Review: Ben Poole Trio /// – Live ‘19

(January 31st 2020)

Reviewer: Peter Scallan

Ben Poole is one of a wave of young up and coming blues guitarist blazing a new trail for the genre. In the short time he has been kicking about, he has certainly gathered some great accolades for his playing and live performances. Therefore, this interest was of particular interest to me! This live set is a double CD and is basically Ben with bass and drums.

The album opens with the dirty riff of ‘Take It No More‘. It’s a catchy guitar chop with an equally catchy chorus. It also has some great light and shade with Ben acquitting himself well as guitarist and with some decent vocals. Next up is ‘Win You Over‘ which falls into a more blues style rhythm with some tasteful guitar playing. However, for the vocals sounded a little lightweight and a little limited, but good none the less.

Start the Car‘ is next up and has a great groove to it and powers along with another catchy chorus. The album then drops into some slow burning blues with an extended guitar intro with ‘Have You Ever Loved a Women‘. In fact the song is extended full stop lasting over 11 mins of the Freddie King classic. While the song suits both Ben’s guitar and vocal styling perfectly, for me it just goes on a little too long.

The outstanding song for me is next and that is ‘The Question Why‘, which is perfect for Ben’s voice. It is a little more soulful and suits the breathy vocals. For the penultimate track on CD 1 the tone goes a little more funky and harder-edged for ‘Further On Down The Line‘ before the closing track goes back to being a little lighter and soulful again with a great clean guitar part for ‘Don’t Cry For Me‘.

Lying To Me‘ opens the second disc and is back to the grooving guitar riff. There is a great brooding guitar riff for the chorus. However, it only serves to highlight the fact that vocals can’t match that power or intensity of the riff. Next we have a Jeff Healy number in the shape of ‘I Think I Love You too Much‘. This is a great rendition of the song but again for me highlights the limitations of Ben’s vocals. We drop back into a more laid back song called ‘Found Out The Hard Way‘. Doing this type of song suits Ben’s vocals and guitar playing. It also has the benefit of a killer chorus.

Stay At Mine‘ opens with a great drum intro and bounces along nicely on the drum/bass rhythm and picks up the pace just when it needs it. The funk returns with ‘Anytime You Need Me‘ with another great rhythmic, pacey number and chorus. However, for me it’s just a little too self-indulgent coming in at well over 14 minutes with a number of musical interludes. The last song is another slow burner in the form of ‘Time Might Never Come‘. This is another great song but again for me is just too long, lasting over 15 minutes and too much guitar self-indulgence.

Having got to the end of this double CD set, I have mixed feelings. There are some great songs on this album and some great playing. While I get that with a blues trio there is always going to be an element of showboating from the main man, for me in this instance the really long songs just don’t hold my interest enough. I would also rather hear more of Ben’s original material! And finally, my perennial niggle of the singing blues guitarist! There are some fine examples out there of this phenomenon, with the like of the Nimmo brothers and Kris Barras to name a few. However, some of the material in this set only serves to highlight Ben should either select the material to suit his vocals or have someone share the vocals, such as a bass player with a voice that can move up a notch for the harder-edged material. Overall impression is that this is a good album but could easily be an excellent album depending on which way Ben wants to go with vocal options. Existing fans won’t be disappointed, but I don’t see this attracting too many new fans.

On February 1st. 1995 a young man disappeared from a London hotel. Richey Edwards was the main lyricist and rhythm guitarist in the Welsh rock band Manic Street Preachers and was due to leave for America on a promotion tour with singer and guitarist James Dean Bradfield. James waited in the lobby – but Richey never showed up.

A couple of weeks later Richey’s car was found abandoned near the Severn Bridge.

No one knows what happened to him.

On the 25th anniversary of Richeys disappearance the Danish rock trio Kuko De Kobra release the single ‘Missing A Love Bite‘. A tribute to a young man who, according to bassist/vocalist John Sharling, most likely joined the 27 Club. Sharling wrote the song with his sister in December 2019 and the band recorded the song on January 11th. with Marco Angioni at Death Island Studio, Nykøbing Mors, Denmark.

Missing A Love Bite‘ is a sixties pop pastiche with a hard rocking twist. It shows Kuko De Kobra at their most melodic while still retaining a raw, soulful edge. Out on Spotify, YouTube, Soundcloud and hopefully also on radio waves by the February 1st.

