Album review: JOE SATRIANI – What Happens Next

Joe Satriani - What Happens Next

Sony Music [Release date 12.01.18]

Satch’s energy and work output seem to have no chance of exhaustion.  He releases fairly regular albums, always including a smattering of greatness, and making his peers sometimes seem lazy.

That continuing zest for performance is displayed on opener – appropriately titled – ‘Energy’.  It contains all the twists and turns you’d expect from this highly influential player.  Again aided and abetted by a fine band, this time none other than Glenn Hughes (where does he get his energy from?) and  one-time Chickenfoot compadre Chad Smith. This is all sewn togther by the one constant in Satriani’s recording career, producer Mike Fraser.

‘Catbot’ sums up a typical Satch workout and the great groove that permeates this album – the emphasis on melody and a great bridge.

‘Thunder High On The Mountain’ on the other hand wavers from hard rock to the more reflective as Satriani hits typical storytelling mode before the tune stampedes off in an almost folksy way and then returning to the excellent rib-shaking riff.

The album is full of sweet tones and arrangements: ‘Cherry Blossoms’ for example features an attractive pizzicato section whilst ‘Righteous’ and ‘Smooth Soul’ are mid-tempo ballads that keep the listener engaged whilst away from the more frenetic.

Talking of which,  ‘Headrush’ is ‘Satch Boogie”s bastard sibling with a wonderful arpeggiated bridge section and the funky undertow of the title track dovetails into the heads-down groove/jam of ‘Super Funky Badass’.  There are some fusiony flavours on ‘Invisible’ which hints at a possible future direction of travel.

It must be very difficult for a ground-breaking guitarist to stay at the top of his game and still sound fresh.  Much must be made of the contribution of his partners in groove Glenn and Chad.  But on this, his sixteenth solo album, Satriani still sounds relevant and will still make most wannabe guitarists run for cover.  ****

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

G3 UK TOUR (JOE SATRIANI, JOHN PETRUCCI, ULI JON ROTH)

Tuesday 24 April – Southend Cliffs Pavilion
Wednesday 25 April – London Eventim Apollo
Thursday 26 April – Bristol Colston Hall
Friday 27 April – Manchester Apollo
Sunday 29 April – Portsmouth Guildhall
Monday 30 April – Birmingham Symphony Hall


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Gig review: THEA GILMORE – Telford’s Warehouse, Chester, 12 December 2017

THEA GILMORE - Telford's Warehouse, Chester, 12 December 2017

No, the GRTR! Christmas Party was not being held in a phone booth this year, but my fellow scribe Pete Whalley and I instead felt the glow of Thea Gilmore’s traditional gathering at a favourite venue in Chester.

In a pre-gig message Nigel Stonier was quick to point out that the Xmas show wouldn’t be vastly different from the one we’d reviewed a few years previously.  That may be so, but this one was better.  Thea’s annual bash at Telford’s has become the stuff of legend to those who have attended.

THEA GILMORE - Telford's Warehouse, Chester, 12 December 2017

The set is very much built around one of the best-ever festive albums ‘Strange Communion’ released in 2009 and, as Thea confirmed, sadly now out of print.  It should be a staple at every civilised Xmas party but is actually just fine for putting on when putting up your feet in front of a roaring fire and contemplating years past, present and future.  Preferably with a glass of something.

The Xmas festivities started with Thea’s hubby Nigel Stonier, a talented singer songwriter in his own right who deserves more than being just a warm-up man, demonstrating his own way with a lyric and a message.

He played several songs from current album ‘Love And Work’ including ‘You Need Love’, ‘Work In Progress’ and ‘Making Moments’ whilst ‘Cold Beers And Acoustic Guitars’ (from 2014′s ‘Built For Storms’) seemed wholly appropriate in these surroundings.

THEA GILMORE - Telford's Warehouse, Chester, 12 December 2017

As previously, Thea was accompanied by Nigel, Liz Hanks (moonlighting from Liam Gallagher’s band) and the multi-talented Fluff.  Thea’s older son Egan also got in on the act, as if perhaps he’d lost his way from the school nativity play.

The Christmas feast on offer tonight mixed most of ‘Strange Communion’ with some seasonal standards, all delivered in style; Nigel’s accompaniments and Thea’s vocals underpinned by the resonant quality of Liz Hanks’ cello and lifted by Fluff’s violin and backing vocals.

This was never more obvious than on ‘December In New York’ – for me not just one of the best festive songs ever but one of the best songs ever.  That might seem an outrageous claim but the blend of lyrical longing and reflective plucking hits the spot every time.  Truly magical.

THEA GILMORE - Telford's Warehouse, Chester, 12 December 2017

We shouldn’t though overlook the strength of tunes such as ‘Cold Coming’ and ‘Old December’ mixed with the more familiar ‘It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas’ and ‘Run Run Rudolph’, the latter taken on by Nigel in rock and roll mode.  The haunting ‘Sol Invictus’ on the other hand sung acapella demonstrated the quality and sonority of Thea’s voice and her credentials to be one of our best vocalists and, at very least, one of our finest songwriters.

Thea’s own ‘That’ll Be Christmas’ takes its place with those other Christmas classics such as ‘The St Stephens Day Murders’ (which she also played tonight) and ‘Fairytale Of New York’ although sadly omitted from the Daily Mirror’s “Top 10″.  And to bring us back to reality she even slipped in a track off the new EP called ‘Willow’.

Nigel needn’t have worried.  A few years on, this latest Xmas gig exceeded all expectation.  It should be anticipated each year and enjoyed like a good glass of aged Port.

What a marvellous way to round off the year – and with the additional bonus of one of 2017′s best singer songwriter albums, ‘The Counterweight’.

Listen, The Snow Is Falling/Thea Gilmore’s Midwinter Toast/Atonement/Cold Coming/It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Xmas/December In New York/Sol Invictus/Blue Christmas/God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/I’ll Be Home For Christmas/Run Run Rudolph/London/That’ll Be Christmas/The St Stephen’s Day Murders/Willow/Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree/Old December

Review and photos by David Randall

Album review

Thea plays The Sound Lounge, London, 20 December


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Album review: TREVOR SEWELL – Calling Nashville

TREVOR SEWELL – Calling Nashville

Self release [Release date 25.07.17]

Singer songwriter Trevor Sewell knows the value of anchoring a song in a deep groove and with a layered sound to showcase his own gruff voice.

He’s a British singer songwriter who hails from the North East, but is a multiple music award winner in the USA, as well as a 4-time blues award winner in the UK.

More importantly for a songwriter, he’s established a significant niche in Nashville, which has led such high profile guests as Janis Ian, Tracy Nelson and Vickie Carrico to adorn his album.

He’s a singer-songwriter with a Mark Knopfler style conversational phrasing. He wraps his hoarse vocals round some well crafted songs on telling arrangements that always support a song’s meaning.

The album’s title ‘Calling Nashville’ inevitably fits under the Americana umbrella, as it dips into country, blues, jazz and rock and roll. It’s a broad based album that is rooted in the blues and is unafraid to tackle heartfelt and poignant themes in occasional ballads, in which every lyric and deliberately phrased line carries equal weight

Listen for example, to the mid-album ballad ‘Tear It Down’ with its plaintive vocal, emotional pull and reflective feel, delivered over a pedal steel and fiddle accompaniment as part of a yearning melody.

Perhaps the most significant thing about this album is the way he’s turned a limited vocal range into a strength. He places his expressive phrasing at the centre of some subtly layered musical arrangements infused with cool dynamics that explore a counterbalance between accessibility and his songwriting depth.

And while Nashville provides a catch-all focus, he’s unafraid to let his ideas percolate and pull him in sundry directions. The band rocks out on the heavy duty, big band style jump blues of ‘You Ain’t What I’m Looking For’. Sewell adds some big toned guitar mangling alongside some snappy horn stabs, as the band tears things up on a fade that comes too quickly.

It’s ostensibly a long way away from both ‘Tear It Up’ and the fiddle inflected ‘Stand Next To Him’, with its glorious guitar picking and fiddle interplay on a belated song resolution.

The more you dive into this album, the more it reveals on a coherent journey that fits together like a musical jigsaw.

And if the album’s momentum is almost slightly hampered by 4 consecutive contemplative pieces, it’s Sewell’s way of bringing us back to his niche as a guitar playing narrator who presides over heartfelt material.

The album jumps straight into a sharply contrasting gruff vocal and shrill fiddle intro, as part of a call and response gospel style section that leads to some heavy riff-driven funk.

It’s blues Caruthers but not as we know it!

The impressive opener draws us into a song-driven album with a cross pollination of musical styles framed by an essential focus on songcraft.

Sewell’s whispered Knopfler style vocals on ‘Mountain of Gold’ draws us into his lyrics which are supported by feather light bv’s: “We are just ships in the night with no means of navigation,  no chart, no stars, no guiding light. We must learn to trust each other through these troubled times, or sink without a trace beneath the tides.”

Then there’s the mid-tempo highlight ‘Matter Of Time’, which lets his metaphors rise and envelope us, before the band stretches out with gusto. Some sharp sequencing draws us into a duet with Mother Earth’s Tracy Nelson whose unwavering vibrato provides further contrast.

Arguably the album’s outstanding track is a duet with Janis Ian called ‘Fade To Grey’. It’s a gently voiced ballad over subtle brush strokes and is a beautifully evocative piece that is the perfect meeting of contrasting vocals in an object lesson in space and time.

Ian’s uplifting piano line adds a cool dynamic, before Sewell emotes gruffly over a distant walking bass that underscores a perfect equilibrium. The song initially beguiles and then surprises us with Janis Ian’s unexpected scat singing and some lovely ensemble playing on a jazzy end to a cool, cool track.

Sewell’s revels in his ability to convey real emotion through a turn of phrase, a gentle pause or simply a delicate arrangement.

It’s almost as if he’s found his musical soul mate in Janis Ian. And it’s a measure of the strength of the album that the following 8 tracks feel like an integral part of a linear journey, rather than a struggling appendage to a quite memorable song.

Janis Ian also counts in the closing ‘Shadows’, while adding a gently voiced piano line which ushers in another poetic Sewell lyric: The sky was dark, I was afraid, I could not see, so you saw for me, you touched my hand and I was saved, you chased the shadows away.”

‘Shadows’ also makes you wonder why a songwriter of this sensibility doesn’t find room to print his lyrics?

