WOLF WITHIN formed in 2017, shortly after vocalist Stuart Craig performed a number of shows with ex GnR guitarist Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal and their debut single 'Caught in the Fire' was released a few months later. The band are recording their first album and tonight is only their third UK show. They take to the stage lamenting the long journey (they're a Sheffield band) and rock the crowd as they launch into a 7-track set filled with a deep rumbling bass, gravelly vocals and lush guitar solos.
This band has energy and passion for gold old rock n roll, with the bass in your throat, the drums in your chest and some awesome fretwork. I'll certainly look out for these guys again.
When Darkness Falls
Gonna Be A Long Time
High On Life
Life Or Death
Caught In The Fire
Stuart Craig - Vocals
Andy Lindsay - Guitar
Kev Brierley - Bass guitar
Christian Hayes - Drums
The crowd eagerly await DOOMSDAY OUTLAW and excitement (and maybe a little confusion) builds as 'Boom Shack a Lack' booms out from the darkened stage.
The band's self-released debut album, 'Suffer More’, received glowing reviews both from fans and critics, and as the band enter stage left, I'm struck by how humble and unassuming they are,
despite rave reviews yet again, this time for their second album, their first as part of Frontiers' New Breed family. I've practically begged to review their show, being a fan but not yet having had
the opportunity to see them perform live, despite them being from just over the county border. My bad.
Phil (snake hips) Poole, with his trademark bandana, launches straight into 'Over And Over', their riff-laden second single from the new 'Hard Times' album, the band making the most of the large stage. By the next track, 'Spirit That Made Me', Poole's voice has warmed up and he is belting out those powerful and soulful vocals, swaggering around stage with that Mick Jagger pout and getting his groove on, and the crowd is already won over by this confident performance of some fine hard rock with a side order of blues and outlaw.
'Hard Times' is one of my favourites from the new album, with a delicious southern inflexion, and these guys on are fire! The hip-wiggles continue, alongside self-deprecating comedic facial expressions as Poole's voice soars above the crowd and towards the back of the room with ease. Their performance is both impressive and self-assured, each musician playing his part bloody brilliantly, and the band are as tight as a Kardashian's jeans.
The sorrow is palpable as Poole declares, with most of their songs being just shy of 7 minutes long, that there are only 2 tracks left. Time for some audience participation in the form of 'All That I Have' and Steve Broughton is throwing shapes like he's at an acid house party in 1989. This song has stayed in my head since Friday - immense live - and shows no sign of vacating the premises as yet, with its southern riffs and big singalong chorus. A powerhouse performance from the whole band.
'Bring You Pain' closes the all-too-short set, a real modern classic rock track, which delights the audience whilst leaving them wanting more and (hopefully) heading straight to the merch stand. I
can't wait to see these guys again but in a longer set. The first thing that hit me was their genuine enthusiasm and obvious love for what they do and the music they make. Chunky riffs, impressive
guitar solos, and a brutal rhythm section. Amazeballs. Telling all my friends… #sorrynotsorry
Over and Over
Spirit That Made Me
All That I Have
Bring You Pain
Phil Poole - Vocals
Steve Broughton - Guitar
Gavin Mills - Guitar
Indy Chanda - Bass
John Willis - Drums
The lights dim, the anticipation is discernible and, as the musicians enter the stage in the darkness, cheers rise, and then Johnny Gioeli, the only remaining original HARDLINE member, bounds onto the stage as it lights up like Christmas. The venue is packed out and, from the cacophony of noise and glee on their faces, every single one of them has been looking forward to this!
Hardline are an American hard rock band formed in 1991 by brothers Johnny Gioeli and Joey Gioeli, and the original lineup included guitarist Neal Schon (Journey and Bad English) bassist Todd Jensen (Sequel), and drummer Deen Castronovo (The Dead Daisies). The band's most recent album is Human Nature, which was released in 2016. But, of course, everyone in this room knows exactly who they are…
The opening track is 'Where Will We Go From Here' from their last album, with a rhythm section which growls through the soles of my feet and divine vocals which sound as good as the recorded version, and as good as they ever did. What a voice! Johnny is on fire tonight, splicing his performance with high kicks and doing his own air guitar, as he belts out classics 'Takin' Me Down' and 'Dr Love', from the 1992 'Double Eclipse' album. The audience is loving it, despite his poor attempt at a Yorkshire accent (lol) before he calls "somebody call the doctor…"
Johnny introduces his "brother from another mother", keyboard player Allessandro Del Vecchio, and explains a little about their rock n roll day of chicken sandwiches and sound-checks. The masterclass of melodic rock continues with another 2016 track, 'Human Nature', and the booming riffs of 'Trapped In Muddy Waters' bounce around the room.
On "30 minutes sleep" Francesco Jovino delivers a mighty drum solo, the rest of the band backing off to put the spotlight firmly on the master of the engine room before Johnny leaps back on stage declaring “‘Life's a Bitch’...”. Now that the audience is thoroughly heated through, it's time for a ballad, the beautiful 'Take You Home' - man that voice! - and a slightly Dick Van Dyke accent introduces 'Fever Dreams', the only track in the set from the Danger Zone album.
The hits keep coming, and the band are still strong, as we go back to 1992 for 'In the Hands of Time'- which Johnny tells us his father had a hand in the idea for - and 'Everything'. There are banners held aloft on the front row, the audience knows all the words, and there is some serious '90s boogying going on in the crowd.
Johnny tells us we're all friends and it's a Hardline party, and as such they won't bother teasing us by leaving the stage, making us cheer and call for more, and then coming back for an encore. Instead, they power through and the opening bars for 'Hot Cherie' send the fans into a frenzy, each musician appreciated for their sheer talent and passion but Johnny is a hit with the ladies… Personally, I was a little bit in love with the prince of darkness Allessandro… 'I'll Be There' and 'Rhythm From A Red Car' close the show, illustrating that Hardline remain a force to be reckoned with and a powerhouse of melodic rock. The band are professional and effortlessly brilliant, and Johnny is still the voice of a generation, one of the finest vocalists of the genre.
Where Will We Go From Here
Takin' Me Down
Trapped in Muddy Waters
Life's a Bitch
Take You Home
In the Hands of Time
I'll Be There
Rhythm From a Red Car
Johnny Gioeli – Vocals
Alessandro Del Vecchio - Keyboards and backing vocals
Mario Percudani - Guitars
Anna Portalupi - Bass Francesco Jovino - Drums
Double Eclipse (1992)
Live at the Gods Festival (2003)
Leaving the End Open (2009)
Danger Zone (2012)
Human Nature (2016)