(Photo Credits: Samantha Lloyd Photography)
Having never heard of the two support bands previous to this evening I was a little apprehensive about what I would witness here tonight. Having arrived nice and early at The Station, Cannock, and
having ascended the seemingly never ending staircase (I might add that there is a lift if required), I grabbed myself a drink from the well stocked bar and mingled with some friends while I waited in
anticipation for the first band to take to the stage. The Station is a great venue, always clean and tidy, patrons always welcoming and friendly and there’s a real sense of community here, everyone
knows everyone else and there’s always someone around to have a chat with. The bar staff are always happy to help and Shaun Haynes (KOL Promotions) is always on hand to talk to and help out.
Cower, Hounds! take to the stage and place on the floor what looks like an old vinyl record. Strange I think to myself, what’s even stranger is that later on I’m gifted the vinyl as I discover that they write their set lists on old vinyl record sleeves, this one in particular is written upon South Pacific (original vinyl intact and inside the sleeve of course). Their set is loud and at times manic, though due to technical issues the feedback is somewhat deafening in between the tracks, in fact I can still hear it now buzzing in my ears. They deliver a set of hard hitting, heavy rock with vocals that needed just a little more volume for my liking. Their sound is huge, their presence is lively and entertaining with the occasional shouting lyrics and what seemed like howling at one point? Not sure if that was feedback or intentional? Paul Reynolds (vocals and lead guitar) makes a point of thanking the audience for their attendance tonight and showing support for live music, thanking them for listening and for being patient during the technical difficulties which hampered the whole set.
Cower, Hounds! are:
Paul Reynolds – Vocals / guitar
Andy Ford – Bass
Rob Stimpson – Drums
Let’s Get A Dog
~New song (which appears to be yet untitled)
Checkout Cower, Hounds! on their Facebook page, click here.
Electus are the second band of the evening who are filling this slot after the original booked support band Florence Black had to cancel due to illness. Electus are originally a 4 piece but their lead guitarist is a paramedic and unfortunately for us, he is on call this evening. And so, four becomes three as they kick off their 30 minute set. Electus have a great hard edge to their music, and even though they produce a solid sound the absence of their lead guitarist leaves a gap in their music, so I feel that tonight we haven’t been gifted with their best performance, but, at such short notice they put together a good performance nonetheless. There’s some awesome rumbling bass, but again their set is hampered by a load of feedback that really hurts your ears. Russell Peake (vocals and rhythm guitar) is a great frontman and I really liked his grainy vocals; he seems relaxed and friendly with the small audience and grateful to be out here tonight performing. ‘Slip Away’ is probably my favourite track from their set as it seemed to really flow smoothly with harmonised vocals and a catchy rhythm. Great set and an even greater set of guys! Catch them whenever you can, with a full band they are going to sound even better than they did tonight!
Russell Peake – Vocals and rhythm guitar
Gareth Daker – Lead Guitar (not present this evening)
Scott Dallow – Bass
Mick Hales – Drums
Just For One Night
Ticket to Nowhere
I Wanted You
Check out more from the band on their Facebook page, click here.
Or on their website: http://www.electus-music.co.uk/
‘Wicked River Blues’ fills the air as the quartet of John Hartwell, Arran Day, Jon Hallam and Dan Southall, AKA These Wicked Rivers, enter the room and take to the stage diving straight into ‘Stones Painted Gold’. Hartwell’s vocals are awesome from the start, clear, precise and strong, just as they are on the album. ‘Ladykiller’, from their debut EP ‘The Enemy’ is next up and it’s a great track with a dark and brooding dirty blues feel to it, plus there’s the blistering solo about two thirds throught he track that feels intense when played live.
Hartwell announces that the next one is a slow one, ‘When The War Is Won’, again from the new album ‘II’. It’s a track that is full of blues soul that Hartwell exudes with every lyric that falls from his mouth, while the rest of the guys complement the ballad with heavy driven blues rock guitar, bass and drums to deliver a hugely satisfying and mesmerising 6 minute long live version of my favourite track from their new album. Can we rewind and do this again please?
Next up is a cover of Neil Youngs 'Rockin In The Free World' which TWR deliver with the intensity of a runaway train. Dan Southall kills it on the drums, pounding the drum kit like a friggin’ boss while the bass from Jon Hallam rumbles through the floor like a high speed freight train. Simply awesome! No more needs to be said on that score.
John Hartwell introduces the next track ‘Should’ve Known Better’, their new single which is released today and this is the first time they’ve played it to an audience. “This is probably going to go badly!” he says, small piece of advice being offered at this point - Don’t place a negative seed in your audiences head. “We’ll have a go,” he continues as he looks at the rest of the band for what seems like encouragement and the whole time I’m thinking Hartwell you’ve got this man, I already know it’s going to sound ace as he turns back to the mic and rolls out his deep opening vocals. I’m loving the chorus as his vocals intensify and then drop down again into the deep bluesy verse. Loved this track live! Love the repetition of the lyrics “that shits gonna f*** you up!” First live version of this track I think it went down really well. Great one guys!
The set continues through ‘That Girl’, and an awesome cover of Rag’N’Bone Mans ‘Human’ which was requested this evening, that occurs after a small amount of technical difficulties that seem to have Hartwell a little frustrated as he hates talking to the audience, though this admission from him totally shocks me as he seems so confident during his performance, have more faith in yourself front man! You are awesome! We then move onto the second track on the new single release ‘Foolin’ Mankind’ a heavy guitar driven swaggering blues number that picks up the pace after the soulfully slow yet heavy hitting ‘Human’ cover. ‘Testify’, ‘The Enemy’ and ‘Don’t Pray For Me’ bring the hour long set to a close.
These Wicked Rivers really know how to bring energy and bluesy rock’n’roll to the table or should I say to the live scene. Bloody awesome set that I thoroughly enjoyed! If you haven’t caught the guys at a live show then you really must add them to the list of gigs to see. Amazingly friendly, wickedly talented and definite ones to watch.
Wicked River Blues
Stones Painted Gold
When The War is Won
Should’ve Known Better
Pray For Me
For more information on These Wicked Rivers click here.
Or listen to them on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/0GqHJdaaT0S1kjk3zhEVKu
**PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA**