UGLY KID JOE with support from PHIL CAMPBELL & THE BASTARD SONS / YELLOWCAKE - Glasgow Garage 18.04.18

CHRIS STONES (PHOTO CREDITS: MB PHOTOGRAPHY SCOTLAND)

 

On a sunny evening in Glasgow’s city centre, the suited professionals, tired yet focused - head home for the day. With no desire to make eye contact, they weave through newly arrived, battle-worn gig-goers festooned in band shirts, denim and leather. These new arrivals, many of whom had been wearing those very suits a matter of hours before, are in town to recalibrate to the sounds of rock n roll.

 

The Garage isn’t a garage. Doesn’t even look like one. Bar the truck cab bursting from the wall above the entrance, this is a venue like many others in this vibrant city. The venue hosts gigs, events and club nights and has enjoyed a rich history of acts ranging from the legend Prince to the altogether different phenomenon Marilyn Manson. The stage tonight is no different with the ‘90s icons Ugly Kid Joe arriving in town ably supported by the juggernaut that is Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons. The bonus addition of (Ugly Kid Joe front man) Whitfield Crane’s side project Yellowcake makes for an early start to a night of blistering rock.

 

Chatting with Whitfield Crane before the gig, he is tired. Very tired. Travel is harder as one gets older but that said, he is buoyant about the gig and the prospect of the tour ahead – particularly given the chance he has to play with his newest band Yellowcake. Research on the band won’t reveal a slick marketing suite of social media pages. In fact, it won’t reveal much at all other than the fact that ‘yellowcake’ is in fact a uranium concentrate powder!

 

As Yellowcake take to the stage, it is clear that this is not a carbon copy of UKJ. Far from it in fact as the darker Sabbath feel to the material bludgeons the early punters gathered at the barrier. There is a touch of the stoner genre to the performance but with Crane’s melodic vocals providing a contrast and giving the performance a polish that appeals to everyone present.

 

Crane was quick to praise his guitarist Jeff ‘Goatboy’ Curran – a Melbourne lefty who bounces about the stage without missing a note – perhaps that’s an Australian trademark thinking of another legend from the southern hemisphere? Crane is the classic front man who now doesn’t look tired as he engages the crowd and even manages to get merch guy ‘Victor’ in on the act along the way.

 

The band have been recording and have an EP available at gigs on cassette and download. The cassettes are pointed at, prodded and admired by many whilst some are heard saying “I’d buy one if I had the deck to play it”. It’s this that adds to the view that Crane has revisited what music is really all about for him.

 

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Many of those here tonight are as excited to catch the next band as they are the headliners. Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons have slowly but carefully built their reputation over the last couple of years and the release of their new album ‘The Age of Absurdity’ has announced their true arrival on the gigging circuit. That reputation was initially linked firmly to Campbell’s Motörhead membership but the band are more than this. They are fresh, energetic and powerful but with a respectful nod to Lemmy’s legacy.

 

As Campbell and his progeny take to the stage, the main man smiles politely whilst coolly chewing gum in the manner of a man who has graced a thousand stages and played a thousand songs. Dressed in a tartan shirt, shades and his now ubiquitous hat, he stands out from his band mates -dressed in uniform matching black t-shirts and cut off denim vests. This isn’t a band who preen their locks and adjust their bits n’ pieces. This is a true no-nonsense rock n roll band who launch their show with choppy riff extravaganza - ‘Big Mouth’ from their 2017 EP.

 

Wasting no time in showcasing new material ‘Welcome to Hell’ is thrust from the bellowing PA. This contemporary track works well and evidences Tyla Campbell’s assertion that the song writing process involves the whole band. Interestingly, one keen-eyed DTF photographer later points out that the set list on stage actually read ‘Welcome to Hull’!

Many present know that the band will tackle tracks from Motörhead and for now at least, the band are obliged to do so. The classic ‘Born to Raise Hell’ is attacked with swagger and confidence and frontman Starr adds an extra dimension on vocal duties that Lemmy never felt inclined to tackle. This is heard again in new track ‘Ringleader’ which is delivered like an HGV negotiating the tight aisles of a china shop.

 

As this short set draws to a close, we are asked to participate in some good humoured jibes towards said Tyla Campbell. Taken in good spirits, it’s clear that this is indeed a family affair and Starr is as involved as those bonded by blood. Not many bands have the ability to split a crowd in two and team them off to give each other the middle finger. Laughs all around are followed by the quintessential rock classic ‘Ace of Spades’. Much like the rest of the show, this is delivered with as much affection as a band can when their intent is to celebrate a carefully aimed Exocet missile striking human targets.

