LINDSAY SMITH-BOAM (PHOTO CREDITS: LINDZRS MEDIA PHOTOGRAPHY)
The evening started early with several lucky Fan Group members given access to an exclusive VIP experience for themselves plus a guest. A nice touch at every gig of this, the first headline tour for Toby Jepson’s Wayward Sons allowing them into the inner sanctum to see first-hand soundcheck and have a chat with the band and all for free. It is so difficult for bands to make any money and touring / merchandise/ CD’s are the ways they can do so. Having a ‘free’ M&G experience is respectful to the fans and recognition of the fact that it does cost to be a fan. A lovely idea and one which was absolutely appreciated by those watching and listening. Thanks to Geoff from the fan group for organising and sorting it all out, awesome job.
Purposely the band seem to have selected smaller, more intimate venues for the tour and tonight was no exception. The show had sold out within 2 weeks of being announced and in chatting to people, it seemed that this was for several reasons with many having discovered Wayward Sons when they supported Inglorious at the Rescue Rooms or had seen the guys supporting Steel Panther earlier this year. There were also many devoted Little Angels / Toby Jepson fans in attendance but for whatever the reason for being there, genuine fans had gathered with indisputable excitement building.
The publicity around the tour had made it clear what to expect; a screening of the four previously released music videos forming ‘The Ghosts Of Yet To Come’ short film, ‘Until The End’, ‘Alive’, ‘Crush’ and ‘Ghost’ together with the new instalment to complete the set.
No quibble from me, the videos look and sound great. Jay Hillyer has made 5 highly watchable music videos which despite the screen being a little low so the audience silhouettes covered the lower part of it, the videos were met with approval and appreciation from those assembled.
Harking back to the days of an evening spent at the local working men’s club, Pete K Mally provided the comedy and some of what he delivered was funny. He worked hard for his laughs with great enthusiasm but when some of the comments were about the main man of the band that everyone was there to see, it really didn’t endear him to their hearts. I liked the concept though.
Mr Jepson does have the reputation for working with new talent, hence how he came across Sam Wood (guitar), and I’m sure his intention will be to encourage and support new bands on future tours allowing them to opportunity to share the stage.
The Basement stage is narrow and fans were packed tightly against the barrier, beers held aloft to be passed to friends too packed in to move. As Wayward Sons took to the stage, ‘Alive’ smacked out of the speakers, the loud and heavy riffs and thunderous bass line knocking the air from your lungs as Jepson’s lyrics challenge, “Brace yourself and get ready for the ride!” and “Nobodies getting out of here alive”, a damn fine way to start the set.
Dropping into ‘Ghost’ the power continues. The sound balance seems bang on from the front and the crowd rocks with the energy. Big hitting drummer Phil Martini is firing on all cylinders as the chorus kicks in and the crowd sings along.
Nic Wastell’s booming rumbling bass leads in ‘Don’t Wanna Go’. “To be A Rockin’ Roller” is shouted out loud by the fans crammed against the barrier, hands clapping and fists in the air. Snarling riffs, that lovely under current of bass, the smacking cymbals and crashing drums bring such a fullness to the sound accompanied by the guitars of Jepson and Sam Wood.
The band are on fire tonight, a tight blend of melody and ferociousness. Never still, bouncing constantly, no room for Wastell to bound across the tiny stage in the manner we have become accustomed to seeing him but still the audience match them in energy and the room is staggeringly hot, sweat rolling together with the rock and roll as they play ‘Give It Away’.
‘Killing Time’ is one of my favourite tracks from the album. The vocal sitting above the music as the lyrics flow and the thudding drums and bass play a supporting role. Cracking aggressive guitars add to the might of the wonderful noise. Slightly slower in pace, the slogging mesmerising riffs flow to the surface and become a mass of soaring chords.
Dave Kemps’ keys are more evident with ‘Crush’ one of the most popular songs from the album. I couldn’t keep the smile off my face as a refrain from ‘Union City Blue’ (Blondie) was added in to the mix to give a very special twist on the track. When I first heard the song live several months ago, the keys reminded me of something but I couldn’t quite place it, and to hear it thrown into the song was probably the highlight of the night for me. Very clever guys!
PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA. PLEASE DIRECT ALL MEDIA ENQUIRIES TO INFO@DOWNTHEFRONTMEDIA.COM
The levels of energy the band were maintaining with the sheer pace and ferocity of each track was incredible. ‘Small Talk’ seems to encompass a punk feel to the rock. There is little small talk between tracks with thanks being given to all those who have come out to support the band and who have bought the album. Tonight’s show is being filmed and the band’s first headline tour has evidently gone very well, the reaction from both the band and the crowd is visible.
From the recently released EP, new track ‘Standby Heart’ is a guitar driven punk feeling song with a shout out chorus which will endear this to fans for years to come. Carrying on with ‘Be Still’ it has everyone bouncing in unison. You can’t help it, a very up-tempo song with a killer chorus and sing-a-long lyrics. It’s the hook from the chorus to the verse and vice versa that grabs you as killer riffs break through before ebbing below the pulsating drums and organ toned keyboards.
Time to learn another new song from the EP with Toby leading willing participants in ‘Radio Denial’ another fast-paced punk tinged rock song with an ear worming chorus and smattering of riffage and rumblings smashed together with rhythmic drumming and a power packed vocal delivery.
By now the shirts are soaked in sweat and tendrils of hair stick around the faces of Sam and Toby, the relentless pace and tone of the music subdues slightly with the more funky feel of ‘Something Wrong’.
‘Kickin’ Up The Dust’ is always a track which is going to have the memories of Little Angels flooding back. It’s the same song but it does seem to have a ‘Wayward's’ feel in its delivery.
When I heard ‘Backslide’ last summer it blew me away with the timelessness of it too. Hard and heavy guitars with melody by the mega bucket but it does definitely now feel like a Wayward Sons’ track, tonight demonstrating what playing the song frequently can do – the guitars were tight and angry, snarling riffs and such a massive powerhouse of drumming you can understand why many fans liken the hard hitting Phil Martini to the late and very great Cozy Powell. Tribute indeed.
‘Until The End’ is one that gets me every time. It is a delicious melodic rock and roll song. Catchy as hell and what I would class as pure Toby Jepson. Well written, well constructed and a bloody good song. ‘Young Gods’ is anthemic, another classic Angels track which deserves to be played loud and well, which it is. The musicianship of this band is pretty epic. A togetherness from touring is showing and it isn’t just the crowd enjoying the song, the band seem to be loving it, smiling and giving it their all. Winding it down, we are treated to a few bars of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ in closing, another clever touch to keep everyone on their toes.
The 80 minute set felt like 20 minutes. With one album and a smattering of new music and old Little Angels tracks tonight has been a massive success.
Wayward Sons are a new band regardless of the experienced musicians forming it and having the ability to headline a tour with no support and sell out venues, plus deliver on the night to such a high level is a big achievement.
I have no doubt Wayward Sons are in this for the long haul working their way up and through in the right way, gaining fans and respect along the way plus they are all thoroughly nice guys. Appearances at festivals including Download this summer will give further opportunities to catch them live and also for them to reach a wider audience which they so deserve to do. Awesome job guys, a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
Wayward Sons are:
Toby Jepson - Vocals, guitar
Nic Wastell - Bass
Sam Wood - Guitar
Dave Kemp - Keyboards
Phil Martini - Drums
PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT THE PRIOR CONSENT OF DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA. PLEASE DIRECT ALL ENQUIRIES TO INFO@DOWNTHEFRONTMEDIA.COM