Singer Nathan James has been building a big reputation for himself on the quiet- he was a contestant in reality TV show Superstar, which I am sure GRTR readers had better things to do than to watch, but rock is his thing and those who have seen his guest vocals with Trans Siberian orchestra or Uli Jon Roth have been mightily impressed.
It has now been time for him to forge his own way though by assembling a new band, Inglorious. Suggesting they have serious backing behind them, their debut showcase was in the very auspicious surroundings of London’s famous Hippodrome, in a room upstairs from all the casino tables, which apparently is rarely used for rock gigs. The sound was crystal clear through the stage rather cramped which did not help the band’s on stage presentation.
There was a contrasting mix of people to witness the show- ranging from the band’s family and friends to the London scene’s best known giggers and liggers, to a fair few screaming female fans attracted by Nathan’s piercing eyes and (slightly tamed) blond mane. Likewise the band all sport wildly diverging images, from hippy-ish drummer Phil Beaver to keyboardist Liam Holmes looking like a detective from a late seventies American cop show.
Before the gig I felt the jury was out somewhat as Inglorious’ first two videos were well-known covers which may put an ambitious young band on the map but is not a sustainable long term career move.
On this occasion however their own material formed the lion’s share of the set, opening with the big powerful riffing of ‘Until I Die’ which mines the currently well worn seam of classic Zeppelinesque heavy blues and the more accessible ‘No Good For You’, not the last song to draw Whitesnake comparisons.
Their musicianship was accomplished and impressively tight for a first show, although if I was being picky the live guitar sound of the pair of Andreas Eriksson and Will Taylor felt a touch thin at times, possibly because of the venue not being set up for heavy rock bands.
Nathan’s voice was outstanding, veering from the deep, bluesy tones of an old school David Coverdale to a screaming vocal range. He also has the looks and moves of the rock frontman as well as an easy and engaging stage manner.
A cover of Toto’s ‘Goodbye Girl’ was jaw droppingly good, the band showing not only great musicianship, with Liam showing his paces on the organ, but spot on vocal harmonies. Of their own material ‘Bleed for You’ was a slower semi ballad, but ‘Warning’ and ‘Gypsy’ heavier, the latter even reminding me of bands like Audioslave in marrying a darker, more modern sound to classic rock riffing.
‘Holy Water’ was probably the best new song, in the mould of old school Whitesnake, fittingly so as it sandwiched their pair of covers; a splendid version of ‘Burn’ where Nathan, with some help from Andreas, managed both the Coverdale parts and some Hughes- esque screams, and a fun take on Fool for your Loving, undaunted by the fact Neil Murray was in the crowd.
They came back for an encore of ‘Unaware’, which had a more traditional metal feel to it with Nathan having the strong vocal tones of a Ronnie Dio.
Allowances must be made for the fact this was a first gig and they are very much a work in progress, with some of the songs needing sharper hooks and a stronger identity, although it is always hard to make an instant judgement on what for most of us was a first listen.
Nevertheless this was a mighty impressive debut. Many bands show initial promise, few make the breakthrough, but the talk of those attending was that they may have witnessed the start of something big, and possibly in years to come that thousands more than those who were actually present will claim they were here this night.
Review and Photos by Andy Nathan
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Pete Feenstra celebrated his 300th show in October 2019. Pete heads up a five-hour blues rock marathon when “Tuesday is Bluesday” from 19:00 GMT. Listen out also for his interview-based Feature show on Sundays (20:00 GMT)
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