CHARLEY FARLEY (PHOTO CREDITS: MORAG FARLEY PHOTOGRAPHY)
Arriving at the venue a little late due to weather and traffic issues we could hear that Steve Hill had started his set, not having seen him before we didn’t know what to expect. The massive blues/southern sounding rock didn’t paint the picture of what we could see, a one man show. Steve, single handedly make a sound that some full bands struggle to produce. This amazingly talented Canadian Rocker plays everything, Kick drum with his left foot, Hi-hat and Snare with his right, even cymbals with the aid of a stick attached to the headstock of his guitar. Playing a mix of tracks from his as he states, imaginatively titled Steve Hill Solo recordings 1, 11/2, 2 and 3 and a stunning Hendrix/Led Zeppelin mash up. The brief set was over and the Aberdare crowd showed their appreciation of one of the most unique rock acts currently out there. Speaking to Steve after the set, he told us how he fell in to being a solo artist because waiting for gigs with his band wasn’t paying the bills. It was a gamble that seems to have paid off well! He has plans afoot to hopefully return to the UK in 2018. I urge you to check this guy out. He is well worth the ticket price.
Steve Hill is, exactly that, a one man show.
Check him out at:
Hand of Dimes were the second act to take the stage, it felt a bit strange to be at an all seating venue for these guys as they never fail to get a venue bouncing. Playing tracks from their debut album “Raise”. Throwing a bit of a curveball by changing the running order opening up with the awesome “Looking at You” saving the album opening track “Guilty” until later in the set. Nev and the gang didn’t disappoint, with the playful banter that never fails to engage with the crowd, referring to the Hand of Dimes faithful by their names even getting the seated crowd dancing in the aisles during the groove ridden “Pinstripe Arrogance”. Speaking to a number of people in the crowd after their set Hand of Dimes had made many new fans. I make no apologies for saying how much I enjoy these guys playing live and they are a band I could see every week
Hand of Dimes are:
Neville MacDonald (Vocals/Guitar)
Neil Garland (Keyboards/Harmonica)
Colin Edwards (Lead Guitar)
Mark Maybry (Bass)
David Stephenson (Drums)
Check them out at:
Finally, Wishbone Ash took the stage to an almost full house. Just a few empty seats remained and it was clear that this was what the audience had been waiting for.
From the open notes of “Bona Fide” there was no doubt this was going to be a good night. Throughout the set, the tone of the both guitars, the bass and the driving beat of the drums were outstanding. Andy Powell (Guitar/Vocals) said it was great to be back in Aberdare and the crowd seemed to agree that it was great for him to be back in the Welsh valleys.
Both guitars sharing lead and rhythm duties brilliantly. Mark Abrahams, who has only been in the band for a relatively short time fitting right in, although he has been great fan of Wishbone Ash since his childhood.
A few tracks from Argus were captivating to watch and with the audience singing everything back word for word, as the musicianship of the band delivered everything perfectly. An acoustic section in the set slowed things down and we were treated to captivating versions of “Leaf and Stream” “Master of Disguise” and “Wings of Desire”.
As they went on to perform ‘F.U.B.B. ‘ Bob Skeat’s bass went to another level, the tone wasn’t just heard but felt through every fibre as it reverberated through the old theatre. Although Andy Powell had a few guitar problems he left Mark to continue on his own playing with a confidence and style well beyond his years and experience. Rounding off with “Phoenix” Andy Powell once again let Mark Abrahams take the lead and show the Wishbone Ash faithful what this lad can do.
Unsurprisingly, at the final note, they left the stage to a standing ovation with the audience begging for more. After an appropriate length of time, they returned for an encore of “Blowin’ Free” and the Aberdare crowd once again danced in the aisles and in their seats. After another standing ovation and the band announced that they were going to the foyer to have photos and sign items.
It was great to see all three acts in the foyer talking to fans, taking time to have photos and just chatting about the evening. Despite a few technical issues, the audience had a night that they will remember for a long time. Three class acts and a lovely venue with great sound, good lighting and friendly staff.
Wishbone Ash are:
Andy Powell (Guitar/Vocals)
Bob Skeat (Bass/Vocals)
Mark Abrahams (Guitar)
Joe Crabtree (Drums)
Check them out at:
**PHOTOS ARE NOT TO BE USED WITHOUT PRIOR CONSENT FROM MORAG FARLEY PHOTOGRAPHY / DOWN THE FRONT MEDIA**