STONE BROKEN with support from THE BAD FLOWERS & THE NECTARS - O2 Institute, Birmingham 19.05.18

LINDSAY SMITH-BOAM

(PHOTO CREDITS: MARTY MOFFAT PHOTOGRAPHY)

 

After missing Stone Broken in March due to the Beast from the East I was delighted when this date was announced and really pleased that The Bad Flowers were also able to make this show.

 

The queue that had formed 45 minutes before the doors opening time showed how keen the fans were to get inside and grab a prime spot. The Broken Army were starting to fortify its ranks, the only uniform required an SB t-shirt and a ticket.

 

It was my first time at the O2 Institute and I was pleasantly surprised that no matter where you stand in the room, you have a great view of the stage. However, being somewhat challenged in the height stakes I thought it wise to seek a little height so I found a great spot on the stairs. The place really is buzzing with excitement and an air of anticipation as female fronted, New Jersey Alt rockers, The Nectars take to the stage.

 

They cite some of their influences as Garbage and No Doubt, and vocalist Jess Kenny does have a Gwen Stefani look and sound about her and she extrudes similar attitude and confidence. The band have a punk edge to their music performing songs which, although unknown to the audience, have a way of hooking you in with their catchy refrains and gritty, attitude filled riffs. Beginning with ‘Holy’, the togetherness of the band is immediate. Working their way through their debut single, ‘Heaven’, the really catchy ‘Cemetery Girl’ which is full of sass and punk fuelled guitars and ‘Tame’, Jess chats easily between the songs, saying that this is their first visit to the UK and how much they love it. I am impressed with their professionalism, each song is delivered well, some fast and aggressive, others slower and more precise.

 

Jess has a lovely clear vocal on the slower songs but it’s the faster tempo ones where she seems most comfortable. ‘Mr Milagro’, ‘I Want It’, ‘Wet Cigarette’, ‘Don’t Panic’, ‘Tired’ and final song, their new single ‘We Will Run’ demonstrates the capability of this loud, energetic, enthusiastic quartet.  With their debut album Sci-Fi Television due to be released on 25th May, I’m sure we will be seeing and hearing more of The Nectars.

 

The Nectars are:

John Paul - Bass/vocals

Mike Montalbano - Drums/vocals

Michael Baron - Guitars/vocals

Jessica Kenny - Vocals

 

Check them out on their website and social media.

https://www.facebook.com/thenectarsmusic/

 

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

A quick changeover and the Birmingham based trio, The Bad Flowers take to the stage amid the dull lights and cheers from the crowd. The momentum the band have had since the release of their debut album, ‘Starting Gun’ is still maintaining its rapid pace and the band themselves have clearly benefitted from playing so many live gigs this year in support of it.

 

Starting with ‘Lions Blood’ and ‘Who Needs A Soul’, Tom’s voice is strong and he has the crowd clapping along from the word go. A fully supportive home crowd put the band into their comfort zone as Tom chats in a very relaxed manner between songs and they deliver a great and powerful set. ‘Hurricane’ has received extensive airplay and has the crowd singing along. The room is now packed solid as the band continue with ‘Secrets’, ‘Rich Man’, ‘Let’s Misbehave’ and ‘Be Your Man’. Dale Tonks has a tremendous funk to his bass playing which eats away under the grimy riffs of Tom’s guitar and what can I say about Karl on drums? He is one of the most flamboyant and rhythmic drummers around and plays so hard that he smacks the cymbal off its stand.

 

This is a very good night for the Bad Flowers, they really are on top form as they launch into the epic ‘Thunder Child’ and finishing off with ‘City Lights’ it ensures that they will have made some new fans tonight also.

 

The Bad Flowers are:

Tom Leighton, - Guitar/vocals

Dale Tonks - Bass/vocals

Karl Selickis - Drums

 

https://www.facebook.com/thebadflowersband/ 

https://www.thebadflowers.uk/

 

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

As the lights pulsed along with drum beat and the adrenaline through the veins of the crowd, the anticipation builds to a head as the opening bars of ‘Heartbeat Away’ flood out of the PA’s before the wall of sound explodes into the room. The entire room sings every word, cheering for Chris during his solos, cheering for Robyn, cheering for Kieron, it is noisy and very welcoming.

 

I have been looking forward to hearing the new album tracks live and I am not disappointed by the ferocity of the opening. Rich’s voice seems to be in top condition and he really does belt it out, “Birmingham make some noise!” and they do!

 

Sleekly moving into ‘Better’, the riffs flowing over the crowd, the bass rumbling away and underpinning the vocal. It’s a song that needs to be played loud and live. Chris’s intricate riffs sound clean and are deservedly well cheered and applauded, “Birmingham! You know what to do,” shouts Rich and the crowd responds with great gusto.

 

‘Stay All Night’ springs to life with some high tempo hard hitting from Robyn. The crowd taking over the vocal duties for the chorus lines of ‘Stay All Night’. The guitars sound big and snarly becoming intricate and precise for the solos. I’m not sure how Robyn keeps the pace up with the drumming, it is so spot on, never dropping a beat.

