles just under the surface.


'Hollywood Or Bust' and 'Bad Billy', again, from the latest album, bookend the customary 70 second walk from the stage and back again for the encores, with the classic 'Kick Down The Walls' closing the show in fine style.


How many bands, how many glam bands, from the '80s would play a fourteen song set in 2012 and play ten songs from their new album? Not fuckin' many, if any, I can assure you. This rejuvenated Wrathchild are happy to put their faith in a new album while others dwell on the past, and for that they have to be commended.


Forget about reinventing the wheel, Wrathchild have reinvented themselves and long may this machine (rock 'n') roll on.


[Photos by Tessa Blakout]


To pick up your copy of 'Stakkattakktwo' - Click Here



Uli Jon Roth at The Patriot!

Uli Jon Roth at the Patriot - Poster

“Where’s your review of Uli Jon Roth at The Patriot?” my friend Richard asked me. It was the first gig we’d been to together for about 25 years. When I told him I wasn’t planning to do one, he looked a bit disappointed.

When I started this site it was partly to make other rock fans aware of my book, Words and Music, and partly to develop the themes of the book through a series of blogs, reflections and interviews. It wasn’t my intention to publish reviews of gigs and new releases – plenty of other sites and magazines already do that, and do it very well - unless in some way they illustrated or extended the themes of the book.

Words and Music is about the value of rock music and the (often understated) importance it can have in people’s lives. Although it has some anecdotal sections, it is not a book about rock star or rock fan decadence. (Again, if that’s the kind of thing you want, there are plenty of other books and websites already out there for you.) At the end of the day, for most rock fans, it’s the music that matters.

So, Uli Jon Roth at The Patriot? Well, on the night my mind was entirely focused on seeing one of my favourite guitarists, an indisputable guitar great, in relatively intimate surroundings and in good company. I went along without either notebook or camera. But, actually, the more I thought about it, Richard was right. There was much here of relevance to Words and Music. And it does deserve to be reported. So let’s start with the venue itself.

The Patriot, Crumlin
The Patriot, CrumlinThe Patriot has established itself as a signficant rock venue, attracting international, national and local bands, as well as rock fans from across the UK. It’s owned and run by a national motorcycle club whose membership consists entirely of ex and serving members of the armed forces. It’s what those of us who’ve been around for a while often like to call a ‘proper’ rock venue – friendly, earthy, non-corporate and choc-full of fascinating rock memorabilia.

I contacted David Down, Entertainment Officer at The Patriot, who told me how the venue has progressed from being a pub putting on local covers bands 11 years ago, to the serious music venue it is today with its ability to attract renowned artists of the calibre of, well, Uli Jon Roth!

Indeed, The Patriot’s owners have put considerable effort into undertaking the kind of renovations that have enabled them to host the likes of LA Guns, Blaze Bayley, Skinny Molly, Wrathchild, Tygers of Pan Tang, and Donnie Vie (Enuff Znuff), alongside Welsh bands like Hangfire and Lethargy. (Note to interested punters: Love/Hate will be playing The Patriot on 1 April 2013.) The venue continues to put on unsigned bands, as well as top-quality covers bands like Letz Zep, High On Maiden and Hell’s Bells.

It’s an impressive, even heartwarming, story of dedication to the cause; a commitment to sharing and spreading ”the joy of rock”  (to quote an old friend I bumped into that night) that goes well beyond the call of duty.

And so to Uli …
Beyond the Astral Skies album coverWithout question, Uli Jon Roth is, and always has been, a fascinating character. Check out his website for info on his approach to life, music and art, or to read about Electric Sun, his invention of the Sky Guitar, the Sky Orchestra, the Sky Academy and the influence on, and importance to, Uli of the work of Monika Dannemann.

He is still perhaps best known for his stint as lead guitarist with the Scorpions, a period that culminated in the incredible live album Tokyo Tapes, an album which left the Scorps poised to take on the world. But Uli was off, before its release in fact, embarking on a varied and intriguing solo career that has often blended rock guitar, classical music and Uil’s own philosophical approach in unique and imaginative ways.

It must have taken considerable personal conviction, and some guts, to step out of the limelight with the Scorpions, particularly at that point in their career, and into an uncertain future. Having said that, his presence in the band always struck me as bit incongruous. Not so much musically, but it’s a bit odd is it not, that a man with Uli’s spiritual and philosophical leanings appears on albums with controversial covers and questionnable, almost unsavoury, titles such as ‘Virgin Killer’ and ’Taken By Force’. Not that his old Scorps chums lacked a sensitive or thoughtful side, and not that they weren’t a great rock band, but, you know, when Uli was striving for transcendence, the post-Roth Scorps were still catching a thrill on streets they called ’The Zoo’.

And so to the gig …
I’ve got to say that we weren’t sure what to expect. A one man and his guitar acoustic show? Uli, a cellist and a violinist? A set of highly technical instrumental guitar wizardry? Electric Sun revisited? We got in the mood by giving Beyond the Astral Skies a spin in the car on the way up, leaving Richard’s teenage daughter and her friends bewildered at Uli’s … er … eclecticism, if I can put it like that. (Actually, I really love that album. If I had to choose material from my record collection to show someone what can be achieved with an electric guitar, one of the albums I’d certainly play them would be Beyond the Astral Skies.)

The last thing we expected from the gig was what, in fact, we got - a full on rock set consisting predominantly of Roth-era Scorps track: ‘We’ll Burn The Sky’, ‘In Trance’, ‘Sails of Charon’, ‘Dark Lady’, ‘Pictured Life’, ‘I’ve Got to Be Free’, ‘Catch Your Train’, ‘Fly to the Rainbow’, ‘Life’s Like a River’. The old classics just kept coming and coming to the surprise and delight of a small but enthusiastic audience. Chuck in a bit of blues, and a bit of Hendrix (or, to be more precise, a bit of Roth-does-Hendrix-doing-Dylan) and what more could you possibly want on a Friday night! And what a great guitartist … mindbogglingly good. It was worth going just to see the looks of amazement on people’s faces - truly jawdropping stuff!

Uli Jon Roth at The Patriot

Uli Jon Roth and band live at The Patriot. Photo courtesy of

As you will have surmised from the foregoing paragraph and photo, Uli played with a full band, more than amply supported on this occasion by a line-up featuring Owen Davidson (bass, vocals), Steve Owen (keyboards), Richard Kirk (drums) and ‘wunderkind’ Ali Clinton (guitar). Regarding Ali Clinton, all I’ll say here is keep a eye out for this young buck – his time is surely approaching – and remember where you read that first!

Through it all I was left with the impression of a man, a musician, a performer of uncompromising musical and spiritual integrity for whom creativity, artistic expression and personal growth matter more than the trappings of commercial success and the more decadent side of the rock and roll lifestyle.

It was, I have to say, both a joy and a privilege to be at this gig – one of rock music’s most creative talents, a man who’s played to thousands, ‘stepping down’ to play to maybe a hundred, maybe fewer. We stood about ten feet from the stage in awe. It truly was ‘The Night the Master Came’. And in nurturing and promoting young talent in the form of guitarist Ali Clinton, Uli is helping to perpetuate all that’s best about the great rock tradition of which he has been an integral, if sometimes under-appreciated, part.

I find it reassuring that it’s still possible to find such single-mindedness and artistic integrity. Just as it’s reassuring that small groups of music fans will commit themselves to maintaining venues and putting on events that help keep rock music alive and kicking at the grassroots. Thank you to all concerned, and all power to your collective elbow!

Some of the bands playing The Patriot in the early part of 2013

About Words and Music

Uli Jon Roth’s official site:

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