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Daylight Robbery + Skin & Bone + Shyne @ Lucy's Bar, Hednesford (24/5/13)

posted 18 Jun 2013, 12:59 by Paul Woodward
Review by Woody

So I’m back at Lucy’s again for a quality trio of bands which promises to be a great night of rock! Would I be seeing a line-up like this in the West Midlands if it wasn’t for Lucy’s? Probably not. So it’s a real shame tonight’s show didn’t lure a few more in to witness it. I have developed a soft spot for the venue which has given me the unique opportunity to see my first Dante Fox headline show even though I’ve been following the Fox since 1995 as well as an impromptu headline show from young British AOR-sters Serpentine.

Lucy’s supports not just original music but also original Midlands acts too and this has to be applauded in an era where the good money is with tribute acts. The top notch sound system, decent stage space, friendly staff, a sound man who actually knows what he is doing and makes every band sound like they are playing Wolvo Civic! Add to that the owners are genuine music fans and not out to make a quick buck shoving the circuit tribute acts down our throats and actively supporting and promoting original bands! Here’s hoping the fans get behind this wonderful venue and keep music LIVE!

Hitting the stage first is Wolverhampton based hair metal rockers Shyne! I have managed to catch these guys live on a couple of occasions with growing admiration for their music, but tonight is the first time with new drummer Dez Wooton (The New Saints) and bass man Adam Mason. Sadly I wasn’t as impressed tonight, it’s hard to put my finger on exactly went wrong, but the crunch of it was the songs didn’t jump out at me and slap me about the way they have done in the past. Vocalist Toni Gale was his usual eccentric self and bantered with ease in between songs, but the bands performance as a whole didn’t seem as electric and exciting as I’d seen at The Slade Rooms not long ago.

Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed their set, but I was expecting more because I know they are more than capable of it! One of the great things about these guys is they embrace a sound they enjoy and bring it back to us! Fair enough they aren’t re-inventing the wheel but openly admit they are not trying too, they enjoy the sound of the LA strip in the late eighties and there are many who want to rock out like it’s 1987 with the guys too, so kudos to the guys for their honesty and passion!

Given Toni’s vocal style it’s no surprise that their cover of Ratt’s ‘You’re In Love’ is the track that shows the bands talents off at their best! Other than that ‘If I Could’ was probably their best moment of the evening, we also got ‘On Fire’, ‘Can’t Sleep’, ‘You Want It’, ‘Who Are You’ (or as Toni tongue in cheek correctly calls its ‘oo am ya’ for us Black Country folk) and set closer ‘Girl I Can’t Have’.

Skin & Bone features three former members of a band I was a big supporter of prior to their split a few years ago, Tara’s Secret. Johnny (I like Pointing) Trowbridge (Vocals), Richie Beardsley (Guitars) Simon Perkins (Drums) are joined by Bass man Scott Clarke to round off the line-up of their new musical venture. Having spoken to Johnny about Skin & Bone on a few occasions I knew to expect something different from them, heavier, more aggressive with a more modern rock sound. So my fluffy AOR ass wasn’t sure whether I was going to dig these guys or not, it’ll all depended on just how different they are!

I was genuinely surprised by the Skin & Bone songs, I had thought I would be comparing them to the old TS songs more, but the style of the band is dramatically different. Yes, there is echoes of TS in a couple of songs mainly due to Johnny’s vocals and Richie’s guitar playing style, but it really felt like a brand new band in front of me. I wouldn’t say their sound is too modern, but they are definitely more of classic rock band now, with Chicken Foot been a good comparison, although I would say Skin & Bone are a lot heavier though.

It feels like the writing partnership between Johnny and Ritchie has really matured and is less restrained as the songs seem to be freer flowing. Not every song was a winner, but when they hit the right spot they really hit HARD! The set as a whole was really entertaining and the energy I was missing earlier was brought to the stage in bucket loads from the opening chord to the final one! Johnny’s easy tongue in cheek banter helps the flow of the set and keep’s you interested and whilst he doesn’t pogo round the stage he is a very visual front man oh and he likes to point! Richie always deep in concentration always relish’s a chance to move his guitar round for dramatic effect.

I think one of the most notable things about these guys is they bloody love playing live, as a smile is never far from any of their faces and they are constantly exchanging smirks as they play about with the songs especially as excerpts of ‘Still Of The Night’ kept popping up in random places! The sound of the band may be more intense but they still want to have fun and it makes for an enjoyable set! I have to say the Lucy’s sound guy did a fantastic job for these guys as many of these songs were brand new to me and I wanted to hear them in their best possible light and he did that for them!

The opened their set with an impressive trio of tunes that really woke you up and grabbed your attention. Opener ‘Let It Rain’ is a heavy rocker with a powerful chorus and a Dokken style guitar riff which I think was a good choice for opener. I think the guys have been tinkering about with ‘Revenge Mile’ which I have heard before and enjoyed, but tonight the guitar riff seemed less straight ahead and had more of a low slung groove too it and the chorus seemed more bluesy – if they have been tinkering the changes have improved the song! ‘Lost Souls’ was a real WOW moment, energetic and exciting with a killer chorus I’m sure this will be many people’s favourites when they get the debut album recorded and released!