As it is, we hang on to every word he delivers between Ian’s judicious notes, as the duo drift into the ether on a moving finish to an excellent album. ****

Review by Pete Feenstra


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DVD review: BLACK SABBATH – The End

Win a copy!! (Closes 17.12.17)

BLACK SABBATH – The End (DVD)

Eagle Rock [Release date 17.11.17]

Black Sabbath’s Birmingham show in early February was billed as the band’s last ever. It has been captured here for posterity, as was always going to be the case. Whether or not it really is The End remains to be seen, but this is a decent enough testament to mark an epic tour.

For the most part it is a well shot and well directed concert experience. The format is a straightforward run-through of the gig – interviews that were interspersed in the recent cinema screenings are absent here.

There is a sense that the director has had to employ every trick in the book to provide a visual spectacle (flames/fireworks and the giant screen backdrop are thrilling if you are there, but don’t work well on DVD). That is probably because, apart from Ozzy’s meanderings (physical and verbal), there’s not much animation from the band. Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler are only rarely caught looking up from their instruments at the crowd, let alone at each other, or actually moving.

There are plenty of great close ups of Iommi’s plastic-fingertip fret-work and Butler’s jazz-infused hand-offs. And Ozzy is generous with the mock horror looks and theatrical gestures. The clown prince of darkness is in fact on great form. The voice was more intact throughout the tour than many commentators had feared – only on a few bars of ‘Hand of Doom’ does he truly crack and splinter.

By the time the stunning ‘War Pigs’ is unleashed, the box of editing tricks is plundered deeply: suddenly we have a blizzard of fast cuts, super zooms, split screens, blurring, multi-layering… It’s a touch too much.

The DVD sound, on the other hand, is excellent. The spine-tingling opening of ‘Black Sabbath’ captures the sense of anticipation within the crowd and then we march on through a string of impossibly dark, rumbling and down-tuned greatness. Some of the highlights are expected, others are a surprise. ‘Snowblind’ is a real treat with Adam Wakeman’s keyboards adding colour and flavour; and ‘Dirty Women’ features some of Iommi’s most fluid and scintillating soloing of the show.

Amongst the more obvious classics, the sights and sounds of the audience participation on ‘War Pigs’ are pinch-yourself, I-was-there moments; ‘Iron Man’ is thunderous – Tommy Clufetos behind the kit hits the skins like a man possessed; and of course ‘Paranoid’ is a riotous party closer, ticker tape and giant balloons almost obscuring the stage.

This package has a bonus CD called ‘The Angelic Sessions’ of studio recorded tracks that didn’t make the tour. They are nothing to get overly-excited about. The main event here is the concert DVD, either as a worthy memento of a brilliant tour for those who were there, or as a tantalising insight for those who were not.  ****

Review by Dave Atkinson

Album review (The Ten Year War Box Set)

Win a copy!! (Closes 17.12.17)


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Quick plays: PRIMAL FEAR, KRANKSCHAFT

PRIMAL FEAR - Best Of Fear

PRIMAL FEAR Best Of Fear Frontiers [Release date 10.11.17]

Primal Fear have been around since 1997 and to celebrate their twentieth year we have a two disc best of.

Disc one has four new songs, although one ‘Area 16′ is an instrumental and another is the band’s metallic run through Heart’s ‘If Looks Could Kill’. Really great version of the song. The other two songs – ‘Predator’ and ‘Thrill Of Speed’ – are typical Judas Priest, err sorry Primal Fear. The band do sound a lot like the mighty Priest at times, which is no bad thing.

Interestingly you can see how the band’s sound has progressed down the years as they added bigger arrangements and scope to their sound. Be it the duet with Epica’s Simone Simons on ‘Everytime It Rains’ – one of their best songs in my book - or the epic metal assault of ‘One Night In December’.

Primal Fear show no signs of slowing down with a new studio album due early next year. If you are new to the band start here. Good value with 37 songs and enough metal to shake the dandruff from even the most stubborn hair… ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

KRANKSCHAFT III Mysteries www.facebook.com/krankschaft/

On first listen to this album one band instantly spring to mind, Hawkwind and on digging a little deeper about the band they have a connection to said band, as Krankschaft originally included Robert Clavert, who was a member of Hawkwind. Also Steve Pond was in Inner City Unit, a band featuring Nik Turner, also of Hawkwind!

Steve Pond is the sole remaining original member, joined by bassist Alex Tsentides and drummer Kevin Walker. Musically this is one surreal and enjoyable space ride! It is like Hawkwind, the more psychedelic side of Andy Partridge/XTC, some Pink Floyd and a nice dose of punk to round it all off.

Highlights are many – the harmony filled ‘World Is Flat’ has that XTC sound – listen out  as well and marvel at the spacey guitar solos. ’Our Words Are Golden’ mixes a raucous punk beat with synths and effects to great effect.

Lovingly crafted music that will send you on a spectacular musical journey. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie


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Album review: THE BAD FLOWERS – Starting Gun

THE BAD FLOWERS - Starting Gun

[Release date 16.02.17]

The Bad Flowers - Tom Leighton (guitar/vocals), Dale Tonks (bass/vocals) and Karl Selickis (drums) – released a damn fine single ‘Thunder Child’ in September and now unleash their full debut album on the musical world.

Tom Leighton sounds a lot like the Cult’s Ian Astbury, whilst his guitar solos light up songs like ‘Let’s Misbehave’ and ‘Be Your Man’ – the drums on this one fair burst out of the speakers. The Cult do come to mind a few times when listening to the album and after a cool bass riff intro ‘I Don’t Believe It’ is not unlike fellow rockers Tax The Heat.

Both ‘Rich Man’ and ‘Lion’s Blood’ could be future singles as both possess a riff and hook made for airplay, and indeed the live arena.

‘I Hope’ is an acoustic pause in an otherwise full on rock ‘n’ blues assault on the rest of the album. Would like to hear of the band’s acoustic side as this song is one of the album’s highlights.

The Bad Flowers have made a good impression with their debut album. Plenty of riff action and blues rock that will stand them in good stead in the live arena, which will be vitally important to a new band like this in such a crowded music scene. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie


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Gig review: ELECTRIC BOYS – Camden Underworld, London, 4 December 2017

ELECTRIC BOYS - Camden Underworld, London, 4 December 2017

When funk rock and metal was all the rage for a brief period at the turn of the nineties, the Electric Boys rode that zeitgeist very effectively with their debut album ‘Funk’ o’ Metal Carpet Ride’, allied to a striking psychedelic image, and it remains their signature work to this day.

However in 1992, with the musical sands already shifting, their sophomore album ‘Groovus Maximus’ was less of a critical and commercial success. However, on a personal level, having never grasped the funk rock scene at the time, this album was a revelation, those initial influences now allied to a tougher sound pitched firmly in a classic retro seventies style, somewhere between vintage Aerosmith and Mark IV Deep Purple.

So when I arrived at the Underworld to see posters that this tour was commemorating the album’s 25th anniversary, I arrived with added expectation. I realise this may be a minority view among Electric Boys fans, but a poor turnout barely into three figures was perhaps more a reflection of it being a Monday night in an ever more crowded winter gig calendar, than people being picky about the setlist.

ELECTRIC BOYS - Camden Underworld, London, 4 December 2017

The album’s closer ‘March Of The Spirits’ is often used as an intro tape, but this time we got a full live version, a brave move as few bands this side of Wishbone Ash would see fit to open with an instrumental. The title track and ‘Knee Deep In You’ have been live staples ever since the Boys reformed nearly a  decade ago but the crunchy yet danceable riffs perfectly summed up the album’s appeal.

They also showcased the effective guitar partnership between Conny Bloom and Franco Santunione. The latter, a rather shadowy figure in shades and showing little emotion, lays down a solid groove with his chunky chords and riffs, allowing the curly-haired frontman, who still radiates a laconic rock star charisma, greater freedom to unleash some fluid, psychedelic-tinged solos in quite an original style. They were well supported by the rhythm section of Andy Cristell and Niklas Sigevall who brought a Viking-esque primal power to his drumming to make quite a formidable unit.

ELECTRIC BOYS - Camden Underworld, London, 4 December 2017

The rarely played ‘When Love Explodes’, with a rather Dan Reed Network-esque refrain, was the first conclusive proof that the whole album was likely to be played. Indeed after another well-established favourite with people singing along to ‘Mary In The Mystery World’, came a series of numbers such as ‘Fire In The House’ that can rarely, if ever have been played live.

Sometimes a classic album in its entirety can be difficult to digest but the set pacing was clever with some mid-set improvisation and jamming during ‘Bed Of Roses’ as the pair traded solos and ‘The Sky Is Crying’ with audience participation. Preceded by a touch of ‘Tambourine’, ‘Tear It Up’ had a swaggering riff and Conny’s harmonica playing added to the hard-edged blues feel, prior to momentarily taking things down with the ballad ‘Dying To Be Loved’, slightly too close for comfort to the Quireboys’ ‘I Don’t Love You Anymore’.

ELECTRIC BOYS - Camden Underworld, London, 4 December 2017

Then they picked up the pace with the more uptempo and instant numbers, the cheeky ‘Bad Motherfunker’ harking back to the style of the debut and ‘She’s Into Something Heavy’  boasting a colossal chorus.

Choosing to play the whole of an album meant their other career highlights had to be squeezed into a three song encore and – after Conny teased us with snatches of Frank Zappa and Rush –  ‘Electrified’ saw his and Franco’s guitars locked into a hypnotic groove which invited those Aerosmith comparisons. There was then a surprise in a brand new single ‘Dishes’ which rocked in lively fashion though the chorus line ‘I ain’t gonna do the dishes any more’ would win no awards for gender equality.

ELECTRIC BOYS - Camden Underworld, London, 4 December 2017

There was an inevitability though that the old dance floor filler ’All Lips n Hips’ would close out the set, with Conny holding his mic out to fans at the front and even inviting them to play his guitar, while the band improvised a new outro which showed off their musicianship and neatly brought the gig full circle.

It was an unusual setlist, which might not have been to everyone’s taste, yet as well as a reminder of what an underrated live act the Electric Boys are, the evening was a stimulating chance to revisit their lesser-known masterwork.

Review and Photos by Andy Nathan


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Album review: JON BODEN – Afterglow

Hudson Records [Release date 06.10.17]

‘Afterglow’ follows on from Jon Boden’s 2009 post-apocalyptic concept album ‘Songs From The Floodplain’. Whereas that album was largely rural in its setting, ‘Afterglow’ takes the listener into the chaos of a ruined city’s street carnival, as two star-crossed lovers try to find each other amongst a backdrop of burning oil drums and home-made fireworks. Jon Boden explained his ideas behind the concept at his one man acoustic show and the chaotic Lewes bonfire carnival provided a lot of the ideas behind some of the songs on here.

This is not folk in its purest sense, although the songs could well become part of folklore in the near future and indeed this album was launched by a campfire performance. Instead Jon Boden takes some folk elements and weaves them into his storyline to great effect. A string trio Kiki Chen (violin), Helen Bell (viola) and Lucy Revis (cello) provide much of the musical backing, adding atmosphere to songs like the beautifully crafted ’Fires Of Midnight’.

‘The Stars Are Coming Out Tonight’ features guitar, strings, brass and a big beat drum sound – this one would be a single in old parlance. Indie rock with a beautiful main melody.

Elsewhere the closing duo of ‘Yellow Lights’ and ‘Aubade’ delve into progressive music - the former haunting strings back a mournful vocal from Jon, the latter a melodic treat which starts off with birdsong, a message of possibly meeting again and leaving the scene ready for the next part.

Wonderful music from Mr Boden and I did I mention he used to be in Bellowhead? No? Well this album sees him stride off confidently onto his own musical path and the album leaves you looking forward to the final part of this trilogy. ****

Review by Jason Ritchie

 


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Album review: STORM WARNING – Take Cover

STORM WARNING – Take Cover

Self release [Release date 09.04.17]

Storm Warning’s ‘Take Cover’ is an object lesson in fine interpretive skills on original arrangements that drip with feel and are framed by an intuitive production.

After 3 albums of mostly original material, the band has settled on 7 well chosen cover songs, plus a book-ended original that highlights their own sophisticated style.

Storm Warning explore deep grooves with dynamic, meaningful solos that always support the song rather than dominate it. Ian Salisbury’s organ work is a joy, while Bob Moore’s tonal variety and tasteful note choices give the songs their sheen.

Like all good blues bands, the material is anchored by a crisp rhythm section. Bass player Derek White and drummer Russell Chaney bring impeccable timing to straight ahead grooves that leave enough head-room for the front line players and vocalist Stuart Son Maxell to colour the band’s palette.

And what a palette it is. On Junior Wells’s ‘Hoodoo Man Blues’, they build another sumptuous groove which gives the song sundry possibilities.

Their style is best exemplified by the riff driven, guitar and organ led ‘Big Boss Man’. And while this opener may initially appear a tad obvious, their arrangement takes the song to another place.

Maxwell’s sudden harp solo and the mellifluous segue into Moore’s enveloping solo is offset by Russell Chaney’s crisp cymbal work, on a splendid example of their subtle layered style.

Chaney extends his delicate percussive work over Sainsbury’s busy organ and Maxwell’s exaggerated phrasing on Dylan’s ‘Maggie Farm’.

A sudden stop-time funky break is topped by Bob Moore’s ascending solo and deft picking. But there’s more to come, as Maxwell adds some train-time harp and then unexpectedly slips into a Deke Leonard riff from ’7171-551′.

It’s a defining moment that illustrates how the band brings new ideas and their own unique flavour to a broad based blues genre.

Maxwell’s belligerent self penned ‘Big River’ provides the perfect finish to an album that flows from beginning to end.  It’s also a timely reminder that for all their splendid ability to refresh blues covers, Storm Warning can rock out in their own right on a song that is arguably the highlight of the album.

The other two notable aspects of this hugely enjoyable album are the organic sound and variety of material.

For an indie blues release, there’s a rare attention to sonic detail as the layered textures shimmer and the solos sparkle. And it helps of course if you have a wide array of musically related material.

Hendrix’s ‘Stone Free’ showcases the band’s jamming ability, as Salisbury fills the track with earthy Hammond sweeps, before Moore adds some Joe Satriani style sonic squalls to usher in a tension breaking release.

In sharp contrast the Otis Rush’s slow blues ‘Double Trouble’ shows another side of the band as they get deep inside the song with some intricate interplay and spacious dynamics, as Salisbury revels on gentle piano voicing.

They also bring a spacey percussive arrangement to the traditional blues ‘Jack Diamond’ and Moore is at his scorching best on Zeppelin’s ‘Custard Pie’, which is perhaps the best example of making a cover their own.

Ironically for a band that has cut a covers album to widen their gig potential, the biggest problem they may have with this album is getting people to play it. Perhaps they should add a codicil to the liner notes to explain that the cover material here is given a complete makeover by band that always searches for real feel.

‘Take Cover’ is a triumph of imagination over earnestness. There’s plenty of light and shade, illuminating spark and inspired playing and perhaps only their own sense of taste precludes them from sometimes going for the throat.

Storm Warning are a welcome change from the norm. They play the blues with real feel, but rock hard enough when required. Above all, they strike a balance that tests the full possibilities of a song without overstaying their welcome.

And if that approach sometimes leaves the slightest shortfall when you wish they would actually stretch out just a little bit more, then that small margin is surely reason enough to go and see them live.

‘Take Cover’ is  a lovingly crafted album that fuses the past with the present, and finishes with the kind of self penned song that augers well for the future.

British rock-blues never sounded so good. ****

Review Pete Feenstra


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Power Plays w/c 27 November


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Featured Albums w/c 27 November (Mon-Fri)

We’re including a selection of albums featured since January 2017.
09:00-12:00 Melodic Rock/AOR
12:00-13:00 Melodic Hard Rock
14:00-16:00 Singer Songwriter



Gig review: LIONHEART/AIRRACE- Camden Underworld, London, 2 December 2017

Lionheart - Camden Underworld, London, 2 December 2017

Picture a brief point of time in the early to mid-eighties. With the New Wave of British Heavy Metal running out of steam, many of its more enlightened musicians turned their ears westwards to the more AOR sounds that then dominated the airwaves, and tried to create a British version of the formula, hoping to emulate the success of their contemporaries Def Leppard stateside.

Two of the earliest and best examples of that period were Airrace’s ‘Shaft of Light’ and Lionheart’s ‘Hot Tonight’, both in 1984. They were superb albums but commercial flops, in common with nearly every subsequent British effort at beating the Yanks at their own game.

You would therefore have got long odds on the two bands sharing a stage together in 2017, but this unlikely story made for a memorable sense of occasion, helped by the fact that as bands with London roots many of their family and old friends were in attendance. Indeed there was a very healthy crowd, higher than most of the numerous melodic rock shows I’ve seen at the Underworld over the years.

The more conventionally AOR of the two bands, Airrace opened proceedings and were more familiar in the sense that they were first to reform in 2009, and have toured on and off since including a number of support slots .

This latest incarnation boasts only genial guitarist Laurie Mansworth from the original line up but he has assembled a fine band (including son Dhani on drums and bassist Rocky Newton, performing an unusual double shift with Lionheart) which does justice to the material, particularly in the hands of singer Adam Payne, the Welshman sounding uncannily similar to his equally slight-framed predecessor Keith Murrell.

Airrace - Camden Underworld, London, 2 December 2017

They opened with a couple of oldies in ‘Caught In The Game’ and ‘Not Really Me’,  which had a hard edge to it both with Laurie’s riffing  and even some Hammond organ from Linda Kelsey-Foster, on the keyboards which are a big part of the Airrace sound. Nevertheless the first fruits of the new line up, ‘Eyes Like Ice’, which had some clever twists, already seems to have been established as something of a crowd favourite.

They rolled back the years with the big hooks of ‘Didn’t Wanna Lose Ya’, ‘I Don’t Care’ which had a few people punching the air, and a fan request ‘Promise To Call’ with a typically melodic solo from Laurie.

Nevertheless this was no mere nostalgia trip with some forthcoming material from a 2018 release on Frontiers Records. ‘Come With Us’ had a seventies retro feel with the keyboards in particular reminding me of the Quireboys, while ‘Men From The Boys’ was heavier than traditional Airrace and the same might be said of ‘One Step Ahead’ from their comeback album ‘Back To The Start’, which I was pleased to see represented in the set.

Airrace - Camden Underworld, London, 2 December 2017

But they saved their best to last with a pair of classic oldies in ‘First One Over The Line’ and ‘Brief Encounter’, both with lengthy keyboard intros, giving way to well-constructed songs that built to big anthemic hooks on the chorus and crisp, clean guitar solos. They are songs I will never tire of hearing, but this set very much demonstrated that the new-look Airrace have a bright future.

The only fleeting glimpse anyone would have had of Lionheart since 1985 was an emotional reunion at last year’s Rockingham. Since then they have finally released a sophomore album in ‘Second Nature’ which combines new songs with ones exhumed from the vaults,  and they opened with one such in ‘Give Me The Light’ – which I am sure was on one of the TDK D90 tapes of Friday Rock show sessions that are still boxed up in my ‘man cave’.

Lionheart - Camden Underworld, London, 2 December 2017

New singer Lee Small handles the high notes with ease and was commanding the crowd during ‘Hot Tonight’, even if some of his on stage mannerisms owed more to R’n'B and hip-hop than a traditional rock frontman.

It was followed by more classic oldies in ‘Towers Of Silver’ during which I spotted one of the UK’s top rock journalists headbanging away with a grin borne of disbelief on his face, and ‘Die For Love’ with a massive chorus.

The likes of ‘Prisoner’ showed how well Lee was supported by a big solid wall of harmony vocals from the original trio of members: the aforementioned Rocky Newton and the guitar duo of original Iron Maiden guitarist Dennis Stratton and the flying V wielding Steve Mann. The latter doubled up on keyboards but barely used them- instead twin guitar solos were the dominant theme all night in a way which reminded me of Praying Mantis or even an AOR version of Maiden.

Lionheart - Camden Underworld, London, 2 December 2017

The new album was plugged quite heavily with the likes of ‘Angels With Dirty Faces’ and an autobiographical sounding ‘Thirty Years’, in addition to their cover of ‘Don’t Pay The Ferryman’,  which reminded us that Chris De Burgh was once a credible rock artist before the egregious ‘Lady In Red’.

It also played to the band’s sense of fun which manifested itself in Dennis’s geezer-esque quips though after teasing Lee over his Midlands accent, the latter got his revenge with some less than respectful band intros.

Lionheart - Camden Underworld, London, 2 December 2017

The biggest surprise of the set was a cover, after a fashion, of ‘Anytime’, the McAuley Schenker Group’s most commercially successful single which Steve had co-written. Rocky was also an MSG member in those days and was remarkably good when he stepped forward to deliver a line on the chorus.

After Lee had to be corrected by one of my fellow hacks as he stumbled over the title of 1985’s short-lived Channel 4 metal show ECT, the title of ‘Heartbeat Radio‘ was somewhat misleading as it was another hard-hitting twin guitar rromp, before in a set which seemed to rush to a conclusion to meet the 10 o’clock curfew, they ended with an even more NWOBHM-ish number in the eponymous ‘Lionheart’.

Lionheart - Camden Underworld, London, 2 December 2017

In a very different way Lionheart had been just as impressive as Airrace, peddling an almost unique sound. Both bands may have missed their best shot at the big time, but over 30 years later their revival promises to be a lot more fun on the evidence of this heart-warming evening.

Review and Photos by Andy Nathan


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Power Plays w/c 27 November


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Featured Albums w/c 27 November (Mon-Fri)

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09:00-12:00 Melodic Rock/AOR
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14:00-16:00 Singer Songwriter



Gig review: STATUS QUO – Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, 5 December 2017

Status Quo – Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow – 5 December 2017

Almost exactly a year ago I attended a Quo gig at the nearby Hydro which was billed as the ‘Last Night Of The Electrics’ tour. Yet here I am a year on looking at a stage lined with white amps powered up and humming, what is going on?

This Christmas tour was originally billed as an Aquostic tour but due to public demand the band decided to give the people what they wanted and break out the Telecasters for another blast through of the classics. Some may have felt cheated by this, although last year’s excellent bill with REO Speedwagon in tow was well worth the entrance fee anyway, but after tonight’s performance I doubt anyone was bemoaning the change.

Status Quo – Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow – 5 December 2017

Tonight’s support aren’t as big an act as Speedwagon yet but given the form they are in just now I wouldn’t bet against Cats In Space hitting the big time soon. The band’s latest album ‘Scarecrow’ recently topped the Get Ready To ROCK! Reviewers ‘best of 2017’ album list and deservedly so. This was the fourth time this year I have seen CIS live this year and I would happily attend another gig tomorrow. Hitting the stage to the familiar strains of the Sweeney theme the band produced another faultless performance.

The set was much the same as the guys had played a week or so earlier when supporting Deep Purple but with time for a couple of extra songs. Opening with ‘Too Many Gods’ the band soon had the growing crowd on their side.

Frontman Paul Manzi once again looked at ease on stage and his vocal delivery was spot on throughout. As Paul pointed out, the band may have only been together for a couple of years but between them the players on stage have about 200 years of musical experience between them and it shows. The sound is spot on and the band have the stage presence of seasoned professionals.

Cats In Space – Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow – 5 December 2017

Set highlights included ‘Mad Hatters Tea Party’, ‘Mr Heartache’ and ‘Timebomb’ but the show stealer was the epic ‘Greatest Story Never Told’ with great guitar work from Greg Hart and Dean Howard. ‘Five Minute Celebrity’ rounded off another great set and at the end the guys got a well deserved standing ovation as they took their bows.

Cats In Space – Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow – 5 December 2017

The stage was then set for Status Quo and anticipation was high. As the lights dimmed and the intro taped rolled the band took to the stage greeted with a huge cheer. It fell to new man Richie Malone to kick things off with the opening riff to ‘Caroline’. Quo 2017 may be a different beast entirely from the heady days of the frantic four but the current line up seem to have harnessed some of that old energy. The performance tonight was by a band with new found vigour and found Francis Rossi in good voice and a wisecracking good mood.

Status Quo – Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow – 5 December 2017

‘Something ‘Bout You Baby I Like’ and  ‘Rain’  followed before Malone stepped forward for vocal duties on ‘Little Lady’. The set list was the usual mix of all the hits, some old, some new, some borrowed and some blue (for you!). ‘Softer Ride’ took us way back with some excellent drumming from Leon Cave.

Francis Rossi was in fine form, joking with the crowd on subjects such as Skechers being the most comfortable shoe for the older gent and the feeling that his face is about to fall off when bouncing along during ‘Hold You Back’. Another aspect of the evening was all the band members stepping forward to take lead vocal duties with ‘Rhino’ Edwards and Andy Bowen taking turns at the mic alongside Rossi and Malone.

Status Quo – Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow – 5 December 2017

‘Don’t Drive My Car’ was played in honour of the late Rick Parfitt, although the version played was the reworked Aquostic one rather than the straight original. ‘In The Army Now’ went down a storm ably abetted by the Glasgow choir belting out ‘stand up and fight’ for all they were worth.

After ‘Roll Over Lay Down’, Rossi was left on stage alone for a quick guitar noodle before cranking out the intro to ‘Down, Down’, he also added a cheeky ‘down, down, prices are down’ in one of the choruses, no doubt the TV ad proceeds helped pay for the Skechers. ‘Rockin’ All Over The World’ rounded off the set as is tradition,again accompanied with much singing and dancing.

Status Quo – Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow – 5 December 2017

The band soon reappeared and kept the tempo high with ‘Don’t Waste My Time’, ‘Burning Bridges’, again with Rossi trying to dislodge his face by bouncing around on stage, and ‘Bye, Bye Johnny’ finally bringing things to a close.

Some may bemoan the fact that the band are continuing to tour after last year’s farewell and the death of Parfitt. However, I would say that this current version of Quo are playing with a new found energy and enthusiasm that was missing on the last few tours. Rossi in particular appears to be a new man, playing beside the younger generation is obviously keeping the old dog on his toes.

Plugged or unplugged, make no mistake Status Quo are still as entertaining as ever and plan to continue touring just as long as Rossi can keep his jowls in check.

Review by Dave Wilson
Photos by Darren Griffiths


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Featured Albums w/c 27 November (Mon-Fri)

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14:00-16:00 Singer Songwriter



Album review: MAGNUM – Lost On The Road To Eternity

MAGNUM - Lost On The Road To Eternity

SPV [Release date 19.01.18]

We’ve always said Magnum should be cherished.  Even more so in 2018, and with the arrival of their 20th studio album.  The latest magnum opus also introduces new members Rick Benton (keys) and Lee Morris now firmly on the stool vacated by drum-whore Harry James who evidently couldn’t split his time between Thunder and Snakecharmer.

While many “heritage” bands trade on former glories, topping up with distinctly average new releases, Magnum plough on regardless releasing a valid album every couple of years or so.  Their last outing – Sacred Blood “Divine” Lies – was a definite return to form and as ever a great vehicle for Tony Clarkin’s songwriting and Bob Catley’s ever more evocative vocal stylings.

We’ve said before that on various album releases Mark Stanway’s keys were sometimes muted and one of the characteristics of ‘Lost’ is that Rick Benton’s work is up in the mix.  Add to that the heft added by Morris and Magnum – at least in the rhythm and orchestration department – get another new breath of life.

Ultimately it all comes down to the tunes, and you can’t fault Magnum when it comes to value for money with a near on capacity CD playing time.  But what of the consistency?  I have this idea that deep in the Staffordshire countryside in his recording-cum-potting shed Tony Clarkin knocks out tunes like shelling peas.  However, that process – like the peas – could always be disappointing with a lot of effort and not much to show for it.

Clarkin might be as good a gardener as he is songsmith.  He nurtures, judiciously prunes and preens his musical flora and all the hard work based on talent and  experience is rewarded.  It is plainly evident on the new album, which ultimately flowers into a thing of real significance.

The marvellous opener ‘Peaches And Cream’ demonstrates the band’s recent rejuvenation, characterised by Clarkin’s insistent riffage and Catley’s multi-tracked vocal adding to the song’s overall urgency.

The pace is maintained for ‘Show Me Your Hands’ with a nice keyboard led mid-section and echoes of a speeded up ‘Another Day In Paradise’ in the early verses whilst the mid-tempo ‘Storm Baby’ echoes earlier glories and is distinctly ‘Magnum’.  ‘Without Love’ – an early single – takes us back to the 1994 raunch of ‘Rock Art’ but with the commercial groove of John Farnham’s ‘I Am The Voice’.

The band even give us the indulgence of  longer tracks such as ‘Welcome To The Cosmic Cabaret’ and ‘King Of The World’, the former allowing both Benton and Clarkin to come up with attractive and florid motifs in the breakdown sections.

A departure on this album is the widescreen aspiration especially on the excellent title track which features a full orchestra and Tobias Sammet with whom Catley has collaborated in Avantasia.  I can only assume that Bob and Tony got fired up earlier this year when they performed several tunes on tour in Europe with an orchestra.  Fans might wonder if such a duet is a slippery slope but it is an album highlight nevertheless.

At times, for this writer since their millennium comeback,  Magnum have frustrated and fired up in equal measure.   But this usually relates to their live show and the omission of “killer” tracks even from the more recent albums.  Hopefully we’ll hear a good cross section of the latest offering when the band tour in February/March.

‘Lost’ will appeal to the die-hards (who will surely hail the return of the early eighties logo) as well as the lapsed.  Forty years after their recording debut, ‘Lost On The Road To Eternity’ is an absolute triumph.  *****

Review by David Randall

David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.

