FM || DARE || TOBY JEPSON - The Garage, Glasgow 25.05.18

LINDSAY SMITH-BOAM

(PHOTO CREDITS: MB PHOTOS SCOTLAND)

 

In an era where many fantastic iconic bands from the ‘80s and ‘90s have resurfaced with anniversary tours and new recordings, one band for me particularly have not just ticked the boxes of reforming and touring but smashed it with a mallet.

 

Ok, I will keep the history lesson very brief.

 

FM formed in 1984, releasing their debut album ‘Indiscreet’ in 1985. They had great success back in the day although never quite taking the much-coveted States. European tours with the likes of Tina Turner, Foreigner, Gary Moore, Status Quo, Magnum, Meatloaf (the list is endless) national tours with Bon Jovi and more recently Heart.

 

More albums followed and despite some line-up changes, the band’s success throughout the UK, Europe and the Far East continued. However, in 1995 the band split up, with the members going their separate ways.

 

Reuniting in 2007 initially for a one-off performance, the band decided to reform and following guitarist Andy Barnett being unable to commit to long-term plans, Jim Kirkpatrick was recruited in 2009.

 

‘Metropolis’ was released in 2010 and since then more albums and tours have followed and the momentum has continued. Keeping up? Good. Now, that was incredibly brief and does not do justice to them at all, but space is limited and their history is vast so please check them out on their website and social media.

The Atomic Generation tour in support of their 11th album has seen the guys travel to Frontiers festival in Milan which has been filmed for a forthcoming DVD, and also play their first headline show in the USA! So what’s going on here?  How can they keep producing such good music and if anything sounding better live than they have ever done?

 

Pete Jupp on drums, who has mountains of technical ability with added hard-hitting rhythm makes everything sound effortless, never missing a beat and always has a smile on his face.   The bass master himself Merv Goldsworthy, who can play with a rumbling savagery or so much funk and groove it carries the music almost on its own. The keyboards from Jem Davis fill out the music with orchestral magnificence or delicate piano tones creating the vibe and ambience. Jim Kirkpatrick on lead guitar brings a level of ability and range of playing styles which completes their sound, unmistakably FM, be it a ballad, blues-rich, soaring solos or dirty, grime-filled riffs, Jim is one of the reasons I feel their sound has more life in it, more energy than in the past.

 

Steve Overland, how do you describe him?… ‘The Voice’, the man who can nail vocal acrobatics and is so technically perfect with a tone, so rich with emotion and melody that most of his contemporaries cannot hold a candle to him. His voice has, if anything got even better, something that cannot be said of many singers who have been around as long. He is also a wickedly good guitarist forming the twin guitar attacks and harmonies with Kirkpatrick that are a trademark of their overall sound.

 

When they are on stage the sound is always spot on, replicating the album tracks with such accuracy and passion, but also with mutual respect, you can see that they are having fun, performing not just for the audience but also for themselves.

I caught up with Steve for a brief chat before the guys went on stage at The Garage in Glasgow. They have been touring with Toby Jepson, not for the first time, and also with Dare, the quality and professionalism of these performers only adding to the wonderful nature of the evening.

 

I asked Steve about the Atomic Generation and how it’s been doing, “I think it’s probably the most complete album we have done since we got back together. It’s very varied, there’s a bit of old FM styling in there and a little of everything we have done through our career. It is drawing back on what we did in the early days like on ‘Golden Days’, a more melodic AOR vibe to it. It is great when it comes back and the reviews have been great so it makes you feel good”.

 

“Playing Tricks, that was one I wrote for a blues artist in the States, so I started kicking it around and Jim and Merv heard the demo and said ‘wow! we have to record this song!’ It isn't totally what FM do, but it came out great with the real brass on it. At that time, I was listening to Santana’s album with ‘Smooth’ on it and I really love that album, so I came up with that and it’s just been sitting there”.

 

Talking about some of the other songs and how they came to be on the album, it was clear that Steve has so many songs not quite finished that he brings out to air, and often that is when they come through FM. “I was in the studio and got the acoustic out and Jim said, ‘what’s that?’ I've had some of the songs years and they don’t get finished, they are just bits of songs, and he said ‘finish it’ so, I finished it and that was ‘Walking with Angels’ ( From Heroes and Villains – released 2015). And the acoustic ballad on this album ‘Love Is The Law’ is another thing I had had for 5 years, just bits of it never finished.”

 

It was great to hear from Steve about how supportive Frontiers have been of the album and the relationship the band have with them seems to be certainly working well. During this tour, FM has played Frontiers Festival which has been recorded for release on DVD. “We did it when we first signed to them but yes a great gig, I mean, the great thing about that show is you go over there, you are in a hotel, you hang out with some of the other bands, you get to network and you meet other bands on the label. I get to meet people who work on the albums and Serafino is great, an old fan of FM and he is great with me and I get on great with him.  He is wanting to keep this genre of music alive and they (Frontiers) are growing all the time”.

Mentioning Frontiers signing new talent, Steve said, “new talent is out there, that is what you need, we are not going to be around forever, we are going to need somebody to hold the torch when we finally can't do it anymore. You need companies like Frontiers to keep this genre of music alive”.

 

FM recently headlined Melodic Rock in Chicago, their first ever live gig in the States. The reviews I had seen had all praised the band unequivocally, so how was it for them? “It was great,” explained Steve, “I did loads of stuff in America with writing when FM were first around and with other projects and I got to write with Desmond Child as people know but never done a show. I’d done radio, TV, you name it, everything, but no live gig. So we went out there and we were shocked at the fact that we actually had fans over there. People who had travelled from South America and everywhere, it was like this is great! So, we are now making plans to go back and do some more”.

