Review: Collateral EP Launch – Leo’s The Red Lion Nov 24th 2018

Reviewer: Dan Mann

This was Collateral‘s third visit to the legendary Leo’s The Red Lion venue, having first rocked the stage opening for last year’s Fibrofest and again as openers for Bad Touch as part of Rock The Red Lion earlier this year.

However, this time they were the headliners, for this was the launch of the band’s EP ‘4 Shots!‘ (review here).

Before Collateral we had the support of two bands. Openers Twisted Illusion had travelled all the way from Manchester for their short set.

A band I was not familiar with, but I’ve got to say what a great performance, with helpings of Rush, linked with traditional hard rock and the vocal pipes of front man Matt Jones hitting some pretty high notes.

They had a great reaction from the crowd, in fact I had to join a long queue to purchase a CD, of which they swiftly sold out. Always a good indication of how well a band is received!

Next up a band I know a lot of people were looking forward to seeing, Dead Man’s Whiskey.

Unfortunately vocalist Nico Rogers didn’t endear himself to the crowd with an expletive riddled introduction, and the band took some time to get the crowd back on side.

Once back onside the crowd soon started rocking along with the band, helped enormously by lead guitarist Billy Kons who was the ‘star’ of the band’s performance.

Personally I preferred the openers, but maybe I was seeing Dead Man’s Whiskey on the wrong occasion and will need to see them again.

And so onto the main course.

With an audiovisual intro, beamed onto a screen behind the band, that really helped set the scene, the band exploded into action! Yes I’m absolutely biased when it comes to Collateral, a band I’m delighted to see now get the praise and exposure they justly deserve. While the crowd were mainly Collateral affectionados, the band certainly soon made the remainder fans too.

We were treated to a mixture of tracks, some from the band’s previous incarnation as The Angelo Tristan Band, some covers including their great renditions of Neil Young’s ‘Keep On Rockin’ In The Free World‘ and Bon Jovi’s ‘You Give Love A Bad Name‘.

The biggest reaction from the crowd was for the single ‘Midnight Queen‘, with some enthusiastic singing along, mind you the crowd sang along with virtually every song the band played!

Guitarist Todd Winger is certainly an axeman to watch out for, a rising star I have no doubt. Drummer Ben Atkinson and bassist Jack Bently Smith creating a formidable ‘engine room’ and in Angelo Tristan, a true front man.

All in all a very successful and enjoyable evening was had by all. Onward & upwards!

Full photo set available here

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Review: Collateral – 4 Shots! EP

Roulette Media Records (Nov 23rd 2018)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

I first came across Collateral a while back, forgot I’d liked them on Facebook (I know!) and re-discovered them just in time for them to be the opening act for last year’s Fibrofest. What I’ve witnessed in the time since is a band that has grown from strength to strength. After going through several band member changes, the band have now found an even more impressive footing during their live performances, but also when it comes to their recorded material.

The first song ‘Going with The Wind‘ I’d already listened to plenty of times when Collateral were original called the Angelo Tristan Band. Listening to it on this EP is almost re-discovering it. The production lifts it in terms of depth and soundscape.

Track two, ‘Midnight Queen‘ was the band’s first single, which has already helped garner the band new fans and shows them at a more commercial angle. A very catchy tune indeed.

Angels Crying‘ is another track I know from their previous incarnation and perfectly demonstrates what a fantastic voice Angelo Tristan has. Superb stuff.

And unfortunately we reach the forth and final track. ‘Just Waiting For You‘, again a track I’m already familiar with, shows a maturity of songwriting and is now given that final polish that will help propel the band onward.

Which leaves me with two thoughts….why aren’t Angelo and the boys already household names? And how will I last until next year’s full album?

Collateral will break through I have no doubt. If you don’t believe me then listen to this here EP and catch them live at your earliest opportunity.

 

 

Review: Roxanne – Radio Silence

Rat Pak Records (October 26th 2018)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

We’ve only had to wait 30 years for the release of ‘Radio Silence‘, Roxanne‘s sophomore album. Was it worth the wait you ask? Before I get to that let’s just delve back in time. Roxanne released their self titled album back in 1988, which is when I first stumbled across the band and have loved that album ever since.

Imagine my surprise when Rat Pak Records announced a follow up album. I certainly wasn’t the only person who wanted to know more and was eager to hear whether the band still had that ‘something’ that first drew us to become fans.

Well folks, the good news is……….you ain’t going to be disappointed!

