MARCO MENDOZA / NITROVILLE / BLIND RIVER - The Patriot, Crumlin 05.06.18
PHOTOS BY: MORAG FARLEY PHOTOGRAPHY
There has been a great deal of buzz on Social Media around the current tour as Marco Mendoza demonstrates that he is one of the most hard working rock stars around. Tonight at The Patriot, it would be his 29th gig on the tour which has seen him in mainland Europe, as well as the UK.
The Patriot is a venue I have been to several times before, and bands and patrons alike are always in for a great welcome and hospitality from Angela and her staff. Over the months, Phil Saunders has worked wonders on the sound and lighting and takes pride in how each band look and sound to the paying punter.
Tonight would be no exception. Despite it being a Tuesday - not a night the Patriot normally opens, there had been a lot of interest and advance ticket sales had been great. As the doors opened, there was still some sound checking going on, but all that did was increase people’s anticipation for the night ahead.
First on the bill were Blind River, a 5 piece rock band from South England. As soon as they hit the stage, the crowd that had been enjoying the evening sunshine filled up the room. Instantly, their rock and roll energy had the place buzzing, joining in, and the thunderous applause nearly drowned out the heavy rock riffs that were being cast our way.
The band are non-stop energy and although not many people knew of them before tonight’s gig, they certainly picked up a lot of new fans. With great solos, thunderous drumming and emotive vocals combined with an energetic use of the stage, they played a set consisting of many tracks from their debut album which has just been released.
Can’t Sleep Sober
Blind River are:
Harry Armstrong – Voice
Chris Charles – Guitars
Dan Edwards – Guitars
William Hughes – Bass
Andrew Esson – Drums
Check them out at:
You Tube: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCQq1HdC4PsuGS1Jv9pi83Ww
After such a high energy set, the boisterous crowd took the opportunity during the break to replenish their glasses, and return outside, where the sun was still shining.
I had not had a chance to see NitroVille before, but have had a listen to some of the tracks on their albums. They were in complete contrast to the first band, with a much more sedate pace as lead singer Tola Lamont’s strong voice, with hints of Lizzie Hale, beckoned the al fresco audience back into the room. The set began strongly with ‘Apophis 2029’, from their 2016 album Cheating the Hangman. They reserved the title track from that album until later in the set.
With great musicianship they engaged with the audience, talking about the songs they were performing. Delivering a great mix of tracks from their 2 albums, the steady drumming of Moyano El Buffalo and Paulo Succo on bass, supported the two guitarists well. Nearing the end of their set, Tola introduced ‘Zombie Galore’ which starts slowly, but hints of a powerful track before hell breaks loose and the song builds into some hard rock.
NitroVille are a good, steady band, and, with an imminent performance at Londons StoneFree festival,they are destined for more recognition.
Tell it Like it is
Engine Ain’t no Stopping
Cheating the Hangman
Taking the Stand
Tola Lamont - Vocals
Kurt Michael Boeck - Guitar
Grizzly Rose Lee - Guitar
Paul Succo - Bass
By the time the stage had been set for the final act of the night, the anticipation was tangible in the packed venue. The stage darkened and Kyle Hughes took his place behind the drum kit and Mickey Crystal appeared on the stage, guitar in hand. Waiting for the man himself, we heard the classic tones of Marco’s ESP bass before we saw him walking through the crowd with a welcome applause to accompany his entrance.
Marco has a long history in the music business, and his current band, The Dead Daisies, have recently undertaken a tour which included a few UK dates. When he tours on his own, it is very different. He plays with hand picked musicians of incredible talent who support his fresh mix of rock, jazz, blues, to name a few. Some are his own, some are covers, but every show is unique.
Marco is an engaging man and likes to chat. He leaves the stage throughout his set - anxious to meet us, to thank us for coming out to see him. He seems humbled by the number of people who are there to watch him play.
He introduces ‘Give Peace a Chance’ and the audience are encouraged to join in, which we do. He has recently released his third album - ‘Viva La Rock’ and treats us to some tracks from it. The title track is a hard rock track with a message - long live rock and roll. Marco says he loves playing in venues like the Patriot where he can be close to the audience. He implores us to support such venues to protect the future of live music. As they play ‘Lettin’ Go’, from his album Live for Tomorrow, the audience are treated to his more latin side, and thoroughly enjoy the funky music, which shows off Kyles talents behind the drums and Marcos versatile vocal style.
He is very keen on the show being “a party” and wants everyone to participate. As he begins his tribute to the late Billie Holiday - ‘God Bless the Child’, he has everyone clicking their fingers. Patiently, he waits for the chatter to stop, until there is no sound except a hundred fingers snapping in time. It is a very poignant moment as he once again sings to us from the floor, without the aid of a microphone. His vocal performance is sublime throughout the show as he shows his talents in both range and style.
Marco acknowledges his time playing with Ted Nugent by playing ‘Hey Baby’ which gives us the chance to hear his talented supporting musicians. Every track allows Micky to shine as he delivers riff after riff and soaring solos galore. No Marco show would be complete without including a couple of Thin Lizzy classics, to acknowledge his 20 years with the band. ‘Chinatown’ and ‘Jailbreak’ are tonight's tracks of choice, and Kyle takes the lead vocals for the latter. With curfew looming, the show draws to a close, but Marco implores everyone to meet him at his merch stand, just to say hello, to have a photograph and many people do, despite it now being well on the way to midnight.
As people drifted home, it was clear that, once again, live music is alive and well in the Welsh Valleys. Although this was the 29th show in Marco’s solo tour, there are several other opportunities to catch him, and I recommend that you do. Marco will be back in the UK in July along with rest of The Dead Daisies to head up the mountain for the Steelhouse Festival (www.steelhouse.com).
Marco Mendoza - Bass, Vocals
Micky Crystal - Guitar, backing vocals
Kyle Hughes - Drums backing vocals
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