Missing A Love Bite

Music: John Sharling / Lyrics: John Sharling, Liselotte Graabæk

Guitars, production, mix, mastering: Martin Jepsen Andersen

Bass, vocals, synth: John Sharling

Drums: Morten Søndermark

Engineer and then some: Marco Angioni

Manchester’s dirty rock n blues mavericks, Gorilla Riot release brand new music with single, ‘Black Heart Woman‘, out today on Fri 24 January across all download and streaming platforms.

Black Heart Woman‘ is taken from their first full-length album, ‘PEACH‘, which is now available for pre-order at gorillariotband.com and also pre-save for streaming at https://backl.ink/100686089

PEACH‘ is available in Digital, CD and Vinyl formats and released through Off Yer Rocka Recordings (OYR). Distribution is via Cargo Records with a release date of Friday 31 January 2020. An album launch show will be held at Rebellion, Manchester on Sat 08 Feb 2020.

GR frontman, Arjun Bhishma, said, “Black Heart Woman came about after messing around with some basic open chords on the guitar. It is heavily influenced by 70’s rock, both musically and lyrically.

The song offered us something different to include on our new album, ‘Peach’, than we had done previously. Namely a more up-tempo feel whilst still retaining the Riot sound. It’s a lot of fun to play live! I recorded the vocals with my (now) ex-girlfriend staring at me from across the room. That may have been a mistake. She was expecting a ballad…

Gorilla Riot are a 5-piece dirty rock n’ roll blues machine from Manchester, England. Using a 3-prong guitar attack with multi-part vocal harmonies; they play raucous blues-based rock, combining elements of grunge, stoner, and country to create a full-on high energy show.

Created by mainman, Arjun Bhishma, he surrounded himself with the best talent in Manchester to form Gorilla Riot.  Arjun, Liam Henry (guitars & vocals), Charly T. (guitars & vocals), James Degnen (bass), have been recently joined by Will Lewis on skins.

Equally at home acoustically or electrically they toured extensively last year with shows in Spain and France, and then across the UK with Australian rockers, Massive before ending the year on the Planet Rock Roadstars tour, with Piston and Hannah Wicklund.

Along with the release of ‘PEACH‘, Gorilla Riot have their song, ‘Bad Son‘, included on the forthcoming ‘Earache presents New Wave Of Rock N Roll’ compilation album, to be released on Fri 13 March 2020

LIVE DATES:
Ticket links: https://www.facebook.com/pg/GorillaRiot/events
Sat 08 Feb – Album Release Show, Rebellion, Manchester
Sat 29 Feb – Winter’s End Festival, Poole
Sat 21 Mar – Bannerman’s Edinburgh
Sun 22 Mar – The Waterloo Music Bar, Blackpool
Fri 27 Mar – Cobblestones, Bridgwater
Sat 28 Mar – Crazy Cowboy 5, Facebar, Reading
Sun 05 Apr – Real Time Live, Chesterfield
Fri 10 Apr – Nightrain, Bradford
Sat 18 Apr – Rock The Red Lion Fest, Leo’s Red Lion, Gravesend
Sat 09 May – Outlaw Rock N Roll Weekend, The Globe, Glossop
Sun 24 May – Breaking Bands Festival, Bromsgrove
Fri 05 Jun – Loverocks Festival, Nr Bournemouth
Sat 06 Jun – Echo Hotel Music Club, Hook
Sat 11 Jul – Holmfirth Rock Splash, Picturedrome, Holmfirth (w/ Massive Wagons)
Sat 01 Aug – Just Push Play 2020, The Apex, Bury St Edmunds (w/ Those Damn Crows)

Line up:

Arjun Bhishma (vocals/guitar)
Liam Henry (guitar/vocals)
Charly T. (guitar/vocals)
James Degnen (bass)
Will Lewis (drums)

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Heed ‘The Call’!

Call of the Wild Festival announce further additions to the line-up and it’s MASSIVE!

Organisers have sneaked a much loved addition in the shape of Aussie rockers Massive. The band have been added to the Kilmister Stage and will follow Bootyard Bandits.

COTW are also happy to announce that Thursday night will host a warm-up party in the Exhibition Hall & feature Stevie R. Pearce & The Hooligans. Two further support bands will also be added to the night. This is bolstered by the news of a FREE bar each day from 11am – 1pm in the VIP area, provided by Motörhead Beer!

What’s more, Call of the Wild lager & cider will be available from all bars. There will also be a pop-up off-sales shop to buy cases of beer, lager & cider, so folks won’t need to cart loads of extra weight in their cars to the festival – which will contribute to reduced carbon footprints.

