Gig review: FM – Bierkeller, Bristol, 1 May 2015

FM - Bierkeller, Bristol, 1 May 2015

With no Welsh date on this run of the Heroes And Villains UK tour, a trip across the bridge was in order tonight to catch the latest FM at a venue I haven’t been to in 22 years, suffice to say it hasn’t changed a bit in all that time.

A three-band bill and all for £17 , it is good to see some bands offering great value for money to  the fans and tonight, on the first date, it proves to be a stroke of genius.

No Hot Ashes - Bierkeller, Bristol, 1 May 2015

Opening up tonight were Belfast band No Hot Ashes who have reunited. Opening up with ‘I’m Back’ it is clear straight away that these will fit into this melodic rock bill easily, with a chorus that had me instantly singing along even though I hadn’t heard the song – or the band -  before.  An act to search out more of in the future.

Romeos Daughter - Bierkeller, Bristol, 1 May 2015

After a quick ten minute changeover Romeo’s Daughter hit the stage running to the sound of ‘Trippin’, with Craig Joiners’ riff filling the venue.  It isn’t often mentioned how important this guy is to the band, his playing is never over the top and just perfectly fills each song.

Romeos Daughter - Bierkeller, Bristol, 1 May 2015

Obviously the focal point of the band is the wonderous Leigh Matty, with a voice that hasn’t changed since the 80s and, as mentioned in a previous review, still smoking hot.

All the big guns were played in this short set including ‘Attracted To The Animal’, ‘Bittersweet’, ‘Cry Myself To Sleep’ and a couple of new ones from the new album Spin with ‘Radio’ and ‘Touch’, and a personal favourite of mine ‘Wild Child’ closing the set. Romeo’s Daughter certainly set the bar high for the headliners tonight.

FM - Bierkeller, Bristol, 1 May 2015

Touring to support the new album Heroes And Villains,also getting fantastic reviews and even making the charts while being supported with regular airplay on BBC Radio 2 , FM‘s resurgence has possibly exceeded their own expectations, yet you won’t meet a more humble and down to earth bunch of guys.

Kicking off their set with album opener ‘Digging Up The Dirt’ is a no brainer, Jim and Pete appearing in the darkness to white strobe lighting while the harder-than-normal riff starts everything off, followed by Merv’s thumping bass line.  A classic opening song in every sense and as Steve Overland takes to the stage minus his trademark Strat the crowd hang on his every word as he demonstrates his frontman credentials.

Second song stalwart ‘I Belong To The Night’ and ‘Wildside’ are the first three of an 18 song set and give us a glimpse of how faster paced this set is going to be.

FM - Bierkeller, Bristol, 1 May 2015

‘Closer To Heaven’ slows things down for a brief respite as one of the two real ballads being played tonight and giving everybody a chance to relish Steve O’s vocals.

New song ‘Shape I’m In’ (getting massive airplay at the moment) has all the credentials to be a live FM classic – full of who-as and heys and backing vocals to teach the Def Leppard boys a thing or two.  With FM in full stride you can’t help but get carried along with the rush.

The set has been mixed up for this tour , with a few songs dropped or moved around in the running order to keep things fresh. Two older songs which get an airing tonight are ‘Blood And Gasoline’ and ‘Only The Strong Survive’, both making a welcome return.

FM - Bierkeller, Bristol, 1 May 2015

Picking a set list must be a major headache but you can’t fail when you give the fans what they want and the majority of FM fans want the anthems which get them clapping and singing along one after another.  We get exactly that with ‘Crosstown Train’, ‘Tough It Out’, ‘Burning My Heart Down’,  ‘That Girl’ and ‘Bad Luck’ before the band say a rather short-lived goodnight.

The Bierkeller hasn’t had this band here in over 20 years and they are not about to let them go quietly.  ‘Story Of My Life’ may be the band’s best ballad ever.  With the gig running slightly late we didnt get to hear ‘Metroplis’ and ‘Over You’, so they went straight into the closing ‘Other Side Of Midnight’, with Jem once again hitting the front of stage with his Roland Keytar and all too soon it was over.

I would gladly pay double the £17 to see these three bands on a bill again and also with the free meet-and-greets FM organise it is good to see some bands giving back to the fans. A thoroughly fantastic gig and – for a second helping – both FM and No Hot Ashes appear at Steelhouse Festival in late-July.

Review and photos by Darren Griffiths

1. Diggin Up The Dirt 2. I Belong To The Night. 3. Wildside. 4. Closer To Heaven. 5. Let Love Be The Leader  6. Shape I’m In 7. Tough Love 8. Blood And Gasoline. 9. Only The Strong. 10. Life Is  A Highway. 11. Crosstown Train 12. Tough It Out. 13.Burning My Heart Down. 14. That Girl. 15. Bad Luck 16. Story Of My Life 17. Other Side Of Midnight

Album review (Heroes And Villains)

David Randall plays a selection of new and classic rock in his weekly show first broadcast 14 June 2020 including reference to the Feature series “2020 Vision”.

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Featured Albums w/c 6 July (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 MANDOKI SOULMATES Living In The Gap (Red Rock Production/Cleopatra)
12:00-13:00 MAGNUS KARLSSON’S FREE FALL – We Are The Night (Frontiers)
14:00-16:00 BEN REEL The Nashville Calling (B.Reel Records)

Power Plays w/c 6 July (Mon-Fri)

ZENITH MOON Gypsy (Golden Robot Records)
RARITY Leave It Alone (New Damage Records)
THE RISING I Want You (indie)
MANDOKI SOULMATES Young Rebels (Red Rock Production/Cleopatra)
LA GUNS Well Oiled Machine (Golden Robot Records)

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