A Saturday night gig with two of the best melodic rock bands in the country, a two hour drive away but totally worth it.
A four date trot around the country playing in some venues that you don’t often hear of, these dates were a warm up for FMs’ biggest European tour in a good few years and tonight it is Gloucester’s turn to witness something special.
If you walked past the Guildhall you would be forgiven for not even noticing it existed, however what a cracking venue, possibly holding at a push around 400. An awesome sound and great lighting only added to the experience.
Vega are fast becoming the UK’s melodic rock darlings, with every review of their recent Rockingham performance covering them in glory. Tonight they get around 45 minutes to make their mark on those who haven’t seen them before, and hitting the crowd with all the big punches – ‘Stereo Messiah’, ‘What The Hell’, ‘Kiss Of Life’, ‘Gonna Love Somebody’ - the energetic songs and not giving anyone a chance to catch their breath.
Nick Workman on vocals has got his stage craft mastered and with a voice to back it up he provides a focal point for the band, and with Marcus Thurston on lead guitar showing amazing dexterity and fluidity in his solos especially on ‘Gonna Need Some Love Tonight’.
Vega had their share of fans in the crowd tonight and for those who hadn’t heard them before then I am pretty sure they left with a few more fans judging by the applause at the end of their set.
Vega deserve a support slot on a big name arena tour, something like Def Leppard, they have the songs to give anyone a run for their money and have certainly put in the graft on the club circuit honing their craft to an almost perfect live act. A new album due in the middle of 2016 and I, for one, cannot wait.
Right on 9pm we get the Pete Jupp drum intro from ‘Digging Up The Dirt’ followed by the sleazy sounding guitar from Jim Kirkpatrick. A monster of a song and no better opening to an FM live show in my opinion,.
Steve Overland has started using the microphone stand a lot more and after looking a little awkward earlier on in the year he seems to be more assured and confident with it now; not that anyone cares, the fans are there for that ludicrously stunning voice. It doesn’t seem to have faded or diminished since the early eighties and none more so prevalent that when singing ‘Closer To Heaven’ or ‘Frozen Heart’ which were both aired tonight.
Pretty much the same set that we had in the May UK tour but on looking at the setlist later I found that ‘All Or Nothing’ (a personal favourite) had been dropped due to a 10:30 curfew which would have been a welcome addition.
Again, like Vega, all the big hitters were here – ‘Burning My Heart Down’, ‘Tough It Out’, ‘Crosstown Train’, ‘Wildside’, ‘Tough Love’ – and pretty much a set that covers their career to date.
Only one other from the latest album – ‘Life Is A Highway’ – it would have been nice to hear a couple more from such a strong album but with only an hour and half you can’t have everything. All too soon Jem was front of stage with his Van Halen-coloured keytar for the ‘Other Side Of Midnight’ and an hour and half had flown by.
As said in previous reviews, you know what to expect with an FM show and that is why they attract a loyal following; great musicians who love what they do and that is reflected in their performance.
Everyone needs a break from the humdrum of day to day life and bands like FM and Vega bring a bit of fun to their shows and we can all escape for a while. I have seen FM live more times than any other band over the last five years and I can’t tell you when I have seen a bad show, or even a below par show. Five of the nicest guys you could meet and as with Vega, they came out after their sets to mingle and chat with the fans and it is these little touches that mean a lot.
Review and photos by Darren Griffiths
Vega setlist – What The Hell / The Wild The Weird,The Wonderful / White Knuckle Ride / Kiss Of Life / Stereo Messiah / Gonna Need Some Loving Tonight /All Or Nothing / Hands In The Air.
FM setlist – Digging Up The Dirt / I Belong To The Night / Don’t Stop / Closer To Heaven / Let Love Be The Leader / Life Is A Highway / Crosstown Train / Wildside / Tough Love / Blood And Gasoline / Frozen Heart / Tough It Out / That Girl / Bad Luck / Story Of My Life / Other Side Of Midnight
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In this two hour special David Randall plays a selection of the GRTR! reviewer choices for ‘Best of 2019′ and announces the results of the popular poll. First broadcast Sunday 22 December 2019.
Featured Albums w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 AUTUMN’S CHILD Autumn’s Child (AOR Heaven)
12:00-13:00 THE RAGGED SAINTS Sonic Playground Revisited (AOR Heaven)
14:00-16:00 AMBERLY CHALBERG Hi-Line (indie)
Power Plays w/c 20 January (Mon-Fri)
THUNDERSTICK Go Sleep With The Enemy (Roulette Records)
BUFFALO SUMMER Everybody’s Out For No.1 (Silver Lining Music)
ANCHOR LANE Dead Run (R7 Records)
MOLLY KARLOFF She Said (indie)
H.E.A.T. Come Clean (Frontiers)
THE KENDALL COLLECTION Staring Back At Me (indie)
VOODOO RAMBLE Midnight Train (indie)
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