 

Closing track ‘High Rule’, again from the new album, is a brooding affair with a meaty bass intro and mammoth rhythm delivered as a bold statement to bring proceedings to a close. The guitar solo is a work of precision engineering dripping with a honey tone that works so well in such a bombastic tune. Those musical elements deserve credit. Tyla C is proud that the band all play a part and not just ‘Dad’ when it comes to influencing the output and that is clear on the new album, such is its breadth in style.

 

On reaching the final lightning strikes of the performance, the band are thanked with what could only be described as affectionate roars of appreciation. Like victorious Gladiators leaving the colosseum, they know that this wasn’t an easy show to follow.

 

Set List:

Big Mouth

Welcome to Hell

Take Aim

Born to Raise Hell

Get on Your Knees

Ringleader

Dark Days

Ace of Spades

High Rule

 

You can find out more about Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons and their tour dates this year at:
https://www.facebook.com/PhilCampbellATBS/

http://www.philcampbell.net/

 

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

Ugly Kid Joe enjoyed their heyday in the early ‘90s with the release of the globally successful single ‘Everything About You’ and debut album ‘America’s Least Wanted’ which enjoyed platinum sales in the USA. Their later release of Harry Chapin’s ‘Cats in the Cradle’ was a departure from their upbeat material but sealed their place in rock history.

 

Following various line-up changes, break ups and their reunion, the band re-ignited their fan base by releasing ‘Uglier Than They Used Ta Be’ in 2015 and tackling tours such as this that sees them patrol the UK and Europe. The band largely consists original members, Whitfield Crane (vocals), Cordell Crockett (bass), Klaus Eichstadt (guitar), Dave Fortman (guitar) and Zac Morris (drums) and a quick look at social media reveals how strong the buzz is about tonight’s show.

 

As the band bounce onto stage, they are as sprightly as they were back in their formative years with opening track ‘Neighbor’. The eagle-eyed in the audience can’t help noticing that the relaxed approach of the band is somehow juxtaposed by drummer Morris who is wearing his underwear and nothing else. The funky feel that they have made their own is evident with Crockett’s bass work driving the groove. The crowd, already lifted by the support acts, are quick to warm to Crane’s obvious skills as a seasoned frontman as he encourages audience participation in every track.

 

Track ‘No One Survived’ is delivered with panache, the chunky riffs providing the palette for Crane’s vocal brush strokes. It’s songs like this that showcase the power and breadth of the band beyond the radio friendly hits that many are familiar with. One such hit is ‘Cats in the Cradle’ and the band are visibly emotional at the response they warmly receive from all present. Following such a massive song in the band’s armoury so early in the set was always going to be a challenge but ‘I’m Alright’ is a bouncing ball of a track that grabs the crowd and shakes them by their sweat soaked collars.

 

Crane is careful to give space to the band during instrumental parts and he respectfully steps offstage to allow his colleagues their moment. No such moment is more wonderful than ‘Mr Recordman’ which is sung by guitarist Eichstadt. Eichstadt has a smooth, relaxed style which works so well with this Americana-styled track.

 

The encore is delivered without pomp or circumstance and ‘Funky Fresh’ is just what it says on the tin. The Nile Rodgers style clean guitar part is a contrast to the riffy material that precedes it and enjoys an early Chili Peppers feel that quite simply brings a smile to the faces of all present. There’s an inevitability to closing track ‘Everything about You’ but the fans have been waiting for it and sing along with huge affection. Friends embrace, lone wolves stand hands-aloft and even the bar staff sing along to this classic. There is a humble feel from the stage as the band absorb the applause and adulation. A night of contrast in style and approach has been delivered by three very different bands and it has worked. Each of the acts have complemented each other perfectly and given something for everyone in the emptying venue.

 

T-shirts bought and cassettes prodded, the crowd filters down the venue’s steep stairs into the bustling city. Smokers sparking, cars starting and goodbyes shouted, this has been another notch on the headboard of Glasgow’s Garage.

 

Set List

Neighbor

Madman

Jesus

Cust

Panhandlin’

Come Tomorrow

No one Survives

Devil’s Paradise

So Damn Cool

Cats in the Cradle

I’m Alright

Milkman’s Son

Mr Recordman

Busy Bee

Same Side

Goddamn Devil

VIP

Funky Fresh

Everything About You

 

You can check out more from Ugly Kid Joe at their website and social media pages at-

https://www.facebook.com/uglykidjoetheband/

http://www.uglykidjoe.net/

 

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

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