Gig review (HRH Prog, November 2017)

UK Tour Dates (2018)

Fri January 26 Giants Of Rock, Minehead
Tue February 20 BRISTOL Trinity Centre
Wed February 21 CARDIFF Tramshed
Fri February 23 HOLMFIRTH Picturedrome
Sat February 24 Manchester Academy 2
Sun February 25 HULL Welly
Mon February 26 ABERDEEN Garage
Tue February 27 GLASGOW Garage
Thu March 01 BELFAST Limelight
Fri March 02 BIRMINGHAM Town Hall
Sun March 04 PRESTON Live – Preston
Mon March 05 NOTTINGHAM Rock City
Wed March 07 LEAMINGTON SPA Assembly
Thu March 08 CAMBRIDGE Junction
Fri March 09 LONDON Islington Assembly Hall
Sun March 11 SOUTHAMPTON Engine Rooms
Mon March 12 BRIGHTON Old Market


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Power Plays w/c 27 November


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Featured Albums w/c 27 November (Mon-Fri)

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09:00-12:00 Melodic Rock/AOR
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14:00-16:00 Singer Songwriter



Upcoming: New releases (CD/DVD) January – March 2018

Compiled by Jason Ritchie

Joe Satriani - What Happens Next

January

12th
ASKING ALEXANDRIA S/T Summerin Records
AUDREY HORNE ‘Blackout’ Napalam Records
AVATAR ‘Avatar Country’
BLACK VEIL BRIDES ‘Vale’
CORROSION OF CONFORMITY ‘No Cross No Crown’ Nuclear Blast
FLEETWOOD MAC S/T (re-issue of 1975 album with unreleased songs)
KAYAK ‘Seventeen’ Inside Out
LEAVE’S EYES ‘Sign of the Dragonhead’ AFM Records
MYSTIC PROPHECY ‘Monuments Uncovered’ Massacre Records
PANORAMA ‘Around the World’ Rock of Angels Records
JOE PERRY ‘Sweetzerland Manifesto’ Roman Records
JOE SATRIANI ‘What Happens Next’
TY TABOR (KING’S X) ‘Alien Beans’ Rat Pak Records
TANKARD ‘Hymns For The Drunk’ (best of) AFM Records
TRESPASS ‘Footprints In The Rock’ Mighty Music
WHITE WIZZARD ‘Infernal Overdrive’ M-Theory Record

19th
ANVIL ‘Pounding The Pavement’
BLACK LABEL SOCIETY ‘Grimmest Hits’ Spinefarm Records
FALL OUT BOY ‘Mania’
GHOST ‘Ceremony And Devotion’
MAGNUM ‘Lost On The Road To Eternity’ SPV
OF MICE & MEN ‘Defy’
PERFECT BEINGS ‘Vier’ Inside Out
PRAYER ‘Silent Soldiers’ Escape Music
THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS ‘I Like Fun’
WALKING PAPERS ‘WP2′ Loud & Proud Records
WHITESNAKE ‘The Purple Tour (Live)’ Rhino Records

26th
ALESTORM ‘Captain Morgan’s Revenge’ Napalm Records (re-issue)
AMMUNITION S/T Frontiers
BLOOD RED SAINTS ‘Love Hate Conspiracies’ AOR Heaven
PHIL CAMPBELL & THE BASTARD SONS ‘The Age Of Absurdity’ Nuclear Blast
THE DARKER MY HORIZON ‘Phoenix’ (EP)
DELTA DEEP ‘East Coast Live’ Frontiers
STEVE HACKETT ‘Wuthering Nights: Live in Birmingham’ (DVD) InsideOut
IGNORE THE SUN ‘A Line To Cross’ SPV/Steamhammer
JOHN 5 ‘It’s Alive!’
LABYRINTH ‘Return to Live’ Frontiers
Lione/Conti S/T Frontiers
LOUDNESS ‘Rise To Glory’
MACHINE HEAD ‘Catharsis’ Nuclear Blast
MARMOZETS ‘Knowing What You Know Now’ Roadrunner Records
ORPHANED LAND ‘Unsung Prophets And Dead Messiahs’ Century Media
PAL ‘Prime’ AOR Heaven
THE POODLES ‘Prisma’ Gain/Sony (covers album)
RICK SPRINGFIELD ‘The Snake King’ Frontiers Records
THERION ‘Beloved Antichrist’ Nuclear Blast
TRIBULATION ‘Down Below’ Century Media

TBA
THE OUTFIELD ‘Out Of The Darkness’ Madison Records

February

2nd
DON BROCO ‘Technology’
LONG DISTANCE CALLING ‘Boundless’ Inside Out
JOHN OATES ‘Arkansas’
DAN PATLANSKY ‘Perfection Kills’
SAXON ‘Thunderbolt’
SIMPLE MINDS ‘Walk Between Wolrds’
W.A.S.P. ‘Reidolized – The Soundtrack To The Crimson Idol’ (CD/DVD) Napalm Records

9th
FRANZ FERDINAND ‘Always Ascending’
GOOD TIGER ‘We Will All Be Gone’ Metal Blade Records
TOTO ‘Forty Trips Around The Sun’ Legacy/Sony (best of with 3 new songs)
VOODOO CIRCLE ‘Raised On Rock’ AFM Records

16th
ANGRA ‘Ømni’ earMUSIC
BAD FLOWERS ‘Starting Gun’
JON BUTCHER AXIS S/T Escape Music
EKTOMORF ‘Fury’ AFM Records
NEAL MORSE ‘Life And Times’
DIZZY REED (GUNS ‘N’ ROSES) ‘Rock ‘n Roll Ain’t Easy’ Golden Robot Records
SENSES FAIL ‘If There Is A Light, It Will Find You’ Pure Noise Records
THE TEMPERANCE MOVEMENT ‘A Deeper Cut’
VISIONS OF ATLANTIS ‘The Deep & The Dark’ Napalm Records

23rd
ANIMAL DRIVE ‘Bite!’ Frontiers
Chris Bay (FREEDOM CALL) ‘Chasing the Sun’ Steamhammer/SPV
BURN ‘Ice Age’ MelodicRock Records
CATS IN SPACE ‘Cats Alive!’
JAMES CHRISTIAN (HOUSE OF LORDS) ‘Craving’ Frontiers
CoreLeoni (features GOTTHARD’s guitarist) Frontiers
Johan Kihlberg’s Impera ‘Age Of Discovery’ Metal Heaven
Michael Landau ‘Rock Bottom’
MEGAHERZ ‘Komet’ Napalm Records
NECROPHOBIC TBA Century Media
Grant-Lee Phillips ‘Widdershins’ Yep Roc Records

TBA
SHARON DEN ADEL (WITHIN TEMPTATION) ‘My Indigo’
JUDAS PRIEST ‘Firepower’ Sony Music
SPACE ELEVATOR TBA Pledge Music

March

2nd
ANDREW WK ‘You’re Not Alone’ Sony Music
MINISTRY ‘AmeriKKKant’
MOBY ‘Everything Was Beautiful And Nothing Hurt’
MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST ‘Resurrection’ Nuclear Blast
STONE BROKEN ‘Ain’t Always Easy’ Spinefarm

9th
EMBRACE ‘Love Is A Basic Need’ Cooking Vinyl
THE FRATELLIS ‘In Your Own Sweet Time’
LAURENCE JONES ‘The Truth’
MYLES KENNEDY (ALTER BRIDGE) ‘Year Of The Tiger’ Napalm Records
THE LEVELLERS ‘We The Collective’ (acoustic album)
NIGHTWISH ‘Decades’ (2CD best of) Nuclear Blast
TAX THE HEAT ‘Change Your Position’ Nuclear Blast

23rd
RICK PARFITT ‘Over And Out’ earMUSIC
W.E.T. ‘Earthshake’ Frontiers

TBA
JOAN BAEZ ‘Whistle Down The Wind’ Proper Records
BLAZE BAYLEY TBA
EXODUS TBA
HARDCORE SUPERSTAR ‘You Can’t Kill My Rock ‘N’ Roll’
NAPALM DETH ‘Coded Smears and More Uncommon Slurs’ (best of) Century Media
AXEL RUDI PELL TBA SPV

April

6th
MANIC STREET PREACHERS ‘Resistance Is Futile’

27th
ANTHRAX ‘Kings Among Scotland’ (DVD) Nuclear Blast
CREMATORY ‘Oblivion’ SPV/Steamhammer
THE 1975 ‘Music For Cars’

TBA
GHOST TBA
GUS G TBA AFM Records
SHINEDOWN TBA
WISHBONE ASH ‘The Vintage Years 1970-1991′ (limited edition 30CD box set)

May

11th
COLLECTIVE SOUL ‘Blood’

18th
ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN ‘The Stars, The Oceans & The Moon’
THE FIERCE & THE DEAD ‘The Euphoric’ Bad Elephant

TBA
ORANGE GOBILN TBA

June

1st
OWL CITY ‘Cinematic’

2018 – TBA
AIRRACE TBA Frontiers
ANIMAL DRIVE TBA Frontiers
AT THE GATES TBA
THE BABYS ‘Timeless: Anthoology II’ (re-recorded older songs)
SEB BACH TBA
BONFIRE TBA AFM Records
BRIGADE TBA (features Howard Leese, Robin McAuley, James Kottak, Jason Boyleston)
BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE TBA Search and Destroy/Spinefarm Records
CPR PRJOECT (features PETRA members re-recording ten Petra songs)
CREYE TBA Frontiers
THE DAMNED TBA Search & Destroy Music
DANTE FOX TBA
DARE ‘Out Of The Silence’ (collector’s edition)
DEATH DEALER TBA
DEVILDRIVER ‘Outlaws Till The End’ (covers album)
BRUCE DICKINSON TBA
DIO’S DISCIPLES TBA
DIRTY THRILLS TBA Frontiers
DOOMSDAY OUTLAW TBA Frontiers
DOKKEN TBA
DOKKEN (live album)
DORO TBA
DREAM THEATER TBA Inside Out
EDGE OF FOREVER TBA Frontiers
ENTOMBED A.D. TBA
EXTREME TBA
FAHRAN ‘Vapours’
FEAR FACTORY TBA
FISH ‘Weltschmerz’ (his final studio album)
FLEETWOOD MAC TBA
LITA FORD TBA
FOREIGNER (live 40th anniversary show with LOU GRAMM & other ex-members)
GATHERING OF KINGS TBA (features members of H.E.A.T. Masterplan, Eclipse)
DAVE GILMOUR TBA
LOU GRAMM TBA
GRIM REAPER TBA
GUILD OF AGES TBA
GYPSY ROSE TBA
HALESTORM TBA
HARDCORE SUPERSTAR TBA
HELLOWEEN ‘Live In Madrid’
HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES TBA
TROND HOLTER (Dracula 2) TBA Frontiers
ILLUMINATE (features IAN JONES of KARNATAKA & Agnieszka Swita)
IMMORTAL TBA Nuclear Blast
INTENSE TBA
IO EARTH ‘Solitude’
JETBOY TBA Frontiers
KAMELOT TBA
RON KEEL BAND ‘Fight Like A Band’ EMP
KILLER BEE TBA
KILLER DWARFS (live album)
LAST IN LINE TBA Frontiers
LEATHERWOLF TBA
LEMMY (solo album)
Letters From The Colony ‘Vignette’ Nuclear Blast
LITTLE CAESAR TBA
LIZZY BORDEN TBA
MAGIC DANCE TBA Frontiers
CLIFF MAGNESS TBA Frontiers
MANOWAR TBA
MARILLION ‘Live at the Royal Albert Hall’
MARTIE PETERS GROUP TBA MelodicRock Records
TONY MARTIN ‘Book Of Shadows’
MASON HILL TBA Frontiers
MASS ‘When 2 Worlds Collide’ Escape Music
MASSIVE WAGONS TBA Earache Records
MEGADETH TBA
METAL CHURCH TBA
MICHAEL THOMPSON BAND TBA Frontiers
MUSE TBA
MY DYING BRIDE TBA Nuclear Blast
NAZARETH TBA
CORMAC NEESON (THE ANSWER) ‘White Feather’
NIGHTWISH TBA Nuclear Blast
NINE INCH NAILS TBA
NORDIC UNION TBA Frontiers
ED O’BRIEN TBA (RADIOHEAD guitarist)
THE OFFSPRING TBA
OPETH TBA
OZZY OSBOURNE TBA
JIZZY PEARL (LOVE/HATE) TBA Frontiers
A PERFECT CIRCLE TBA BMG
PERFECT PLAN TBA Frontiers
STEVE PERRY TBA
POWER WOLF TBA Napalm Records
PRIMAL FEAR ‘Apocalypse’ Frontiers
PRONG TBA
QUEENSRYCHE TBA
RATT TBA
RAVEN TBA SPV
RED DRAGON CARTEL ‘Patina’
REVERTIGO TBA Frontiers
ROYAL HUNT TBA Frontiers
MICHAEL SCHENKER TBA Nuclear Blast
SCORPIONS TBA
SHADOWSPELL TBA Frontiers
SHINEDOWN TBA
SILVER TBA (MICHAEL VOSS on vocals)
SKID ROW TBA (with new vocalist ZP Theart)
SNAKES IN PARADISE TBA Frontiers
DEE SNIDER TBA
Soleil Moon TBA Frontiers
SPIRITS OF FIRE (features TIM ‘Ripper’ OWENS & CHRIS CAFFERY) TBA Frontiers
SPOCK’S BEARD TBA Inside Out
SPREAD EAGLE TBA
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN TBA
STARBREAKER TBA Frontiers
STARZ TBA Frontiers
STONE SOUR TBA
STRYPER TBA (recording in Oct 2017)
SUPER STROKE TBA (features members of DOKKEN and Robert Mason)
TEN (all their backlist re-issued) Frontiers
TNT TBA Frontiers
TOOL TBA
TOSELAND TBA Frontiers
TOTO (re-issues with bonus songs)Sony
URIAH HEEP ‘Living The Dream’ Frontiers
WARLORD TBA Frontiers
WHITESNAKE TBA Rhino/Atlantic
THE WILDHEARTS TBA
WORK OF ART TBA Frontiers
THE YARDBIRDS TBA