After raising hell at last years festival, the rabble rousing sinners from Cloven Hoof Rum are back bigger and badder. Cloven Hoof are proud sponsors of the second stage, where many of the bands they endorse will be performing and quite literally raising Th Hoof! The main Hoof bar will be selling a fairly priced range of devilish rum cocktails and shots of Cloven Hoof 37.5% and Over Hoof 66.6%. The scary news is that the mixologists at Hoof HQ have concocted a wicked new flammable cocktail to launch at the festival. Aptly named ‘Wild Hoof’ and served exclusively in the VIP area and is guaranteed to blow your socks off and cause some carnage. The Hoof crew will also be bringing a few crazy surprises to get the party started.

N.B. Organisers are also trialling a new feature which will be called TUNDRA. This is an area of pitched tents with basic sleeping needs installed. Prices and availability will be posted on the website very soon.

They will also offer excellent Glamping & Hotel packages; also, a transfer bus from Lincoln Central, if the demand is there.

Call of the Wild Festival were not just nominated but shortlisted at the UK Festival Awards 2019 for the BEST NEW FESTIVAL of 2019 This festival is already becoming legend, featuring prominently in a new novel, which will be launched at Call of the Wild 2020!

The multi-talented Pete K Mally – rock compere/DJ/comedian and author -will be launching his brand-new novel ‘The Call’ at this year’s festival. It couldn’t be more apt as the novel – a comedy set in the world of rock and roll – follows Dom Young (frontman of classic rock band Raven Black Whiskey Stone) along the path to success, and features our very own festival in the last third of the tale!

As Pete puts it, “With the resurgence of British Rock and Rock festivals, we’re going through such exciting times so I thought these loyal music fans and musicians deserve a novel based in this world.

The Call’ is set in this ever-changing world of rock music and includes cameos from real bands riding the wave: star bands like Ryders Creed, The Rocket Dolls, Wayward Sons and Tomorrow is Lost all make an appearance, to name but a few.

Pete will be doing a special signing session each day of the festival. Pete K Mally is well-known on the gig circuit, having toured with Wayward Sons & Last Great Dreamers. Pete also hosts his own breakfast show on MMH  -The Home Of Rock Radio, who are also playing an important part in COTW as our official media partners.”

If you’ve ever wanted to meet your idol, MMH — The Home Of Rock Radio will be running a signing tent where they hope to have many bands down for signings & photographs!

“MMH – The Home Of Rock Radio are proud to be Call of the Wild’s official media partner for this festival!” says Adam Till — owner and director of MMH – The Home Of Rock Radio , “COTW is one of the rising stars in the UK festival scene. We see bright and amazing prospects for this festival and are delighted to bring MMH to the party! We’ll be running the signing tent all weekend. All of our team will be on site, bringing you the latest coverage, interviews from the bands, along with a chance to meet the stars, buy merch and get autographs.”

After its triumphant 2019 debut, Call of the Wild Festival will return in 2020, rising to new heights. COTW‘s next cycle takes place between 29th-31st May 2020 at the Lincolnshire Showground, Grange-de-Lings, Lincoln LN2 2NA

N.B With the festival already outselling last year’s numbers, Call of the Wild Festival is expected to bring in large numbers from across the UK and Europe. Tickets already sold to both USA & Canada confirm that the word has spread internationally.

Check the website for further details and updates – a further 50 VIP upgrades to be released on Monday 27th January. Book soon to avoid disappointment!

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Review: Easy Action – That Makes One

AOR Heaven (January 31st 2020)

Reviewer: David Pearce

Easy Action were a Swedish band of the early to mid-80s. They had short lived fame off the back of two albums, their eponymous debut album released in 1983 and ‘That Makes One‘ released in 1986.

They were the first Swedish rock band to sign a worldwide record deal but found themselves overshadowed by the success of Europe. The band split up later in 1986 when Europe invited Kee Marcello, guitarist and founder of Easy Action on board just after the release of ‘That Makes One‘.

Talk of the Town‘, the opening track, could be the long lost son of Huey Lewis and the News ‘Stuck With You’ and points towards the American influence that was widespread in music at the time.

Teachers do it with Class (!)‘ is a driving rock track that makes use of Tommy Nilsson’s growling rock vocals, great guitar work from Marcello and Chris Lind and the unshowy effective drumming of Freddie Von Gerber. Needless to say, the lyrics don’t bear up to close inspection but it is a fun track.