 

A bit of banter from Rich regarding the Beast from the East ensues, thanking the crowd for waiting and being patient before ‘I Believe’ struts to life, keeping the levels of crowd participation high. Chris and Kieron constantly swapping sides of the stage, running across, Chris spinning and turning as he does, standing on their now familiar box risers allowing all in the audience to see them playing; Rich moving around the stage, making the whole band not just musically good live, but also enthrallingly entertaining.

 

Loud aggressive drumming and mountains of grimy riffs herald the opening of ‘Follow Me’.  The guys are not messing about tonight! Well, that was a crowd pleaser!

 

Throwing down the angry riff and booming chugging bass-line of ‘Doesn’t Matter’, the Broken Army sing along enthusiastically. The melodic vocal is clear and powerfully delivered, the music flows around the room and it suddenly feels almost too small to contain it. It’s the combination of the massiveness of the music, the power of Moss’s voice together with the added voices of the crowd that make this live performance and delivery so huge.

 

A brief interlude from the music as birthday wishes were extended to one gig goer as an appropriate introduction to ‘The Only Thing I Need’, adding that the song is about kicking back and good times with friends. It has a very feel-good factor, and that is how the gig felt, a feel-good happy gig. Smiling, singing faces everywhere.

 

The room is now at boiling point as Moss enquires how many of the Broken Army are in the room which is met with a deafening roar so perhaps a few in tonight then! Adding that it is so good to be ‘Home’. This is a lyrically beautiful song, lovely melody, an emotional vocal and live it should be breath-taking. However, as it is a slower, gentler song, the conversations from some are all too audible at times. It’s just so rude and hugely irritating! If you are going to a gig, save the chatter for after the band have finished please!

 

Taking the pace back up with ‘Let Me Go’, “Give it up for Robyn” calls out Rich as she demonstrates her more than epic ability with a short and enjoyable drum solo. How often do you put those three words together? Yes, it is short enough to enjoy and long enough to hear just how good she is. As the band re-join her on stage for ‘Let Me See It All’ there are buckets full of funk and attitude. I love this song.

 

Moss brings his sister on to the stage for a belated birthday singalong of Happy Birthday adding to the close friendly feel of the night. Involving the crowd in a personal family moment only endears the band more to their fans and it does seem very natural, a family affair and an attitude that I hope will not change over time.

 

The twanging guitar opening of ‘Be There’ cracks through the PA’s as again the big wall of sound erupts and seems to try and force its way out of the doors and onto the street. It isn’t so much that they are a loud band, it’s the blend of powerful chords and riffs, the skilful smashing of the drums and the sheer power of Moss’s vocal that needs a bigger platform.

 

Oh here we go! The room is now bouncing as ‘Worth Fighting For’ begins. All around me hands are raised clapping along and as I’m stood on the staircase it feels like it has developed a pulse and natural movement of its own! The sold-out crowd singing every word but the power of the music drowns everyone out with the chunky then soaring riffs and pounding beats.

 

As the band leave the stage, the chants of “More!” become deafening and the hand claps start.

 

No one moves!

 

The solitary figure silhouetted against the back lights takes to the stage, acoustic guitar in hand. Everyone knows what is coming. Paying a moving tribute to close friend of the band, Mike James who has recently passed away and dedicating the whole show to his memory, Rich sings and plays ‘Wait For You’. I think the whole room joins in with him drowning out the chatter from those talkers in the room with the stunning power, emotion and clarity of his voice. “Make it count for Mike,” says Rich and the crowd take over the song, many of them seeming very moved and there are a few tears around the room, Rich included. Obviously a song with meaning to many as Chris, Kieron and Robyn join in with the end of the song. A lovely fitting tribute to their friend and fan.

 

A boyband song? Guys, what are you doing? It’s a rocked-up version of ‘Larger Than Life’ and sounds epic! Such a curveball and so many people know all the words! A great idea and very well played and sung.

 

The final song of the night ‘Not Your Enemy’ seems the loudest of the night. I do wonder how long we will still have Stone Broken playing in these great, local live music venues, their sound is so huge and the gig is sold out.

 

What sets Stone Broken apart from many other British rock bands at this time is the fullness of their music and the quality of the song-writing. I’m hoping there is more to come and we have yet to see them come into their all. They have a distinct sound that makes them easily identifiable but not boring and there is a massive variety in the tone and vibe of their songs which is hugely important in today’s market. Add in their infectious smiles and personalities and they get top marks in the likability stakes too.

 

With an ever-growing fan-base they are soon to embark on a tour in the States after playing successful shows in Europe, and headline performances are also scheduled for festivals in the UK this year too.

 

A thoroughly enjoyable evening with three good bands, despite the talkers!

 

Stone Broken are:

Rich Moss - Vocal / Guitar

Robyn Haycock - Drums / Vocals

Kieron Conroy - Bass / Vocals

Chris Davis - Guitar - Vocals

 

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialStoneBroken/

https://www.stonebroken.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

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