2019

TBA
TORA TORA TBA Frontiers

No set date as yet

ACID FOR BLOOD TBA (features FRANKIE BANALI & PAUL SABU)
AEROSMITH TBA
ALLIANCE TBA Escape Music
THE ALMIGHTY TBA
ASIA TBA (on hold following JOHN WETTON’s death)
STEVE AUGERI (ex-JOURNEY/TYKETTO) ‘In The Moment’ TBA
BATON ROGUE TBA Frontiers
DAVE BICKLER (ex-SURVIVOR) ‘Darklight’
BLACKWELDER (featuring vocalsit Ralf Scheepers PRIMAL FEAR/ex-GAMMA RAY)
CITY OF THIEVES TBA Frontiers
CONNY BLOOM (THE ELECTRIC BOYS) TBA
BULLETBOYS TBA Frontiers
BRIGHTON ROCK TBA Frontiers
BRITNY FOX TBA (with TOMMY PARIS on vocals)
BURNING RAIN TBA
GLEN BURTNICK TBA
VIVIAN CAMPBELL (DEF LEPPARD) TBA
COLD TBA Napalm Records
CREDO TBA
DAMN YANKEES TBA (third album recorded but never released to date)
DOMAIN TBA
DREAM THEATER TBA
FIFTH ANGEL TBA
FINAL FRONTIER TBA Escape Music
FIREHOUSE TBA
GPS ‘Dreamscape’ TBA
GRAND DESIGN TBA AOR Heaven
GUNS N ROSES TBA (possible guest appearance from Slash)
GUNZO TBA (includes Tracii Gunns & Rudy Sarzo)
TOBY HITCHCOCK (PRIDE OF LIONS) TBA
HOLLYWOOD VAMPIRES TBA
TONY IOMMI & TONY MARTIN TBA (possibly an EP)
MICK JAGGER TBA
KELLY KEAGY (NIGHT RANGER) TBA
NEIL KERNON TBA
KING KOBRA TBA
KING’S X TBA Inside Out
KIX TBA
LAND OF TALES S/T Frontiers
HUEY LEWIS & THE NEWS TBA
MADISON PAIGE TBA Indie
MAGELLAN TBA
EDDIE MONEY ‘Shake That Thing’
ALDO NOVA TBA
JIMMY PAGE (archive material release)
POISON TBA (may happen if all the band are ‘up for it’)
RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE TBA
RAINTIMES TBA Frontiers
RAMMSTEIN TBA
KANE ROBERTS TBA Frontiers (inc. ALICE COPPER & KIP WINGER)
PAUL RODGERS TBA (new songs)
DAVE LEE ROTH TBA (album already recorded featuring John 5)
MICHAEL SCHENKER & DON DOKKEN (acoustic album)
SHARK ISLAND TBA
SHAW/BLADES ‘Influence II’ (Covers album) TBA
TOMMY SHAW (STYX) TBA
THE SIGN TBA
SOUNDGARDEN TBA
THE STONE ROSES TBA
STONE TEMPLE PIOLTS TBA
JOHN SYKES TBA
UNDERWORLD – featuring Kee Marcello (ex-Europe) on guitars/vocals; Steve Augeri (ex-Journey) on vocals; drummer Virgil Donati and Svante Henryson on bass/cello
VAN HALEN TBA
VELVET REVOLVER TBA (on hold until a new vocalist is found)
VOIVOD TBA
THE WINERY DOGS TBA


January-March 2017
April-June 2017
July-September 2017
October-December 2017


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Power Plays w/c 27 November


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Featured Albums w/c 27 November (Mon-Fri)

We’re including a selection of albums featured since January 2017.
09:00-12:00 Melodic Rock/AOR
12:00-13:00 Melodic Hard Rock
14:00-16:00 Singer Songwriter



News: Get Ready to ROCK! Reviews Editor hits 50 for charity

50 Gigs In A Day

Get Ready to ROCK! Reviews Editor Jason Ritchie has long been a supporter of various charities and in the past he has put on his running shoes in aid of good causes.

Now, as he approaches the grand old age of 50 on 8 February 2018, Jason is encouraging artists/bands to mention the charity Nordoff Robbins via their social media.  The idea is that 50 artists/bands who have gigs on 8 February will mention the charity’s work.

Already Jason has enlisted the likes of Yes, Marillion and Steve Hackett all of whom will be appearing in ‘Cruise To The Edge’ on 8 February.  Singer songwriter Michael Armstrong will be recording a new version of ‘Everlasting Love’ (a hit back in February 1968) and Facebook live gigs have been announced by Josh Taerk and The Darker My Horizon.

Jason Ritchie founded Classic Rock Newswire  in 2002 and subsequently merged his online musical interests with Get Ready to ROCK! helping to expand the website during the following 15 years and as News and Reviews Editor.

Nordoff Robbins reaches out to help individuals in their own personal development via musical and non-musical skills.

More information
Nordoff Robbins website


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Power Plays w/c 27 November


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Featured Albums w/c 27 November (Mon-Fri)

We’re including a selection of albums featured since January 2017.
09:00-12:00 Melodic Rock/AOR
12:00-13:00 Melodic Hard Rock
14:00-16:00 Singer Songwriter



Quick plays: TYPHOON, EWAN CRUICKSHANKS, THE HAZEY JANES

TYPHOON Offerings

TYPHOON Offerings [Release date 12.01.18]

The PR copy states that ‘If a Fellini film, a Bosch painting and a Rorschach drawing had a collective sound, it would be Typhoon’s new release’. Or in more simpler terms it is an album that requires your attention for the musical shifts and turns, as the band tell the story of a man losing his mind.

The story unfolds over four movements and it is not an easy listen. To be honest, although interesting through the lyrics and music, it does sound a little one paced at times. I am sure it will gain better reviews than this one, it just doesn’t appeal. ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

EWAN CRUICKSHANKS A Glasgow Band

EWAN CRUICKSHANKS A Glasgow Band [Release date 09.02.18]

Hailing as the album title suggests from Glasgow, Ewan Cruickshanks is a keen supporter of the local music scene there and hosts a local radio show promoting local talent. He is no musical slouch himself having produced this quirky pop album full of melody and a scattering of instrumentals.

Highlights are the catchy pop of ‘Dreams’ where he duets with Siobhan Wilson and  ‘C.A.A.G.B.’, in which the chorus reminded me of ‘Three Lions’ by The Lightning Seeds. Indeed the album’s sound is not unlike The Lightning Seeds in that band’s 90′s prime, gentle on the ear and lyrics that have an everyday take on life.

By no means an essential album, it still has its moments and worth a listen. ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

THE HAZEY JANES Hands Around The City - Live

THE HAZEY JANES Hands Around The City – Live
Armellodie Records [Release date 08.12.17]

‘Big in Dundee’ is maybe not a phrase you hear that often, however it applies to the Hazey Janes who hail from the said city and this album was recorded at a sold out live show there, where they performed their ‘lost album’ in full.

The band consists of Andrew Mitchell (vocals, guitar), Liam Brennan (drums, vocals), Alice Marra (vocals, guitar, keyboards, glockenspiel) and Matthew Marra (bass) and on this live performance they were joined by Riley Briggs (guitar, keyboards) and Jenny Sutherland on violin and viola.

The Hazey Janes mix pop, indie rock and a bit of country and it sounds good. Highlights include the fast paced pop of ‘New York’ and the guitars-a-jangling on ‘Autumn Song’ – reminiscent of PictureHouse as both bands have a distinctive vocalist and an ear for melodic indie rock/pop.

Not normally a big lover of live albums, however this one has certainly tweaked my interest in the Hazey Janes and leaving me wanting to hear more by them. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie


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Power Plays w/c 27 November


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Featured Albums w/c 27 November (Mon-Fri)

We’re including a selection of albums featured since January 2017.
09:00-12:00 Melodic Rock/AOR
12:00-13:00 Melodic Hard Rock
14:00-16:00 Singer Songwriter



Quick plays: TALK-SHOW, STEVE RAVENSFIELD

TALK-SHOW Permanent Honeymoon

TALK-SHOW Permanent Honeymoon (Wooden Piano Records)

The brainchild of Maidstone singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lawrence O’Shea, Talk-Show brings together Gustaff Llunggren (brass, woodwind, strings and lap steel) and Chris Pepper (drums, percussion, programming, electric and bass guitars and syths), overseen by producer Boo Hewerdine (who fronted cult 80′s indie band the Bible).

