HELL'S ADDICTION / SONS OF LIBERTY / RAVENBREED - Cobblestones, Bridgwater 15.03.19
PHOTO CREDITS: MARTY MOFFATT PHOTOGRAPHY
HELL’S ADDICTION are currently riding high on the success of their ‘V1.0’ EP, which the Leicester based hard rockers released on 8th March 2019. The 4 track EP reached No. 2 in the Amazon Rock album chart (kept off the top spot only by the mighty Queen), No. 1 in Hot New Rock Releases and No. 1 in Digital Downloads in Rock on Amazon.
Formed in 2010, the band have previously released albums ‘Raise Your Glass’ (2013) and ’Broken’ (2016) and EP ‘Statutory Nuisance’ (2018). Tonight is the first in a string of dates across the UK to promote ‘V1.0’ and having purchased the band’s back catalogue in January and downloading the new EP I’m looking forward to hearing the songs in a live setting.
In support slots tonight are Bristolian Southern rockers SONS OF LIBERTY and Cardiff based rockers RAVENBREED and the venue is Cobblestones, Bridgwater’s only dedicated live music venue of 150 capacity. A chilly room when it’s not rammed with people, it’s unfortunately a bit sparse tonight but those that are here can look forward to a night of great music with three bands that have been making waves around the live circuit.
First up is RAVENBREED, whose ‘Hollowed’ EP was Down the Front Media’s EP of the year for 2018. Zoey Emelia Allen (vocals) is the obvious focal point as the band begin their set with ‘Polaroid’ and then ‘Insult’, her deep guttural vocals strong as she moves, long red hair shining under the lights. Oli Watkins (drums) pummels his kit as Ross Formosa provides a solid bass and Mikey Watkins (guitar) adds grungy proficiency. Highlights include ‘Told You Twice’ and ‘Falling Away’.
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SONS OF LIBERTY have recently released their second EP ‘Aged in Oak’ and in January won a place on next year’s Giants of Rock Main Stage. They’ve just been announced for this year’s Planet Rockstock too. These guys have a wealth of experience and it shows; they are confident entertainers and everything runs like clockwork as they treat us to ‘Brotherhood’, ‘Dixie Whiskey’, ‘Up Shit Creek’ and ‘Fool’s Gold’. Lead guitarist Fred Hale is such a smiler as he performs and tonight is no exception, he beams at the appreciative audience as he performs, his solos masterful. Frontman Rob Cooksley is in fine voice, and he does love to have a chat and tell a tale or two. He’s energetic too, spinning, wielding the mic stand at the end of ‘The Brave’. The band finish with ‘Damned If You Do’ and ‘If It Ain’t Southern’.
Rob Cooksley - vocals
Fred Hale - lead guitar
Andy Muse - guitar
Mark Thomas - bass
Steve Byrne - drums
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From the moment the opening riff of ‘What You Gonna Do’ rings out, it’s clear that HELL’S ADDICTION take their craft very seriously indeed. The dual guitars of Liam Sargent and Dan Weir are harmonious as they trade off singing solos and killer riffs with ease. Ben Sargent’s vocals sound absolutely flawless and I can honestly say I’ve never heard a live vocal like his. He ranges from low and growly to high end wailing falsetto in the blink of an eye and with such tremendous power and control; all this while swilling beer and headbanging.
As the set continues with ‘Get The Fuck’, ‘We’re On Fire’ and ‘Free Your Mind’, Luke Morley on drums is a powerhouse, his black sticks flying and his face joyful as he works his kit with deft precision. Liam pulls off shredding solos and lively riffs while Ben draws the audience in with his engaging personality as he sings. Titular track ‘Broken’, from the band’s second album, is a highlight as it is the perfect song to showcase each musician’s individual talents; Dan Weir’s solo is just breathtaking, while Jason Green’s booming bass resonates through and adds to the classic hard rock sound that HELL’S ADDICTION have taken and ramped up to an earsplitting 11!
The audience simply cannot get enough as each song from ‘V1.0’ is performed, along with most of ‘Statutory Nuisance’ and some of ‘Broken’. Picking highlights is hard but the emotionally raw ‘If Time Stood Still’ and the hard ’n’ heavy ‘Blue Lights’ are incredible. Each song sounds phenomenal and it’s a privilege to watch these gifted guys play together like a well oiled machine, giving their all in an enthralling performance worthy of a sell out arena date.
The fifteen song set seems to go by in a flash and seems to end all too soon with ‘Running Away’ (from ‘V1.0’) and ‘Holiday’. There is no affectation with these guys, they are natural performers that shine as individuals but when brought together create something spectacular.
Tonight I feel I’ve observed something very special indeed. I leave Cobblestones with yet more merchandise, feeling absolutely blown away by HELL’S ADDICTION. The tour continues (dates below) so if you like your rock in your face and ballsy, get yourself out to see these guys while they’re still in intimate venues.
Ben Sargent - vocals
Liam Sargent - guitar
Dan Weir - guitar/backing vocals
Jason Green - bass
Luke Morley - drums
See Hell’s Addiction live here:-
22 March - Cannock, The Station
23 March - Nottingham, The Maze
12 April - Camden, The Black Heart (supporting AT THE SUN)
13 April - Stafford, Redrum
26 April - Leicester, The Musician
04 May - Crumlin, The Patriot
10 May - Norwich, B2 Venue
11 May - Southend, Chinnerys
24 May - Bromsgrove, Breaking Bands Festival
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