BLACKWATER CONSPIRACY / MIKE WEST - Live Rooms, Chester 06.03.19
PHOTO CREDITS: TERRY MARLAND PHOTOGRAPHY
The first performer on stage tonight is former thrash metalist, now billed as an acoustic performer, MIKE WEST who enthuses the early arrivers with his rich blend of delta blues and acoustic rock. He alternates between acoustic and three string electric guitar with a collection of self-penned numbers.
Hailing from Rock Ferry, not too far from the venue, he is quick to say how “fucking happy” he is to be on the main stage at the Live Rooms having played on the smaller performance area previously. His captivating guitar work coupled with gravelly vocals is warmly received and given that this is predominantly a rock audience it’s testament to his performance that no background chatter can be heard during the acoustic numbers.
Reflecting on his musical journey so far he recalls “I was a metal head and distortion makes me happy inside” before launching into the acoustic rock number ‘Father To Son’ in a manner that straddles his diverse styles before fittingly closing his set with “Away I Go” to warm applause.
MIKE WEST is developing reputation as a gifted solo artist with an array of musical styles in his locker that make for a unique listening experience. Go see him when you get the chance.
Formed in 2015 Northern Irish band BLACKWATER CONSPIRACY have a mission to deliver their own brand of music and not pander to whims of what fits best. This short tour sees them showcasing their highly acclaimed debut album “Shootin’ the Breeze” before joining JOANNE SHAW TAYLOR on her British Tour later this month.
They launch into their opening number “Roll The Dice” with the rasping vocals of Phil Conalane, Brian Mallon’s deep southern slide guitar and the glimmering keyboards of Kevin Brennan. Supported in some style by Kie McMurray on bass and Fionn O’Hagain on drums the band set the scene for the next 9O minutes.
With influences evident from the likes of THE STONES, BLACK CROWES and BLACKBERRY SMOKE they deliver each number true to the album version in their own unique style and with no over-long deviations or meandering solos. This a quality performance delivered with confidence and panache.
They play their ‘Shootin’ the Breeze’ CD almost in its entirety sandwiching new song ‘The Healing’ between ‘Monday Club’ and a sublime rendition of ‘Waitin’ on Hollywood’. A haunting version of ‘Hanging Tree’ affords Phil Conalane the opportunity to demonstrate his incredible vocal range. We also learn the track, that has since become a staple for live sets, almost missed the cut on their first album.
New numbers ‘In Another Lifetime’ and ‘She Gets Me High’ point to further quality offerings and fit seamlessly into the existing set-list. As the set closes they deliver a blistering version of ‘Jealous Again’ a cover of the aforementioned BLACK CROWES classic before rounding things off with ‘85 Rock Star’ that goes down a storm with the Live Rooms crowd.
The tour with JOANNE SHAW-TAYLOR kicks off at in Liverpool on 15th March then moves onto Birmingham 16th March, Manchester 17th March and then across the country before finishing in Glasgow on 27th March.
Blackwater Conspiracy are:
Phil Conalane – Vocals / Rhythm Guitar
Brian Mallon – Lead Guitar / Backing Vocals
Kie McMurray – Bass Guitar / Backing Vocals
Kevin Brennan – Keyboards / Backing Vocals
Fionn O’Hagain – Drums
Check them out here:
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