The PR blurb would have you believe they blend Velvet Underground, Kraftwerk, and McCartney but to my ears their influences are far more recent – from a songwriting perspective, the likes of 10cc, and from a musical delivery perspective a range of 1980′s influences, perhaps most notably the likes of The Lightning Seeds mixed with elements of The Cars, and ELO.

So what you get is cleverly crafted retro pop rock.  No surprise that they’ve shared the stage with the likes of Squeeze.  And as fellow reviewer Jason Richie commented when reviewing the band’s 2015 All Messed Up (And Nowhere To Go) EP, not a million miles removed from Cats In Space who were recently awarded the GRTR! 2017 album of the year accolade.

Whether this signals a new trend – a classic 70′s pop rock/early 80′s synth revival – it’s too early to say, but well written songs, with irresistible hooks, that cry out for radio airplay, will always be well received.  ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

STEVE RAVENSFIELD Into The Next Life [Release date 01.12.17]

The second long player inside 12 months from this somewhat mysterious Midlands singer songwriter whose web footprint offers no bio, no photos, no dates.  Nothing.

Throw into the mix that for a limited time (well after its release) he offered his last album Broken Diamonds delivered free, not even a p&p charge, and the mystery thickens.

Then there’s the cryptic Facebook message that while he was hoping to get out on the road before the year end he was unable to do so for personal reasons, and the somewhat maudlin nature of his new material – the burdens of this mortal coil – and you sense this is stuff he needs to say before the sands of time run out.

So a very personal album, but very much like on his debut his hoarse, gravelly vocals and easy listening brand of acoustic driven soft rock, don’t wholly convince.  At least not in a commercially viable sense, and it’s the gospelly backing vocals (from, I’m guessing Ange Lloyd again) that lift much of the material.

But if catharsis is the aim, and I suspect it is, then while it may be fairly run of the mill fodder to you and I, it’s mission achieved with the poignant ‘If I Never Tell You Goodbye’ and the driving title track offering an element of redemption. ***

Review by Pete Whalley


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Power Plays w/c 27 November


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Featured Albums w/c 27 November (Mon-Fri)

We’re including a selection of albums featured since January 2017.
09:00-12:00 Melodic Rock/AOR
12:00-13:00 Melodic Hard Rock
14:00-16:00 Singer Songwriter



Album review: BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE – Medicine Songs

BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE - Medicine Songs

True North Records [Release date 07.11.17]

A new album from the now 76 year old Buffy, and guess what?  Yes, lurking there amidst a collection of old, new, and borrowed, (and Blue) material are career defining numbers like ‘Soldier Blue’ and ‘Universal Soldier’.

But re-recorded as part of a modern day protest album, addressing the current ills of the world – war, oppression, inequity, and greed, you realise that they still just as relevant. Sadly, whilst mankind may have taken giant steps since the 1960′s, as a species, we’re still just as deeply flawed.

It would be nice to believe that Medicine Songs might make a difference and fair play to Buffy for continuing the put her messages of hope out there.  Vocally, she’s never sounded better, and the new arrangements – ranging from her acoustic troubadour roots (she hasn’t messed too much with ‘Universal Soldier’), to world music, indie rock, and even hip-hop – do more than just apply a fresh veneer to aging material.

The result is a thoroughly ‘modern’ album, and one that belies Sainte-Marie’s advancing years.  In a somewhat unusual twist the digital version of the album features 20 songs, whereas due to capacity limitations the CD only features 13.  But so those investing in the physical product don’t miss out, a download code card is included that allows you to get the rest of the tracks.  Nice touch, Buffy.  ****

Review by Pete Whalley


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Power Plays w/c 27 November


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We’re including a selection of albums featured since January 2017.
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14:00-16:00 Singer Songwriter



Album review: DAVE KERZNER – Static

DAVE KERZNER - Static

Recplay [Release date 10.11.17]

The second solo album from Miami-based keyboard maestro and co-founder of Sound Of Contact (Kernzer/Simon Collins) is creating something of a stir in prog circles.  Perhaps, of little surprise given the heavyweight guest appearances of Steve Hackett, Durga McBroom (Floyd), Nick D’Virgilio (Big Big Train) and Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree), alongside Sound Of Contact bandmate Matt Dorsey (bass), guitarists Fernando Perdomo and Randy McStine, and drummer Derek Cintron.

The shadow of Floyd permeates proceedings – not just from McBroom’s distinctive backing vocals, but from Nick Mason’s sampled drums on the excellent title track, and in notable elements of Kerzner’s vocal phasing (which also share strong Jeff Lynne tones).

But Static is a far more densely woven piece of prog fabric – one that takes repeated unravelling to reveal riches which combine elements of Kerzner’s favourite rock and classic prog albums blended into a contemporary melodrama.

It’s interesting.  Modern day ‘prog’ has come a long way from the rudimentary origins of the genre.  In the formative days of Crimson, Yes, and to a lesser degree Genesis, it was what a handful of musicians could throw at a limited number of tape recorder tracks.  The infinite possibilities of digital recording and the opportunities (?) that brings, in an obtuse way, almost stymies the creativity that the limitations of the analogue age invoked.

And, for me. that’s the rub with Static.  While it may be packed with more time changes than you can shake a stick at, glorious melodies and hooks, not to mention some marvellous playing, like so much contemporary ‘prog’ it’s not that innovative, but basks in the glory of the forerunners of the genre who had no such reference points.

But that shouldn’t diminish from the lure of this ambitious, 78 minute concept album which in many ways charts a parallel course to Steve Hackett’s most recent releases, and, for me, perhaps surpasses them, albeit by not much more than a photo finish.

A hugely accomplished piece of work, both Static and Kerzner’s previous 2014 release  New World (which is very much, a ‘companion piece’), can be explored on bandcamp.com.  Check them out.  If contemporary prog features on your radar, you won’t be disappointed.  ****

Review by Pete Whalley


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09:00-12:00 Melodic Rock/AOR
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Album review: SKID ROW – Skid/34 Hours (reissues)

SKID ROW - Skid/34 Hours

BGO [Release date: 21.07.17] 2 on 1 CD

“I remember Paris in ‘49” … five words guaranteed to cue the leery lads of the night to grab and clinch their squeezes for that last, up close smooch in the smoke and beer fug of dancefloors the length and breadth of Britain back in 1979. ‘Parisienne Walkways’, a slow-burn hit for now late, alas, Irish compatriots Phil Lynott and Gary Moore, showcased what each did best, Lynott’s emoting vocal and Moore’s  soaring guitar tugging tired and happy dancers to the disco door exit, and out into the night.

Roll back the years and the duo were together in Lynott’s Thin Lizzy; back further again, and they shared (albeit briefly) in the act behind this confident debut and even more rounded successor.

Phil had actually decamped Skid Row by the time the band blasted into the London studios to put these sets from 1970 and 1971 to bed. ‘Skid’ and ‘34 Hours’ were taped fast and furious for CBS Records abetted by BBC sessions for John Peel and a swiftly-nailed reputation on the live circuit (the CBS deal coming about via a nudge from an impressed Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac).

The times were still kind to the genre: Mac – a Green-less future as US AOR darlings in the wings – along with the likes of The Groundhogs, Budgie, Andromeda and Taste peddled power line-ups often pared to a trio to happy hairies hungry for the very loud. Zeppelin did a fair job of it, too.  18-year old virtuoso Moore and Skid Row founder Brendan ‘Brush’ Shiels took the lion’s share of song-writing credits on these releases and clearly had been reading the tea leaves.

‘Pop’ music was in a state of flux, the blues slipping in favour of trickier time signatures with quasi-classical flourishes (think capes), and the band’s slight output (a third unreleased album did finally surface in 1990) managed to trick country, psych and prog flourishes into the pile-driving blues-rock that preoccupied 15 tracks here.

’34 Hours’ (yep that’s how long it took) is nicely bolstered by bonuses revisiting the first album sessions plus a single B-side while John O’Regan’s booklet notes ably complement the roar of Skid Row in a value celebration of an under-valued band that platformed two important careers in music history.  Safe to handle – play loud.  ****

Review by Peter Muir


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Book review: THE MEANEY OF LIFE – Sean Meaney

Sean Meaney - The Meaney Of Life

Cunas Music & Publishing – 329 pages paperback [Publication date: 28.07.2017]

‘The Meaney of Life’ is an autobiographical journey though the life and times of a proud Irishman Sean Meaney.

He’s a passionate music fan who rises above what the music biz in particular, and life in general, can throw at him.

The key to this engaging book is his consistent observational style that draws the reader into the author’s refreshing Candide style optimism, which he encouragingly retains to the end.

There’s a lovely flow that reflects his spontaneous approach to life, as he jumps into opportunities without a long term plan and with an almost naive, but commendable belief that the characters he meets along the way all have good intentions.

He wisely prefaces the book with the oft-referenced Hunter S. Thompson  quote about the pitfalls of the music business, as if to both warn the reader and perhaps remind himself of his own travails.

It’s a highly readable book shot through with an honest, observational style that will hold widespread appeal outside the confines of the music scene. Such is his is ability to draw us into a series of his life’s ups and downs that you hardly notice the paucity of photos.

He sets out the books mission statement thus:  ”This book is mainly about my trek through the music industry, managing and promoting bands and venues”, but he further frames his own creative efforts with the observation that; “Success comes with a one percent guarantee and it’s something that you wait and hope for.”

Refreshingly, it isn’t always money even success that drives the author, as you get the impression he’s happiest when he’s involved in something he can enjoy and can share with like minded people.

This of course leads to plenty of disappointments and indeed times in his life when it has an adverse effects on his health.

His early years are spent touring the world with the navy – the Ark Royal no less -  where he maintains a connection with his passion for music by becoming the ship’s DJ.

A bone crunching mid-sea collision eventually steers him back to dry land, but has an on going adverse effect on his delicate psyche. He stays afloat (pun intended), by becoming a chef in a mental hospital. He also keeps his hand in musically as one half of the mobile Twilite Zone Disco, which actually makes it into Sounds magazine.

But as with his overall restless nature, he’s soon embarking on another career as a DJ known as John Michael for Radio Dublin. The station is run by a shady character whose nefarious activities are revealed later in the book’s coda.

Again this chapter displays Meaney’s ability to draw you into a scenario in which it doesn’t matter whether you know the station or the characters or not.

