Gig review: LONELY ROBOT – Sub89, Reading, 27 April 2017

Sub89 is a decent sized venue in a less than salubrious part of Reading, McD’s and Nandos being the classier places in the street! It has a decent sized stage and the only downside was the sound which wasn’t great at times, particularly during the support band.

Local band Louder Still were the support act, a fresh faced four piece who love to play classic hard rock and loud as their band name suggests. Very impressed by them, with a vocalist who wasn’t shy in geeing up the crowd, as any decent support band should do ahead of the main event.

They had a decent set of tunes, with the faster paced songs going down well with the crowd – no mean feat as some prog rock fans are not always the most open to hard rocking! They were hampered by sound issues as it was hard to hear the guitar at times, still impressive stuff and a band to catch live if you get the chance. They would be a perfect fit for the HRH and classic rock festivals circuit.

As this was the album launch gig for John Mitchell’s Lonely Robot’s new album, ‘The Big Dream’, there was a decent sized crowd, including Go West’s Pete Cox, former Threshold vocalist Damian Wilson and John Beck (It Bites). Instrumental ‘Airlock’ opened the set, allowing John Mitchell to get a guitar solo in early. He really a very distinct style of playing switching from a big riff to a more subtler solo with ease.

The set was geared heavily to the debut album as the new album wasn’t officially released until the day after the gig, although the gentle refrains of ‘In Floral Green’ from said new album fitted in nicely to the flow of the set.

One of the things that sets Lonely Robot apart from other prog rock bands is John Mitchell’s ability to pen a decent pop tune, none more so than ‘The Boy In The Radio’. He did say he hoped he could do the vocals justice, as on the album Pete Cox sings this one and having him watching in the audience must have added a little more pressure!

‘A Godless Sea’ taps into the cinematic sound of the band’s music,  as well as highlighting the musicianship on the stage. Kim Seviour came onstage for ‘Oubliette’ to reprise her vocal parts and one of the set highlights song-wise for me.

The encores started with a drum solo from Craig Blundell – he is like a human windmill when in full flight – before the band joined him for ‘Everglow’ off the ‘The Big Dream’. Brave move to have the two encores off an album not officially released, although both ‘Everglow’ and set closer, ‘Sigma’ have been aired on YouTube.

Another fine gig by Lonely Robot and if you don’t have ‘The Big Dream’ album what are you waiting for, go grab a copy now.

Review by Jason Ritchie

Airlock/ God Vs Man/ The Boy in the Radio/ In Floral Green/ Lonely Robot/ A Godless Sea/ Oubliette/ Construct/Obstruct/ Are We Copies?/ Humans Being/ The Red Balloon/Encores: Drum Solo/ Everglow/ Sigma

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