What those Roxanne fellas have managed to do is record an album that is a natural follow up to the debut without sounding dated. Now that’s certainly not an easy feat.

From the first few bars of ‘Someone To Kill‘ it’s obvious that ‘Radio Silence‘ is going to be a bit of a corker. All the elements are there, vocalist Jamie Brown‘s voice is still bang on the money, the band sounding tight as hell and your hand quickly reaches for the volume to crank it up!

From the slightly funked up ‘Super Bad‘ to the laid back ‘Broken Chandeliers‘ the album keeps on delivering. I absolutely love ‘Go Fuck Yourself‘, with it’s catchy chorus and riffs.

I must mention the cover version included in the album’s eleven tracks. On the debut we were treated to the superb cover of Wild Cherry‘s ‘Play That Funky Music‘. On ‘Radio Silence‘ we have a great cover version of The Scream‘s ‘Man In The Moon‘, a track I’ve always l liked and Roxanne‘s version isn’t a disappointment.

If you liked Roxanne‘s debut album then you will absolutely love ‘Radio Silence‘. How much do I like it personally? Well it’s certainly a contender for my Top 10 of 2018 list, that’s how much!

Review: Ben Poole – Anytime You Need Me

Manhaton Records (Sept 2018)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

Ben Poole returns with his third album release ‘Anytime You Need Me‘, an album that helps build his standing in the blues rock community as his career continues to grow.

I think there’s one thing this album epitomizes, it’s the continuing trend to release albums that don’t conform to the over regimented definition of what blues music should be.

What you end up getting are releases that are like a breath of fresh air, pulling in influences from other genres and with it new audiences.

With ‘Anytime You Need Me‘, Ben has introduced elements of funk, 70’s rock and even a little soul. The album is a little more adventurous then previous releases.

Take It No More‘ would be nearer the traditional blues rock track which has elements of King King, which is hardly a surprise with aforementioned band’s Wayne Proctor at the production helm.

While ‘Found Out The Hard Way‘ wouldn’t be out of place on a Mitch Laddie album.

But I found ‘You Could Say‘ a bit too poppy for my palette with Ben’s vocals taking on a high pitch Jonny Lange vibe.

It has to be said the two covers on the album are interesting choices, Don Henley’s ‘Dirty Laundry‘, a track I’ve always loved and Jude Cole’s ‘Start The Car‘. However they work really well and releasing ‘Dirty Laundry‘ as a single will certainly help raise interest from other quarters.

While not every track is to my liking, I think live it will be an entirely different matter and with a heavier live sound they will fill out nicely.

Anytime You Need Me‘ is an album, which along with other current British musicians releases, helps cement the UK as one of the top blues & blues rock territories in the World.

 

Review: REƎCE – Resilient Heart

Mighty Music (November 2018)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

There are some albums which are highly anticipated, and for me ‘Resilient Heart‘ is one of them.

Take the vocal talents of singer David Reece, who I first came across as front man for American hard rock band Bangalore Choir and vocalist on Accept‘s ‘Eat The Heat‘ album, add a guitarist whose playing I highly regard, namely Martin J Anderson, who I first heard playing in his blues rock band Blindstone. Finish off with guitarist Marco Angioni, bandmate of Martin’s in Danish heavy metal band Meridian, bassist Malte Frederik Burkert from David’s other band Sainted Sinners and drummer Sigurd J. Jensen also from Blindstone.

The result….a mature hard rock album!

From the opening bars of the first track, ‘Any Time At All‘, you know your in for a bit of a musical treat. This is a band tighter than an elastic band wound three times round a  pencil. David Reece’s vocals sound as good as they did 25 years ago and yes I’ll bring up the old chestnut I always do, if I don’t like the vocals then I won’t like the album!

With eleven tracks on the album, none of which in my opinion a ‘filler’, choosing a favorite is bloody difficult. However, for me there is one track that stands out both in vocal performance and musicianship, and that’s ‘Forest Through The Trees‘. This is without doubt a monster track!

For those of you familiar with David’s work and indeed the catalogue of the other musicians involved, then ‘Resilient Heart‘ is probably already on your ‘to order’ list. If your not and it’s not……then don’t hesitate and pre-order it now, you won’t be disappointed.

Review: Wonderworld – III

Key Music (June 2018)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

Four years after their debut album, Wonderworld are back with their third release not surprisingly called ‘III‘.

For those of you already familiar with the band then there won’t really be any surprises or changes from the previous two releases. That certainly isn’t a negative thing, just means we have ten more tracks of top notch melodic hard rock to enjoy!