There’s a backdrop of characters from Jimmy Savile and Irish chart topper Dickie Rock, Brush Shiels and even TV anchorman Pat Kenny, before he finds himself working in a retreat house run by Jesuits, which sound no different from any other haphazard organization: “I would have one Brother telling me that I should bake cakes for the library and someone else telling me not to bother.”

By the mid 80′s he’s back into the music, while helping a band called Eye To Eye, and gets them a booking at the esteemed Baggot Inn, before they fell apart. The usual reasons for this are perhaps something he should have made a mental note of for future reference.

After the death of his hero Phil Lynott  (he’s equally moved years later by the death of Rory Gallagher), he moves to West London and throws himself into a live music scene, which some 20 odd years later has all but disappeared.

There’s a humorous recall of passing ships in the night, such as long forgotten bands such as The Chalk Garden (who he tries to manage) and the more high profile Belouis Some.

Thereafter, I must declare an interest, as our paths crossed both a co-promoters and editors of the now defunct Real Music magazine.

Yet more names float in and out of his life, from actress Kate O’Mara and ZZ Top (in a priceless anecdote), to Pickettywitch’s Polly Brown, Dana Gillespie, Rolf Harris, Max Clifford (don’t ask), and later actress Anita Dobson and Brian May.

His high hopes for a new promising band he manages called The Mustard Seeds are dashed by an unforgiving volatile music scene.

The musical backdrop of bands at the time is startling, from Gary Moore, Ry Cooder and Walter Trout, to Roy Harper, Man, Albert Collins and an early tribute band Limehouse Lizzy who he also briefly manages.

He becomes a journalist on the Irish World and sets up the high profile ‘Irish World Awards’. From this point onwards, he plunges into the Anglo Irish music and arts scene, which leads to a significant meeting with comedian/actor Brendan O’Carroll.

As if inspired by his literary surroundings, he publishes books on notable Irish figures such as Liam MacCarthy and Sam Maguire, as well as a self help book on panic attacks.

There’s a highly evocative chapter called ‘Music & Hurling Come Together’ which is a great example of the way his passion shines through his writing. Even the most hard bitten cynic would find it hard not to be enveloped by his recall of collective energy and optimism of the unlikely confluence of hurling and music.

Then there’s the ongoing business relationship with Phil Lynott’s mum Philomena, which leads to arguably his biggest achievement, the Thin Lizzy reformation in Dublin.

With a stellar line-up featuring  Gary Moore, Brian Downey, Eric Bell, Jonathan Noyce, Scott Gorham and  Brian Robertson, the event drew thousands of people as well as national TV coverage, but almost predictably someone else runs off with the money, though he does manage to recoup some of his costs.

In between times there’s a trip to LA with his new protégés Dizzy Lizzy, which if nothing else proves that that behind all the Hollywood sparkle there’s  usually a bunch of disorganised starving musicians with no real plan.

He returns to being an author, penning a handful of other books including one of his own song and lyrics called ‘Mea Culpa’ – But Life Goes On’.

It’s released on his 60th birthday at an event attended by Philomena Lynnott. You suspect that her presence squares the circle for our hero who really wants to do no more than help his musical heroes.

Throughout it all, Sean Meaney retains his optimism, passion and devotion to music. It’s ironic then that his only regret is the fact he made his living outside of music, the very thing that led him to such a colourful life.

A damn good read! ****

Review by Pete Feenstra


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Album review: JOE SATRIANI – What Happens Next

Joe Satriani - What Happens Next

Sony Music [Release date 12.01.18] Satch’s energy and work output seem to have no chance of exhaustion.  He releases fairly regular albums, always including a smattering of greatness, and making his peers sometimes seem lazy. That continuing zest for performance … Continue reading

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Gig review: THEA GILMORE – Telford’s Warehouse, Chester, 12 December 2017

THEA GILMORE - Telford

No, the GRTR! Christmas Party was not being held in a phone booth this year, but my fellow scribe Pete Whalley and I instead felt the glow of Thea Gilmore’s traditional gathering at a favourite venue in Chester. In a … Continue reading

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Album review: TREVOR SEWELL – Calling Nashville

TREVOR SEWELL – Calling Nashville

Self release [Release date 25.07.17] Singer songwriter Trevor Sewell knows the value of anchoring a song in a deep groove and with a layered sound to showcase his own gruff voice. He’s a British singer songwriter who hails from the … Continue reading

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DVD review: BLACK SABBATH – The End

BLACK SABBATH – The End (DVD)

Win a copy!! (Closes 17.12.17) Eagle Rock [Release date 17.11.17] Black Sabbath’s Birmingham show in early February was billed as the band’s last ever. It has been captured here for posterity, as was always going to be the case. Whether … Continue reading

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Quick plays: PRIMAL FEAR, KRANKSCHAFT

PRIMAL FEAR - Best Of Fear

PRIMAL FEAR Best Of Fear Frontiers [Release date 10.11.17] Primal Fear have been around since 1997 and to celebrate their twentieth year we have a two disc best of. Disc one has four new songs, although one ‘Area 16′ is … Continue reading

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Album review: THE BAD FLOWERS – Starting Gun

THE BAD FLOWERS - Starting Gun

[Release date 16.02.17] The Bad Flowers - Tom Leighton (guitar/vocals), Dale Tonks (bass/vocals) and Karl Selickis (drums) – released a damn fine single ‘Thunder Child’ in September and now unleash their full debut album on the musical world. Tom Leighton sounds … Continue reading

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Gig review: ELECTRIC BOYS – Camden Underworld, London, 4 December 2017

ELECTRIC BOYS - Camden Underworld, London, 4 December 2017

When funk rock and metal was all the rage for a brief period at the turn of the nineties, the Electric Boys rode that zeitgeist very effectively with their debut album ‘Funk’ o’ Metal Carpet Ride’, allied to a striking … Continue reading

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Album review: JON BODEN – Afterglow

Hudson Records [Release date 06.10.17] ‘Afterglow’ follows on from Jon Boden’s 2009 post-apocalyptic concept album ‘Songs From The Floodplain’. Whereas that album was largely rural in its setting, ‘Afterglow’ takes the listener into the chaos of a ruined city’s street carnival, as two star-crossed lovers try to … Continue reading

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Album review: STORM WARNING – Take Cover

STORM WARNING – Take Cover

Self release [Release date 09.04.17] Storm Warning’s ‘Take Cover’ is an object lesson in fine interpretive skills on original arrangements that drip with feel and are framed by an intuitive production. After 3 albums of mostly original material, the band … Continue reading

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Gig review: LIONHEART/AIRRACE- Camden Underworld, London, 2 December 2017

Lionheart - Camden Underworld, London, 2 December 2017

Picture a brief point of time in the early to mid-eighties. With the New Wave of British Heavy Metal running out of steam, many of its more enlightened musicians turned their ears westwards to the more AOR sounds that then … Continue reading

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Gig review: STATUS QUO – Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, 5 December 2017

Status Quo – Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow – 5 December 2017

Almost exactly a year ago I attended a Quo gig at the nearby Hydro which was billed as the ‘Last Night Of The Electrics’ tour. Yet here I am a year on looking at a stage lined with white amps powered up … Continue reading

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Album review: MAGNUM – Lost On The Road To Eternity

MAGNUM - Lost On The Road To Eternity

SPV [Release date 19.01.18] We’ve always said Magnum should be cherished.  Even more so in 2018, and with the arrival of their 20th studio album.  The latest magnum opus also introduces new members Rick Benton (keys) and Lee Morris now … Continue reading

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Upcoming: New releases (CD/DVD) January – March 2018

Joe Satriani - What Happens Next

Compiled by Jason Ritchie January 12th ASKING ALEXANDRIA S/T Summerin Records AUDREY HORNE ‘Blackout’ Napalam Records AVATAR ‘Avatar Country’ BLACK VEIL BRIDES ‘Vale’ CORROSION OF CONFORMITY ‘No Cross No Crown’ Nuclear Blast FLEETWOOD MAC S/T (re-issue of 1975 album with … Continue reading

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Quick plays: TYPHOON, EWAN CRUICKSHANKS, THE HAZEY JANES

TYPHOON Offerings

TYPHOON Offerings [Release date 12.01.18] The PR copy states that ‘If a Fellini film, a Bosch painting and a Rorschach drawing had a collective sound, it would be Typhoon’s new release’. Or in more simpler terms it is an album … Continue reading

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Quick plays: TALK-SHOW, STEVE RAVENSFIELD

TALK-SHOW Permanent Honeymoon

TALK-SHOW Permanent Honeymoon (Wooden Piano Records) The brainchild of Maidstone singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lawrence O’Shea, Talk-Show brings together Gustaff Llunggren (brass, woodwind, strings and lap steel) and Chris Pepper (drums, percussion, programming, electric and bass guitars and syths), overseen by … Continue reading

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Album review: BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE – Medicine Songs

BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE - Medicine Songs

True North Records [Release date 07.11.17] A new album from the now 76 year old Buffy, and guess what?  Yes, lurking there amidst a collection of old, new, and borrowed, (and Blue) material are career defining numbers like ‘Soldier Blue’ … Continue reading

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Album review: DAVE KERZNER – Static

DAVE KERZNER - Static

Recplay [Release date 10.11.17] The second solo album from Miami-based keyboard maestro and co-founder of Sound Of Contact (Kernzer/Simon Collins) is creating something of a stir in prog circles.  Perhaps, of little surprise given the heavyweight guest appearances of Steve … Continue reading

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Album review: SKID ROW – Skid/34 Hours (reissues)

SKID ROW - Skid/34 Hours

BGO [Release date: 21.07.17] 2 on 1 CD “I remember Paris in ‘49” … five words guaranteed to cue the leery lads of the night to grab and clinch their squeezes for that last, up close smooch in the smoke … Continue reading

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Book review: THE MEANEY OF LIFE – Sean Meaney

Sean Meaney - The Meaney Of Life

Cunas Music & Publishing – 329 pages paperback [Publication date: 28.07.2017] ‘The Meaney of Life’ is an autobiographical journey though the life and times of a proud Irishman Sean Meaney. He’s a passionate music fan who rises above what the … Continue reading

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Album review: BLACKMORE’S NIGHT – Winter Carols

BLACKMORE

Minstrel Hall Music [Release date 20.10.17] Ritchie Blackmore’s move from the hard rock of Rainbow and Deep Purple to the renaissance folk of Blackmore’s Night, with his wife Candice, has always been controversial among rock fans, When I reviewed the … Continue reading

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