Review by Woody
This is my first and definitely not my last trip to catch an Emma Scott Presents show. Its a great set up for giving bands a chance to perform on a decent stage and hopefully to a decent sized crowd, I do have to tip my hat to Emma’s efforts which highlight and give live opportunities to Midlands’ bands! Keep up the good work Emma, the Midlands’ rock community appreciates it!
First up tonight is Dark Forest who are a straight ahead N.W.O.B.H.M band. Within two songs I realised very quickly that these guys are huge Iron Maiden fans - in the way they play, the singer even sings in a Bruce Dickinson style and also in the denim and mullet image the band sports. Even if you caught the band in passing you could be forgiven for thinking you’d stumbled on an Iron Maiden tribute band as that is the band Dark Forest most made me think of. The guys are good at what they do, as musicians they’d got performing their own songs down to a fine art and if you like N.W.O.B.H.M in its original unadulterated form, these guys will have you flicking your mullet around with your arm raised in a devil horn salute. If that’s your bag you best make sure there is room on your denim jacket for a Dark Forest patch! A solid set included “Green Knight” & “The Pipes Of Pan”.
Trigger were the only band I knew on tonight’s bill, a recent melodic rock discovery of mine and I was really looking forward to their performance after a jaw dropping revelatory appearance at my local boozer! Unfortunately tonight the sound mix the band received took away a lot of their songs’ power, and wasn’t the best showcase of their talents nor highly melodic tunes. Matt’s keyboards were inaudible, which annoyed me no end, Dan’s vocals were also very low in the mix and sometimes Sally’s backing vocals overpowered rather than complimented Dan’s voice. The only part of the sound I was happy with was Chris Hingley’s guitar sound, and the crystal clear playing highlighted this guy’s impressive playing, from the hook filled riffs to intricate solos.
Despite my issues with sound the band did come out and try and give 100%, doing their best to put on entertaining rock n roll show, unfortunately the sound guy let them down badly tonight. I think my highlight of the show was probably the Bon Jovi- esque “Alone Tonight”, but I also enjoyed the opener “Erased” & “Born To Fly”. The bands’ ode to X-factor “Synthetic Celebrity” fell most obviously to the poor sound mix tonight, a song which really grabbed me a week ago with its various hooks - which is a shame as this song is REALLY good. I definitely recommend checking this band out, even if you weren’t impressed tonight! I know I’ll be seeing these again very soon.
Charlie Can’t Surf have a stripped down bare bones sound, which puts me in mind of Reef and The Black Crowes. The band really impressed me with their songs, which had some great swagger and their lead singer had a really smooth and impressive voice. The band perhaps doesn’t have much stage presence and maybe this is something that will come in time, but the quality of their music is what impressed me and many around me. The band even got a “NOOOOO” when they announced this would be their last gig, which was quickly followed by a cheer as the singer announced last gig with the current line-up as they are adding an extra guitarist to the mix! The band went down extremely well, and I was far more impressed with these guys than I originally thought I would be, a nice surprise. Amongst the band’s songs were “Beer”, the rather impressive “Catch Me” & the bands final song “Encore”.
Many of the bands suffered from a bad sound mix tonight, but I felt the sound for TWS was near perfect, until drummer Stu Adams shouts across the room to have his mike turned up ‘cause he’s having to shout his head off! I found the band highly entertaining with their exuberant, energetic, modern classic rock songs, I have been converted! Now where are the guys playing next? I didn’t catch many song titles but amongst their set were “Meaning Of Life” & “Nothing To Hide”.