VOODOO SIX / SKAM / HOLLOW HANDS - Crauford Arms, Milton Keynes 29.09.17

Tom Blackburne-Maze


The evening started off with a support set from a young, local Milton Keynes band, Hollow Hands. I was really impressed that they had been given a slot like this as they are the future of live music. A four-piece band of young lads with two guitars, a bass and drums. I am not sure how long they have been around but they played well and brought a decent local following with them. They played all the tracks off their self titled EP that was released in June this year – “If I’m Sick”, “Colours”, “Paint Them White”, “Forget About it”, “Nothing Left To Say” and “One Eye Open”. The lead vocalist is the star of the band, he also plays guitar and engages with the crowd between every song, encouraging them to come forward. A great lead who I think will have a great future ahead of him. The other guitarist and bassist are good players and I was particularly impressed when they slowed it down, showing they are able to mix it up. However, I do wish they showed as much energy as the lead singer did. Unfortunately, they moved around like they thought they were playing in their garage, calming moving at the back of the stage and chatting to each other between the tracks. I suspect they were nervous but they don’t need to be and I think they could offer a lot more to the band and the performance if they followed the lead of their vocalist and interacted with the fans who were obviously there to support them. Hopefully they were able to watch SKAM and Voodoo Six following them who did exactly that, it would certainly help them make the next step.

SKAM were the main support and were up next. A three-piece rock band from Leicester. They have been playing great, lively hard hitting rock since 2011. Steve Hill plays guitar and lead vocals, Matt Gilmore, the bass and Neal Hill is on drums. They played a 30 minute set, 7 tracks in all. They opened with their new single, “Between The Eyes”, which is absolutely awesome, followed by “Fading Before The Sun”, their previous single. Both of these are contained on their new album “The Amazing Memoirs of Geoffrey Goddard” which is released on 17 November 2017. For me, both of these new tracks could take them to the next level, they show a maturity in the band and I’m looking forward to hearing the rest of the album (read our review here).  As for the performance, they were brilliant. Matt, the bass with the face, moves around the stage non-stop strumming his bass whilst interacting with the fans and making the strangest of faces throughout. Steve, whilst playing lead guitar and singing, isn’t far behind him. His strong vocals and great guitar playing give us great riffs and tracks with easy to sing along choruses. Other tracks included “The Wire”, “Let’s Get Rocked”, “Only City”, “No Lies” and finished with “Massacre”. During one of the tracks Steve walks off stage and continues to play his guitar whilst walking within the fans - a great moment. He removes his jacket showing off a Voodoo Six T-Shirt and the finishing track had a great twist in it when they blended in a cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”.


It was a brilliant set from the three lads. In fact they sound more like there are five of them. I thought they were awesome and I’m looking forward to hearing their new album and hopefully seeing them live again soon. If you get a chance to see them, you won’t be disappointed.


Heading up the night were Voodoo Six who are on the last date of their current tour. Voodoo Six are a five-piece classic, hard rock band from London. They were originally formed in 2003 and consist of Tony Newton on bass, Matt Pearce on guitars and Nik Taylor-Stoakes on lead vocals. Drummer Joe Lazarus and second guitarist Craig Price weren’t able to perform on this run, so were more than adequately replaced by Jon Lodge and Chris Gill respectively. They have previously played Download four times so have been really close to the next level and, coincidently, I heard Wyatt on Planet Rock Radio playing their new single “Electric” earlier in the day whilst I was in my car so hopefully they have made that important next step to get more airplay and followers.


The set was brilliant, they played the majority of tracks from their recently released new album “Make Way For The King” but also a number of ones from their previous “Fluke?” and “Songs To Invade Countries To” albums. They opened with “Falling Knives”, then “Falling Apart”, “Take The Blame”, “Walk A Mile”, “Lead On Me”, “Something For You”, “The Choking”, “Sink or Swim”, “Take Aim”, Make Way For The King”, “Amen”, “Electric” and “Your Way”.


They were brilliant from start to finish. Nik, Tony, Matt and Chris constantly moved around, came to the front and interacted with the fans throughout. I don’t think I ever saw one of them stand still for longer than a 10 second guitar solo. Matt and Chris switched rhythm and lead guitar parts between tracks and Tony’s bass strumming was awesome. In Nik up front, the band has got a charismatic front man with great vocals and panache. He reminds me a bit of Baz from Massive Wagons in both looks and performing so you can’t wrong there. Before the evening my favourite track was “Amen” from their new album and Nik explained it was written and dedicated to the 86 music fans that lost their lives at the Bataclan terrorist attack in Paris nearly two year ago. It remains my favourite but with added sentimentality now. A great anthem. The new album is great so if you haven’t got yourself a copy yet, I would highly recommend you do.


It was a great night, two great experienced rock bands and another really young local one who may be the future. Both SKAM and Voodoo Six were brilliant, the lads really seemed to enjoy themselves and the fans did likewise


I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend listening to their music or going to see either of them live and I will certainly be hoping to see them again soon. Now I am really looking forward to receiving my signed Voodoo Six vinyl and T-shirt from their recent pledge campaign and I’ve also pre ordered the new SKAM album to go with it.




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