 

There is no doubt that things have kicked off big time for FM this time around, I asked Steve his thoughts on this, “To be honest, when we first got back together we were going to do this as a hobby, do the odd gig, the odd festival and pick the gigs we wanted to do. But it hasn’t happened like that, we’ve just come back and we've got back to where we were before. We are even going to places we have never been before. We did some big tours but we didn't get to places like Greece and places like that, so when we went to Greece, the show was sold out! People queueing down the street that couldn’t get in and we were like how’s this then, we have never been here, there is a Greek FM fan club - we didn't know we had a Greek FM fan club! And it was like everywhere we go we are surprised. It’s like we have fans wherever we seem to go, they are there and they have been there all along, we just haven't been there! Spain for us now is a big market, and we never went to Spain in the 10 years we were signed to major labels and we never did a gig in Spain. Next year we are doing 2 shows in Spain, in February and with Dare again. It is going from strength to strength. We are still loving it, we really love it now and because we are older, we are more relaxed into it, we just have a good time. We just like doing this, we have never ever got tired of it, it is great fun”.

 

So what is next for FM following this tour, more dates? Yes but great news! More new tracks, another album is in the pipeline! Steve states, “There is more stuff happening throughout the next year and a half, there is more stuff coming out and being done that will be announced and we are going back in the studio after these 5 dates because we started the new record. We have probably got 4 or 5 songs in the pipeline and I've got some more, so, in between the touring we are planning on doing some more. We are just bobbing in and out of the studio getting some drum tracks down so we are ahead of the game. So, when we want to release another album, there will be some songs, they will be done.”

 

The passion for what the band are achieving at the moment and the genuine appreciation of the fans is lovely to hear. The genuine surprise at how well things have gone for them gives Steve a very humble attitude too. A terrific band that is standing the test of time because they aren’t stuck in the past, they are grasping the future and going where it takes them, not living on memories and past successes. They are making new music, performing at a hugely professional standard and have respect for their fans.

 

I see so many bands and FM have to be one of the finest. Looking around The Garage during the show, there are smiling faces, everyone singing along including some pretty high profile other bands and singers who were there to marvel at the mighty FM. The music is again beyond compare and the vocals are just out of this world. Every time I go to an FM gig, I try and take someone with me who has not seen them before because they won’t believe how good they are live unless they bear witness. I am pleased to say they have yet another fan added to the many.

Set List:

Black Magic

I Belong To The Night

Life Is A Highway

Let Love Be The Leader

Someday

Killed By Love

Metropolis

Over You

Dream That Died

Does It Feel Like Love

Closer To Heaven

Bad Luck

Tough It Out

That Girl

Other Side Of Midnight

Story Of My Life

Burning My Heart Down

The Boys Are Back In Town (With Darren Wharton)

 

Find out more from FM at:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FMofficial/

Website: http://www.fmofficial.com/

 

PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA. PLEASE DIRECT ALL MEDIA ENQUIRIES TO LINDSAY@DOWNTHEFRONTMEDIA.COM

I must mention Toby Jepson who performed an acoustic set to open the evening. It was fabulous to hear a medley of Little Angels songs and some Wayward Sons tracks. Really well sung and stripped back they sounded awesome. Toby has an immense voice, another one that is standing the test of time admirably. He captured the crowd with not just his songs but also with the chat between songs which was relaxed and easy, feeling like an evening with friends rather than a few hundred fans!

 

Check out Toby and Wayward Sons on their website and Social Media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/waywardsonsbanduk/

Website: http://waywardsonsband.com/

 

And also our review of them from their recent Nottingham show at: https://www.downthefrontmedia.com/down-the-front-media/live-gig-reviews/wayward-sons-27-04-18/

 

Set List:

Ghost

Radical Your Lover

Small Talk

Don’t Pray For Me

I Ain’t Gonna Cry

Deliver Me

Young Gods

Kickin’ Up The Dust/ Too Much Too Young

Until The End

 

PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA. PLEASE DIRECT ALL MEDIA ENQUIRIES TO LINDSAY@DOWNTHEFRONTMEDIA.COM

Dare provided a smoothly delivered and enjoyable set. Darren Wharton’s voice is as smooth as chocolate and just as rich. The band are tight and a treat on the ear-drums. I reviewed them at HRH in March and thought they were pretty near perfection that night and tonight at The Garage, the appreciative crowd loved every minute. The relaxed manner, seen earlier with Jepson, was contagious and the whole band seemed to enjoy their set. I recommend seeing Dare, splendid AOR delivered to an incredible standard of masterly magnificence.

 

Set List:

Sea Of Roses

Home

Until

I’ll Hear You Pray

Days Of Summer

Everytime We Say

Emerald

Wings of Fire

We Don’t Need A Reason

Abandon

Into The Fire

The Rain Dance

King Of Spades

Return The Heart

 

Dare are:

Darren Wharton
Vinnie Burns
Kev Whitehead
Marc Roberts
Nigel Clutterbuck

 

Check out Dare at: https://www.facebook.com/darebandofficial/

The above comments are excerpts from an interview between DTFM and Steve Overland to be broadcast in full on Episode 74 of Down The Front Podcast which is released on 1st June. https://www.downthefrontmedia.com/down-the-front-podcast/episode-links/

 

PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA. PLEASE DIRECT ALL MEDIA ENQUIRIES TO LINDSAY@DOWNTHEFRONTMEDIA.COM

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