Code to your Heart‘ is a track that any 80s rock group would like to have in it’s locker with a Springsteen style vocal. ‘Only Love‘ is the obligatory ballad that sounds very much like Def Leppard’s Love Bites at the start before morphing into a Foreigner type chorus that robs the song of its power.

One in a Million‘ is a true mid-80s song with synth and simple chorus that in places reminds me of the song Pop goes my Heart from the movie Music and Lyrics! ‘Talk, Talk, Talk‘ starts off with quiet guitars and faraway lyrics that draw the listener in, then breaks into a song that proves that these guys could produce hair rock with the best of them.

Partners in Crime‘ is a decent enough album track but nothing in it really stands out. The title track is a really good slice of AOR of the type that Survivor were knocking out whenever a new Rocky movie needed another training montage!

Rosie‘ is probably the track that sounds most like a single that could have really made dents into charts worldwide and probably reflects the direction that the band would have taken if they had stayed together. ‘In the Middle of Nowhere‘ is similar in sound to the Scorpions and is simply superb. It is my favourite track on the album by a long way and would almost certainly get airplay these days if re-released.

Eye for an Eye‘ starts off with a synth riff that sounds amazingly similar to Chequered Love by Kim Wilde. It also features probably Tommy Nilsson’s best vocal performance on the album. ‘There is a River‘ is the final track and appropriately enough brings the album to a meandering conclusion.

It is a fascinating album that shows a talented group of artists starting to find their sound through experimenting with a number of rock styles. It might have been the start of something bigger but the band’s break up meant that this became an intriguing if ultimately frustrating swansong.

 

The career of Gary Moore was a jagged timeline, full of twists, turns and wild tangents. And yet, through it all, the Irishman never lost faith in the power of live music. On December 2nd, 2009 – just fourteen months before his tragic death aged 58 – the fabled guitarist played a special one-off club show at London’s Islington Academy. Live In London, the album that perfectly captures that incredible night, is out now via Provogue/Mascot Label Group.

As adolescence hit, Moore fell headlong into the blues flavours that dominate ‘Live From London”s tracklisting, mostly drawing on US giants like Paul Butterfield and Brit Blues godfather John Mayall’s seminal 1966 ‘Beano‘ album with Eric Clapton and during that same formative period, at Belfast’s tough Club Rado, an early lesson in the emotional impact of live blues came from Peter Green.

Moore’s own first semi-professional steps had been with the Beat Boys and Dublin’s Skid Row, who offered an escape-route from Belfast, plus the camaraderie of the band’s chaotic frontman, Phil Lynott.  Lynott was soon fired, but he remembered his old wingman when his new band, Thin Lizzy, needed a stand-in. It was a gig in which Moore played the guitar hero role to the hilt. But despite the adulation, Moore feared Lizzy was nurturing his self-destructive streak, and left to explore the outer reaches in Jon Hiseman’s virtuoso jazz-fusion outfit, Colosseum II.

However, every time he picked up a guitar in the dressing room, he immediately went to the timeless licks of the Mississippi Delta, Moore suddenly saw the path. So began 1990’s Still Got The Blues, the multi-million-selling comeback album on which the Irishman’s rebirth as an authentic bluesman was given added credibility by collaborations with A-listers like Albert King, Albert Collins and Harrison himself. ”

The material from ‘Still Got The Blues‘ became the cornerstone of Moore’s shows – and it never left the setlist. Fast-forward to December 2009, and as a sea of punters streamed into the Islington Academy for the show that would become Live From London. The pace was set by Albert King’s ‘Oh Pretty Woman‘, and the home straight taking in the raucous ‘Walking By Myself‘ and the weeping melody of the title track. And of course, there was room for ‘Parisienne Walkways‘, the guitarist’s UK#8 hit sounding younger than yesterday on this new release. “I can hardly get away without doing it,” noted the guitarist of that fan-favourite encore. “It’s quite a long version, because I like to draw things out. Us guitar players, if we can squeeze a bit more out of it, we’re gonna do it, aren’t we?

Between the opener and encore, Moore gave us everything he had in Islington, revisiting some of the key crossroads of his career. From his 2008 swansong album, ‘Bad For You Baby’, there’s the energetic title track, plus Down The Line’s high-velocity country-blues and the emotive leads of Donny Hathaway’s I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know. Reaching further back, there’s the heartfelt guitar hook of Otis Rush’s All Your Love and an emotive reading of John Mayall’s Have You Heard, both songs that Moore would have first heard on ‘Beano’ as a teenage guitarist.

