(PHOTO CREDITS: LINDZRS MEDIA-PHOTOGRAPHY)
The early doors and a lashing of rain heralded the beginning of another great night of music at Eleven in Stoke.
I had not heard of The Very Petticoats and Google hadn’t been much help so other than some information on their Facebook page I wasn’t sure what to expect. Hand of Dimes on the other hand are a well-known band with Nev MacDonald and Neil Garland forming the band a few years ago and their album ‘Raise’ has been a constant on my playlist since its release. I had also caught up with the guys shortly before they played HRH in March for a chat before pretty much blowing me away with the quality of the songs and the strength of MacDonald’s voice during their set.
Opening the evening’s entertainment was The Very Petticoats who are a local band from Stoke and had a few supporters in the now swelling crowd. Taking to the stage, bassist TJ Harlott noted that this was only their 3rd live performance with this line-up and also their biggest gig to date, which explained the nerves evident throughout their set of songs, including some from their 2016 released EP ‘Goin Down Swingin’. The fact they have only played a few shows unfortunately showed as there seemed little connection between Harlott, guitarist Jake Bereton and Sam Shaw on drums during the set. There were some dodgy timing issues between drums and bass too. but we will put that down to nerves. Mel Taylor has a strong voice and the blend of Harlott’s rap and her tone fitted well together. Hopefully tonight has given them something of a boost as the crowd were very supportive and appreciative of their efforts. It must have been a bit daunting for such a new band to open for such seasoned performers.
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The audience pushed forward to the barrier as smoke filled the stage and the lights dimmed. Amid cheers and applause the band launched into ‘Looking At You’, the sound spot on as I have come to expect from this venue.
The room had already become stifling hot as the first song finished and MacDonald chatted effortlessly to the crowd, smiling and appearing to be very relaxed. Continuing with ‘Moonlight Mile’ followed by ‘Bad Reputation’ allowing stand in guitarist, FM’s phenomenal Jim Kirkpatrick to demonstrate why he is regarded by many as one of the best lead guitar players around.
This was the second time Jim had filled in for Colin, the first a few weeks ago for a short set supporting Thunder at Caerphilly Castle, so tonight’s full set would be a challenge with 15 songs on the setlist. A challenge more than ably accepted, armed with an iPad and a guitar, I’m sure Jim could play anything and this was a total display of professionalism and musical ability, there is an obvious connection between Kirkpatrick and MacDonald which came across in the music, the band sounding tight, the riffs soaring and the songs flowing in spectacular style.
Neil Garland ventured out from behind the keyboards with his harmonica on several occasions and I felt as though the guys in the band were enjoying themselves just as much as the fans watching and listening. Stories behind the songs, times with Skin and Kooga, memories shared by MacDonald around the songs. ‘Stranger In My Home Town’, ‘Angels and Demons’, ‘Burlesque’ (Family cover) sounding fabulous before the one I was hoping for ‘Jacob’s Ladder’. As MacDonald introduced the song, the crowd cheered, not just my favourite Dimes song then!
Only one word to describe the song live - stunning, both musically and vocally. The ending was just so good Nev did it again – holding the note for an eternity with power and ease. A song packed full of not just wonderful words and melodies but stunningly understated riffs. Following with ‘Guilty’ and ‘Come The Hour’ this was a huge treat for the ears. Song after song of soulful, melodic rock performed by a cracking band. ‘Pinstriped Arrogance’ and ‘Sail On’ amongst the next songs winding up the main set before a well needed towel down, a quick drink and 2 minute breather from the heat and I don’t just mean for the band. It was hot!
Flooding the room with soulful rock with ‘Another Sunday’ and ‘House Of Love’ (Skin) allowing the willing crowd to participate before finishing the night with the Whitesnake classic ‘Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues’.
Taking the time to come out and chat to everyone after the show was admirable after such a hot night – no one was rushed and the band seemed happy to remain until everyone wanting selfies and reliving old and newer memories, had had their time with each of the band.
Hand Of Dimes are:
Nev MacDonald, vocals / guitar
Neil Garland, keyboards, harmonica
(Colin Edwards, Lead Guitar) Jim Kirkpatrick, Lead Guitar
Mark Maybry, Bass Guitar
David Stephenson, Drums
PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA. PLEASE DIRECT ALL MEDIA ENQUIRIES TO LINDSAY@DOWNTHEFRONTMEDIA.COM