GRAHAM BONNET / GIN ANNIE - G2, Glasgow - 08.08.18



The Garage in Glasgow is a large nightclub which features a large yellow truck overhanging the front door of the main venue, as well as a couple of smaller venues with entrances around the side of the building. Bands play in all three of the venues and it is one of the smaller ones we are in this evening to see the Graham Bonnet Band supported by Gin Annie.

As I enter the G2 building the first thing I notice, apart from the large pillar in the middle of the small stage, is that there is no barrier at the front of the stage and the crowd for this gig is very small. Perhaps this is down to the band playing two other gigs in Scotland in quick succession or to the lack of a large promotion. Either way it is a bit of a shock how small the crowd is considering the calibre of the headline act.

Gin Annie, describing themselves as a hard rock band, take the stage promptly at 7.30pm and the crowd, although sparse, give them a rousing Glasgow welcome as this 5 piece band from the West Midlands open their set with ‘New Bad Habit’, which is also the opening track from their 2017 EP of the same name.

A fantastic hard but melodic track to start a set with, the crowd are completely on their side from the word go. I immediately begin to hope that more people turn up, and quickly, to hear this band who from the word go have those of us in attendance in the palm of their hands.

Vocalist Dave Foster is clearly in command, having worked tirelessly along with the rest of the band, to hone their live act. The hard work that they have undertaken is clearly paying dividends for them and it would be easy for this band to simply play their EP as a showcase which, with the next track, ‘All I Want’ might well have been what they were doing until the absolutely outstanding ‘Fallin’ changes the set into something more special than most of us thought would be possible.

I remember reading somewhere that it almost knocked someone off their chair when they first heard the track, well, I have to agree, and live it is even better. If I was sitting on a chair I would have happily fallen off it.

With the tracks ‘Next To Me’ and another new track, ’Chains’, guitarists Byron Garbett and Brian Green amply display their playing ability and are complemented admirably by bassist Phil Burrows and drummer Jack Ryland-Smith, making this band one of the tightest live acts I have seen in years. 

Gin Annie are so good this evening that I, and I suspect most of the crowd, have forgotten about the pillar in the middle of the stage that almost divides it in 2 parts, such is the level of interest in the band and their music. It really did seem to be invisible during their set.

As the far too short a set edges towards the inevitable final song, the crowd has grown a little and, as the opening chords of ‘Born To Rock N Roll’ begin, we all realise we have seen something special in a band that surely will not be in the support slot for much longer.


An absolutely superb gig and an absolutely must see live band.


Band members:

David Foster - vocals

Byron Garbett - guitar

Brian Green - guitar

Phill 'Hammer' Burrows - bass

Jack Ryland-Smith - drums

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The list of bands, and hits, that Graham Bonnet has contributed to is incredible. This is the man who fronted Rainbow, with Ritchie Blackmore, and played the inaugural Monsters of Rock event at Donington Park before moving on to front MSG with Michael Schenker. 

Amongst the honour of recording with such luminaries as Slash and Vivian Campbell, Bonnet has had a successful solo career with his own band, Alcatrazz who, in their time, featured guitarists Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai. The keyboard player from Alcatrazz, Jimmy Waldo, features as part of the band on stage tonight.


Having previously seen the Graham Bonnet band live, and greatly enjoyed them, I had a high expectation of what was to come as the band entered the stage. Bonnet followed as the opening chords of the Alcatraz track ‘Too Young To Die, Too Drunk To Live’ began. Ironically this song is the complete opposite of Bonnets lifestyle and he reminds the smallish crowd of around 100 people that he has been sober for around 16 years. This was after an incident where he exposed himself on stage during a gig with Michael Schenker.

The track is well received and guitarist Kurt James quickly establishes his style with his playing ability, although his animated stage style reminds me of Blackmores early days with a little bit of Malmsteen thrown in for good measure. The crowd roar their approval at the opening riff of ‘All Night Long’, one of the few classic Rainbow tracks that Bonnet is perhaps best known for and that feature at both the beginning and end of the set.


The track ‘Night Games’ from the ‘Line Up’ solo album of 1981 quickly follows and the crowd are rapturous in appreciation of these tracks so early in the set. Naturally the band also draw on some of the newer material they have released and it is on these tracks that bassist Beth-Ami Heavenstone  stands out. It is however, the more well known classics that the crowd are at this gig to hear.  


When I say the crowd, I notice that 2 members of the crowd are leaning on the stage, mobile phones propped against their glasses of beer, and are watching a football match on their screens whilst paying no attention to the band. I am not the only one who thinks this is rude and at one point guitarist James wanders over and makes as if to kick the phones over but stops short of doing so. This went completely un-noticed by the 2 men concerned who just continued to watch the football.

The band are solid with the addition of a solid drummer in Mark Benquechea and keyboardist Jimmy Waldo, though he is a little lost at the far corner of the stage. It is noticeable that the pillar in the middle of the stage has “reappeared” and really has divided this into a stage of 2 halves with guitarist James anchored on the left hand side and the rest of the band firmly anchored on the right. 

Bonnet does make the very occasional foray to the left hand side but they are few and far between, choosing to remain mainly centre stage interacting with bassist Heavenstone. It is only when she ventures over to the other side of the pillar for a short period with James that the whole stage comes alive. Perhaps a better lighting set up would have assisted and, at times, the stage was quite dark.


Bonnets humour and irreverent style shines through as always and the crowd seem to be enjoying the rambling style. This is especially obvious when he announces the guitar solo as allowing him time to “go for a piss”. The solo allows James to make good use of both sides of the pillar and to interact with the crowd in a short call and return section, and even features playing the guitar with his teeth. It does however become a somewhat self indulgent solo and not to the potential of the playing ability that had been displayed through earlier numbers.

On Bonnets return to the stage, complete with hand written lyrics to the track ‘Long Island Tea’, we  are soon treated to ‘Assault Attack’ which seems to reinvigorate the crowd before the track ‘The Mirror Lies’ from the EP ‘My Kingdom Come’. We soon realise that the end of the set is almost upon us as Bonnet tells us it is time for ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’, the classic Rainbow song by Russ Ballard, which builds the intensity up for the closing track, another Rainbow classic, of ‘Lost in Hollywood’.

The band leave the stage and the small crowd show their appreciation for what was a good night of classic rock music by a singer who has seen and done it all.

Band Members:

Graham Bonnet - Vocals

Kurt James - Guitars

Beth-Ami Heavenstone - bass

Jimmy Waldo - Keyboards

Mark Benquechea - Drums

Check out more from the band at:



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