Tuesday nights are most probably not the best night for a gig unless you are Jeff Lynne, who was playing at bit further east at the O2 Arena. However, for the small and loyal bunch who turned up to see Terry Brock play his first UK acoustic show they were richly rewarded.
First up were The Darker My Horizon playing in acoustic mode and only 2/5ths of them, namely rhythm guitarist Alan Kirkham and vocalist Paul Stead. Playing a set mainly made up of songs of their debut album ‘Acquiesce’, they did perform a couple of new tunes off their forthcoming album out in July.
Highlights included a new song, the heartfelt ‘Dear Olivia’, which will become a firm live favourite I am sure and ‘Summer Time’, one of those feel good tunes that sounds great no matter what style it is performed in.
‘On My Way’ was a nod to Paul’s previous band Sacred Heart, whilst proof that you should always make the effort to see a support act (not least because you may become a fan), when the duo did the cover ‘Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door’ Terry Brock joined them onstage. A real treat and taste of his set to come. The Darker My Horizon put on an enjoyable set, doing it with sense of fun and a perfect warm-up for the main event.
Back in 1987 in my schooldays I can still recall getting a copy of the now classic ‘Native Sons’ album by Strangeways and being mightily impressed by not only the music, but the singing of Terry Brock.
Fast forward a few years(!) and if you’d told me then I would get a) the chance to see Terry Brock perform acoustically and b) meet him (he is a very down to earth person, no egos here) you could have knocked me down with a feather. Terry Brock was very humbled to be playing in London and as he kept referring to this in the course of the evening. England is his second home having lived in London for a time.
The set started with ‘I Wanna Love Someone’ and that voice is still in fine fettle, hitting the notes. In fact later in the set he absolutely nailed a cover of the Etta James song, ‘Only A Fool’. As Terry said from the stage he sings that song in his hometown whenever he is asked to sing his favourite song and people new to his singing don’t expect that.
The set had a few covers as he plays covers and fronts orchestras playing Eagles tunes back in his native USA. One of these was the Marc Cohn hit ‘Walking In Memphis’, where Terry had a gentle dig at Cher’s version.
A lot of the audience were there for Strangeways songs and we had a few treats including ‘Borderline’, along with a simply stunning rendition of ‘Love Lies Dyin’’. New to these ears at least were a couple of songs from the American Tread EP released in 2014. Really enjoyed ‘Play’, a tribute to all those bar bands plying their trade, often to indifferent audiences and ‘What A Ride’, based on his love of motorbike riding.
For me I enjoyed hearing a few songs from his excellent ‘Diamond Blue’ album, including ‘The Rain’ which actually sounded better acoustically and ‘Face In The Crowd’.
The time flew by – he has such an easy manner on stage that you could have listened to him all night. His singing on the Eagles classic ‘Desperado’ was a real spine tingling moment. A heartfelt tribute to Glen Frey who passed away in January this year.
Set closer was not one of his songs, instead we had ‘Dimming Of The Day’ penned by Richard Thompson and again Terry did the song justice, pouring his emotion into the vocal.
Okay he didn’t play ‘Goodnight L.A.’ but with such a varied set I was more than happy when I left the venue. Nights like this are why I love music and writing about it, as if only one person now seeks out the music of The Darker My Horizon and/or Terry Brock, I will be a happy man. Acoustic shows rely on the strength of a song and the singer, Terry Brock passed both with flying colours.
Review by Jason Ritchie
Photos by Andy Nathan
Terry Brock acoustic dates:
Wed 27 April – Yardbirds, Grimsby
Thu 28 April – The Iron Road, Evesham
Fri 29 April – Golden Lion, Todmorden
Sat 30 April – Trades Club, Rotherham
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