One of the most common gripes on social media when bands announce tours is ‘why aren’t they playing anywhere near me?’. With Jared James Nichols and Collateral going on a nine date nationwide spring tour excuses will be thinner than usual.
Even better, the packed basement of Gibson Showrooms played host to a gathering of press and competition winners for an eve of tour amuse bouche of a short set from each.
Flying the UK flag, Collateral, who never seem to have been off the circuit in the last 18 months, opened the night in a good mood as their just released album had hit one of the album charts (incidentally a record generously reviewed by GRTR! in contrast to the lukewarm review from the radio station who held the competition!). Sporting an Adam Ant like streak across his cheek, Angelo Tristan led the band through ‘Mr Big Shot’ .
In a week when Bon Jovi released an execrably lame single, it was also fitting proof we now rely on a new generation of bands to deliver the brash yet melodic anthems the New Jerseyites can no longer pull off.
‘Merry Go Round’ was altogether darker and harder hitting with a nod to Black Stone Cherry proving there is more than one string to their bow.
Talking of which, the final in a trio of songs, breakthrough song ‘Midnight Queen’ has attracted some comment as to supposed country influences. With catchy melodies and acoustic and electric guitar working in tandem, and the crowd joining in it is a great song pure and simple, but Todd Winger’s nimble-fingered solos were anything but country.
Jared James Nichols has a longer history, having played a variety of gigs here over the last four or five years including some high profile festivals. The fact Pat Travers’ classic ‘Snorting Whiskey’ served as his intro tape tells you about his influences, primarily the more rough and ready blues-influenced heavy rockers of the 1970’s USA. With his enviable mane of hair and toothy smile the Midwesterner was a charismatic presence as he opened in blisteringly ragged style with ‘The Gun’, and his voice is also much improved from earlier shows I remember.
Bravely he played a brand new song in ‘Threw Them to the Wolves’, which began in unexpectedly sedate style, before he and his rhythm section kicked the song up a gear with a mid song break of tempo before the Gibson customer went off on a fine solo. Likewise last year’s single ‘Nail in my Coffin’ began in slow fashion before cranking up to another solo in which he invested all his passion.
Photo: Richard Bolwell
As promised, there was then a little surprise as Angelo from Collateral was invited back and the band jammed ‘Sharp Dressed Man’. As the two parties had only just met this was a risky business, but the song worked perfectly, both being one Angelo has covered many times in the past, and Jared’s solo having the grit and fire that is lacking in ZZ Top’s current listless live performances.
Just as our spirits were lifted at the start by a free bar, this fun combination ensured we all went home with a warm glow as well.
Photo: Simon Green
An opportunity to see two dynamic and high-energy rising acts, with different but complementary styles under the broad classic rock idiom, should be on your must see March gig list.
Review by Andy Nathan
Photos by Paul Clampin (except where stated)
In his show broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 10 May David Randall played a further selection of artists and albums included in the new Features series, “2020 Vision”.
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Featured Albums w/c 25 May (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 FM Synchronized (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 VANDENBERG 2020 (Mascot)
14:00-16:00 BEN KUNDER Searching For The Stranger (indie)
Power Plays w/c 11 May (Mon-Fri)
THE MERCY KILLS Alone (Golden Robot Records)
DEAD REYNOLDS By Your Side (indie)
THE JAILBIRDS Watery Grave (Golden Robot Records)
ALI MASS & MICKY MOODY These Times (Last Man Music)
MASSIVE WAGONS Bangin In Your Stereo (Earache)
UDO We Are One (AFM Records)
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