SONS OF APOLLO / JAY WUD - The Rescue Rooms, Nottingham - 08.07.18

MARIA GLOVER

(PHOTOS BY: LINDZRS MEDIA PHOTOGRAPHY)
 

Going to see super group Sons of Apollo, I know what to expect and I'm excited so I'm mega early but I'm not alone. There is a buzz in the air and expectations are high as more people start to arrive and the meet-and-greets go in. This band seems too good to be true, certainly too immense to be at local favourite the Rescue Rooms.

 

Support comes from Jay Wud, who have previously opened for GnR and Motley Crue. Jay Wud is a 4-piece, Dubai-based band named after its frontman, the Lebanese singer/songwriter and guitarist, with influences that range from Foo Fighters and Nine Inch Nails to Tremonti. The band pick up some pace and start to warm up the crowd a couple of grungy, chugging tracks in, the kit for Mike Portnoy towering behind them menacingly. No pressure, guys… Their sound is edgy, their set mixed with some alt rock and some heavier tracks, and I like it. Not entirely ground-breaking but certainly catchy and with lots of energy as they rip through their set, the stand out tracks for me being 'Evil in Me' and the instrumental 'Deception'. The drummer seemed off his game, not quite in sync, but on the whole a good bunch of musicians and a lovely gritty vocal and good presence. I'd definitely go see them again.

 

JAY WUD are:

Jay Wud - vocals and guitar

Bojan Preradovic - guitar and backing vocals

Eriks Dilevs - bass

Rony Afif - drums

 

Set:

Empire

Juggernaut

Killing my own

Low

Shine your light

Evil in me

Deception

 

Links:

https://www.jaywud.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Jaywud/

https://twitter.com/jaywud

 

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

The lights dim into blackness, a hum of anticipation is replaced with cheers and shout outs of band member’s names, Mike Portnoy's drum kit is finally unveiled, and, one by one, with a burst of music and a flash of light SONS OF APOLLO are on stage, delivered by the Gods themselves. The audience is rapturous as some of the most talented and charismatic musicians take control of Nottingham's Rescue Rooms. They open, quite appropriately, with 'God of the Sun'. The musicianship is unrivalled, Jeff Scott Soto proves yet again that he is a great frontman, and this super group is a force of nature which renders the crowd almost rabid with excitement. This is no ordinary evening in Nottingham…this will be special.

 

Sherinian's keys shine through 'Signs of the Time', a percussion-heavy track with a catchy chorus and some serious shredding by Bumblefoot. Soto's vocals are immense and successfully compete with and complement the wall of sound around him. Soto, Sheehan and Bumblefoot make use of all of the stage, delighting the crowd with stunning and compelling performance as they tear through 'Divine Addiction' onto a Dream Theatre cover, 'Just Let Me Breathe'.

 

Jeff Scott Soto, dripping wet by this point through giving it his all on this mega-hot summer night, encourages the "muso geeks" in the crowd to air guitar along to 'Labyrinth', demonstrating some of his charisma through his easy rapport with the audience and obvious respect for his bandmates as he watches them play. Sheehan's bass solo which follows is a flurry of fingers duelling across the dual-necked instrument, as always offering a sound so rich and deep that it seems to explode through the floor direct from Hell itself.

 

Mike Portnoy demonstrates some nifty footwork in 'Lost in Oblivion', with another sizzling keys section from Sherinian in a night of sheer music-porn; each musician at the top of their game and  effortlessly delivering sublime note after divine chord, in fact I don’t think Bumblefoot has even broken a sweat!

 

The band leave the stage for "Jeff's spot" except for Bumblefoot and Jeff Scott Soto, and Jeff begins to talk about the last time he was in this venue, last year, a night I was lucky enough to share with him, with friend and Soto bassist David Z who was tragically killed on tour with Adrenaline Mob almost a year to the date. Raising a toast to a flutter of applause (and a very tearful me) we witness a beautiful rendition of Queen's 'Save Me' dedicated to David's memory, Jeff's powerhouse voice purely sinful, with Bumblefoot on guitar. The rest of the band return to the stage and they merge almost seamlessly into 'Alive', emotions high and me in floods of tears.

 

Soto goes to rest his voice and change his shirt (and quite possible compose himself) for a breathtaking guitar solo spot from Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal, who has already elevated himself to one of my favourite guitarists based on tonight's performance alone. I hadn't seen him play live before but, wow. He is captivating as he wrings more beauty than you ever knew was possible from his twin-necked guitar, illuminated so that as he enters and exits the stage it looks like a light aircraft is coming in to land.

 

An instrumental section kicks in, which adds to the feeling that we are witnessing something really quite special, leading up to a dazzling solo spot from Derek Sherinian, master of the keys and synths - this guy has moves too!

 

Jeff Scott Soto returns to the stage in fresh clothes, a basketball style vest with SOA and Soto 73 emblazoned across, and launches into another Dream Theatre cover, 'Lines in the Sand'. Again the vocals and instrumentals are outstanding, and a highlight was Soto on bended knee in front of Bumblefoot, holding his prized guitar as the crowd are once again wowed with this guy's sheer skill.

 

The crowd appear to really appreciate the musical genius and dexterity of the band illustrated through the spotlight sections and in my opinion these were just the right length and nicely spaced out. I'm kind of disappointed that Portnoy hasn’t had a solo slot but he has been prevalent throughout the night, interacting with both band and audience, and is clearly the engine-room of the performance.

 

The band leave the stage for the briefest of times before returning for an encore starting with Van Halen's 'And the Cradle Will Rock' and moving into 'Coming Home' which Jeff Scott Soto changes to "Football's coming home…" just for us. Jeff wanders through the crowd and goes for a shot from the bar before rejoining his bandmates on stage and ripping the roof off the Rescue Rooms in an explosive climactic close to a magnificent evening. Gig of the year for me so far, and I know more than a few agreed.

 

SONS OF APOLLO:

Mike Portnoy - drums (The Winery Dogs)

Derek Sherinian - keys (Black Country Communion)

Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal - guitar (Guns N Roses, Art of Anarchy)

Billy Sheehan - bass (Mr Big, The Winery Dogs)

Jeff Scott Soto - vocals (TSO, Journey, Soto)

 

Set:

God of the Sun

Signs of the Time

Divine Addiction

Just Let Me Breathe  (Dream Theatre cover)

Labyrinth

[Billy solo]

Lost in Oblivion

[Jeff spot- The Prophets Song/ Save Me (Queen cover)]

Alive

[Bumblefoot solo]

[Pink Panther theme]

Opus Maximus

Figaro's Whore

[Derek spot]

Lines in the Sand (Dream Theatre cover)

Encore-

And the Cradle Will Rock (Van Halen cover)

Coming Home

 

Links:

https://www.sonsofapollo.com/

https://en-gb.facebook.com/SonsOfApollo1

https://twitter.com/sonsofapollo1

 

 

 

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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