The next few songs weren’t as explosive but still great slabs of groove lead heavy classic rock, ‘Better Day’s’, ‘Walking Shoes’, ‘The Healer’ and ‘Burn The Blue Sky’. The only song I didn’t really get was ‘Fallen From Grace’ it’s a moody ballad piece but it just didn’t hit the spot with me!

The band broke out the big guns for the last three songs, with easily my favourite song of the night ‘She Loves Me’ and given the songs commercial edge and strong melodic overtones I’d be shocked if Johnny and Ritchie hadn’t already guessed this track was going to having me exposing my O face on the unfortunate souls in Lucy’s! Next was the beautiful, really stunning and different ‘The Exceptional Child’ which Johnny really threw himself into and gave his most passionate and intense performance of the evening! They finished things off with an apt cover of Chickenfoot’s ‘Sexy Little Thing’ which the guys seemed to have a whale of a time playing!

I was really impressed by the songs and the performance tonight by Skin & Bone and if I’m honest a lot more than I was expecting too! I’ll definitely be first in line to see these guys live in future!

Daylight Robbery are probably one of the tightest live bands I’ve ever seen, consistently strong performers, with off nights an extreme rarity. Tonight marks their last show using a backing track of Keyboards before new key’s man David Billingham joins the band live later in the year. ‘Backing Tapes’ or Click tracks as the pro’s call them are extremely controversial and can have an adverse effect of how a band is perceived. Personally may take is less harsh, anyone who knows me knows I love AOR and melodic rock a form of music that is notoriously deep and layered musically with lots going on, so I don’t mind bands using ‘samples’ and ‘effects’ to complete their sound. For example if I went to see Def Leppard and they weren’t using backing tracks I’d be at the box office quicker than you can say ‘Fanny Fart’ spitting venom and demanding my money back! Of course if any of the musicians are lip syncing or not playing their instruments that’s a totally different matter and would be very disappointing! Personally I’m glad these guys chose to use a backing track with Keyboards as it is part of their sound and I’m glad they gave us the full monty rather than trying to make do without the key’s!

Much like Skin & Bone, Daylight Robbery opens their set with a bang and finish on a high but have a mid set lull. It’s a very enjoyable set from the guys who perform like they do this every night with a cool and confident stage presence many larger bands severely lack. Tony’s years of experience with various bands and tributes have served him well and it has made him a consistently strong vocalist,  this strength makes the band stand out as he really does make other vocalists look well, a bit shit! He really showed his experience whilst choking on dry ice mid-set and still managing to keep it together! One of the things I love about Daylight Robbery is they create music which has strong melodies and fits into the melodic rock genre with ease but with a much heavier stance than I’m used to without going too heavy and becoming metal, which is refreshing for me as it gives me something that I enjoy but with a different taste to it!

When I first saw the band live, what seems a lifetime ago now I remember thinking that from a performance perspective it was very much the Tony Nicholl show, but with every show Tony’s band mates have improved their stage presence making it feel less of a one man show. Bass man Colin Murdoch has a cool and confident swagger and definitely fills the stage, Drummer Ben was buried in concentration having to deal with the click track something I’m sure he’s glad to be rid of now! Guitarist Mark Carleton is fast becoming one of my favourite players and his stage presence has improved a lot allowing him to be more animated on stage without dropping too many clangers....well except for that one-time and Mark’s reaction was funny as hell! They truly are a great live band that I could see time after time and enjoy every single time!

They open with ‘Cross Your Heart’ which has become a constant opener as it really lets the audience know what to expect and really shows the band off at their best. Initially I wasn’t a fan of ‘Shame On You’, but at recent shows it has become the song I’ve enjoyed the most and one I was very much looking forward to again tonight. Mark Carleton’s riff to this is beyond infectious and I’ve had it stuck in my head for weeks, so couple that with a real rebel yell fist-pumping chorus and your onto a winner, I hope this song stays a regular in their sets in future! Staying on top of their game with new track ‘Running Out Of Time’ which see’s the band edge into more melodic territory but still with a heavy edge to it, definitely one of my favourites amongst the new songs they have played in recent times.

The energy of the songs for me does dip a bit now, still enjoyable and performed flawlessly, but just not as on fire! So we get a new one in the form of ‘Fallen Star’ not sure on this one yet, might need to hear it a few times for it to hit followed by ‘Reunite’, ‘Perfect Storm’, ‘Real Love Is The Answer’, and ‘Crossing The Great Divide’.

The take it up a gear to finish the set with an exciting flourish of their more commercial edged songs, the increasingly addictive ‘Samarah Never Sleeps’ which is sure to be a popular song for them on their upcoming second album. They finish with my favourite song from their debut album ‘While You Were Sleeping’ which see’s the band in fine melodic form but never missing that killer heavier edge to drive the songs home!

It was great to see Daylight Robbery perform a headline show especially at such a great venue like Lucy’s which gives bands such a great sound! It’s also nice that the band were keen to offer a value for money line-up and spend the time to assemble it! They plan to spend the summer song writing and easing the new keyboardist into the band, but I’m like, when’s the next gig, when, where, I’m There!