For those not familiar, Wonderworld consists of Italian singer/bassist Roberto Tiranti and from Norway guitarist Ken (JR) Ingwersen and drummer Tom Fossheim. All three have an extensive musical background which has helped bring a lot of different influences into the band’s sound.

It can always be difficult to pick stand out tracks when your really enjoying an album, however the track that really hit the spot for me is ‘The Last Frontier‘ which at nearly seven minutes long showcases the band’s musicianship and the quality of the production on the whole album.

So for the third time, I can highly recommend ‘III‘ as well as the previous two albums.

 

Review: Michael Romeo- War Of The Worlds / Pt. 1

Music Theories Recordings / Mascot Label Group (July 27th 2018)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

I’m sure most of your are familiar with the name Michael Romeo, founding member of progressive metal band Symphony X. Well in this release Michael delves into the depths of symphonic metal.

I’ll say from the start, if your not a fan of widdly widdly guitar then this release is probably not for you. Having said that, those guitar connoisseurs among you will absolutely love it!

Kicking off with an intro that wouldn’t be out of place in a Star Wars film, Mr Romeo soon makes it obvious where his roots lie.

I’ll be honest and say I have to be in the mood for symphonic metal, but catch me at the right time and there is an increase in volume shall we say. Those increases were quite frequent during the various playbacks of ‘War Of The Worlds / Pt. 1‘, the production leading to a decent sound full of depth and atmosphere.

Listening to the robot effects at the beginning of ‘F*cking Robots‘ is an experience on headphones, even more so up-scaled through a home cinema system, making it one of my favorites out of the ten tracks on offer. The current single ‘Djinn‘ is shall we say a little daring as a single coming in as it does at a nearly seven and a half minutes long. But it so highlights the vocal talents of Rick Castellano. Boy can he hit notes most of us could only almost manage in tight trousers.

With a run time of some 50 minutes, this album certainly doesn’t short change you, leading you as it does through the mind of H.G. Wells. There are influences aplenty with more than a nod to my favorite classical composer Holst. It’s almost the Planets Suite meets Conception meets Savatage.

To sum up, this is an album I discovered I enjoyed far more than I expected. It is without doubt a labour of love by Romeo and here’s looking forward to Pt 2.

 

Review: DeWolff – Thrust

Mascot Records (May 4th)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

I said to DeWolff vocalist Pablo van de Poel when I interviewed him last month regarding the band’s new album ‘Thrust‘, for some inconceivable reason I’d not come across them before!

Well, after the first play of ‘Thrust’, I promptly went and bought the band’s back catalogue. I guess that is a fairly strong indicator that I kind of liked what I’d heard. I am loving the mainly European bands who are ‘re-visiting’ that Seventies vibe, but also putting their own take on it.

DeWolff are most certainly a band who inject their own DNA into the music. Layers of Hammond organ, a tight bass line and vocals which have a slight psychedelic twist to them. This all adds up to an absolute foot-stomper of an album.

In keeping to the whole Seventies thing, the band recorded the album in analogue at their own purpose built studio. While I’m listening to the advance on streamed audio, you can still detect that all encompassing warmth that comes with that process which of course enhances the music even further.

DeWolff are a band who know what they want out of an album, and deliver that in a straight no nonsense fashion, displaying a maturity to both the song writing and musicianship that bands twice their age don’t always manage.

I’m not going to break the album down track by track, I want you to go out and explore it yourselves, trust me when I say you won’t be disappointed and your volume knob will without a doubt be cranked up a few levels.

Highly recommended.

 

Review: Snake Oil and Harmony

Borderline London March 3rd 2018

Reviewer: Dan Mann

The Snake Oil and Harmony Tour is now on it’s third outing, with messers Danny Vaughn (Tyketto) and Dan Reed (Dan Reed Network) presenting an intimate, stripped back experience stretched over two hours.

After experiencing Snake Oil and Harmony for the first time, my immediate reaction was why only two hours!

I was so drawn into not only the music itself, played on acoustic guitars, which covered songs from across DV & DR’s wide and varied careers, but also the stories, some of them quite personal, and the general banter between the two performers and the audience.

It was pretty obvious the audience were made up of Tyketto and Dan Reed Network etc fans, who sang along with much gusto to the delight of DV & DR. All of which just added to the overall experience.

One things for certain, I’ll be buying tickets again at the earliest opportunity.