All the more poignant, then, that just over a year later, Moore would be gone, his screaming-hot Les Paul falling forever silent. In the blues community, it left a chasm, and while the scene has welcomed a roll-call of master guitar players since, the Irishman’s absence still stings. Live From London is one last shard of genius, catching a generation-best performer firing on all cylinders, and reminding us one last time why he was put on this planet.

Track Listing:
1. Oh, Pretty Woman
2. Bad For You Baby
3. Down The Line
4. Since I Met You Baby
5. Have You Heard
6. All Your Love
7. Mojo Boogie
8. I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know
9. Too Tired / Gary’s Blues 1
10. Still Got The Blues
11. Walking By Myself
12. The Blues Alright
13. Parisienne Walkways

Dutch multi-instrumentalist Ron Coolen will release his debut album ‘RISE‘ through RC Music on March 1, 2020. The album features a great line-up of world class guest musicians: George Lynch, Keith St. John, Christopher Amott, Göran Edman, Stéphan Forté, Joey Concepcion, Thorsten Koehne, Chris Clancy, Johannes Persson, Daniël Verberk, Steve Lamb and Sam Walters.   

RISE‘ contains 12 tracks in the best style of classic hard rock and heavy metal, with some prog and thrash here and there. All music is written by Ron, and he played all rhythm guitars, drums, bass and keyboards.

RISE‘ will ONLY be available through www.roncoolen.rocks. The CD (including a beautiful 20-page booklet) can be pre-ordered from today onwards. In digital format the album will be available on March 1.

Supporting the release of ‘RISE’, the first single of the album is released today. The song is called ‘Big Devil Data’ and it features Keith St. John (Burning Rain, Lynch Mob, Kingdom Come, Montrose) on vocals and Thorsten Koehne (Eden’s Curse) on solo guitar.

For every album sold, Ron will donate 1 USD to Jason Becker, who is suffering from ALS. Jason needs any financial support to pay for his medical bills. Jason has been a huge inspiration to Ron throughout his musical career, and Ron has done charity work for Jason before. Follow this link for more information on the charity for Jason.

Perris Records and SteelCity announce March 20th, 2020 as the worldwide release date for the group’s new studio album, ‘Mach II‘.

On January 2nd the band released this lyric video for ‘Hearts On Fire‘, the first single from ‘Mach II‘.

Band leader and guitarist Mike Floros states “While searching for a new record label to call our home, SteelCity was diligent in its quest. Our goal was to find someone with a worldwide distribution network, a strong belief in our music, and the dedication to share it with as many people as humanly possible. One name was on the lips of everyone we spoke with and that was Perris Records. We’re truly excited to call Perris home and look forward to a fantastic relationship.

Perris Records President Tom Mathers adds:  “Mike contacted me about releasing “Mach II” and after hearing the music, I thought it was a perfect fit for Perris. This is a perfect follow up to their last release ‘Fortress‘. Fans will be blown away by the songs and quality of the recording for this melodic hard rock Masterpiece

BIO:
Thunder & Lightning. Two words that can be used to describe the incendiary sound that is SteelCity.  Thunder by way of a booming, monstrous rhythm section. Lightning in the form of heavy, riff-driven guitars, soaring lead vocals, and lush harmonies. This is hard rock music that truly mesmerizes the listener the very instant they hear it unleashed.  Brash yet sophisticated, unapologetic yet still heartwarming, SteelCity provides an unabashed homage to the golden age of hard rock, harkening back and speaking directly to you, becoming part of the soundtrack of your life. Initially started as a solo project by founding member, principal songwriter, and guitarist Mike Floros, SteelCity evolved into the band that it is today.  By carefully assembling the most skilled, talented rock musicians available, Mike formed a band that is a vaunted force in the melodic hard rock world.

Enter Roy Cathey, lead vocalist extraordinaire.  As a member of the early-90s sensation Cold Sweat, his Herculean voice has been appreciated by audiences worldwide. Holding down the bottom end is Jason Cornwell. An experienced studio and touring musician, “The Boston Bassman” has shared the stage with such luminaries as Eric Martin.  BJ Zampa brings the heat from behind the drum kit. BJ brings style, substance, and fury to fuel the band. Rounding out the group is Tony Stahl, whose keyboards bring texture and depth to SteelCity’s songs, thus completing the shape of their sound.

2019 was a challenging year for SteelCity, as we were tasked with following up our successful debut, Fortress. To a man, not only did we meet the challenge but surpassed it. Great songwriting, powerful production, and amazing performances abound on our latest effort, Mach II. We hope you love listening to it as much as we loved making it for you.