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Iconic Eye + Daylight Robbery + RKB @ The Station, Cannock – Saturday 25th February

posted 28 Feb 2017, 12:05 by Paul Woodward   [ updated 5 Mar 2017, 06:13 ]

Review by Woody

I’ve only been to The Station once before and as a new venue it’s still establishing itself on the gig circuit and I thought it was a decent enough small capacity venue on that first visit. I’ll always support local venues that support original bands and music and turn a blind eye to some minor faults if there is any. I explored the venue more tonight and I liked the fact the venue didn’t feel as claustrophobic as many small venues can do. Sound wise I was thoroughly impressed, even though we had three bands on, they were all given a top-quality sound something that is essential for melodic bands! So, they definitely have a good sound system in place at the venue and hats off to whoever was on the sound desk! There is a handful of shows coming up at the venue in the coming months that I am now even more excited about!

RKB took to the stage first and I’ve always had a soft spot for these guys, they play a style of music that really resonates with me. I was hit instantly by the fact they came across with a beefier and slightly heavier sound tonight, I know that is something that they have received praise for and while I agree it gives their songs a more impressive punch live, given my personal tastes I was more than happy with their softer pop rock approach. That said though it’s great to hear and see RKB garner some plaudits and win new fans.

Guitarist Paul Hennefer obviously revelled in the more guitar heavy sound they pushed tonight as it allowed him to showcase his guitar skills and his melodic licks in a more impactful way. Their new drummer Paul Medlock has quickly fitted in with the band and he provides a solid back beat, which pushes the bands heavier tone without been overpowering!

Sadly, the band recently parted ways with Keyboardist Emily Hinds, and their new Keyboardist is Luke Dalton – I think they struggled to find another Paul to round off the band! Considering he has only been with the band for a few weeks he did very well and I’m sure he’ll fit in nicely once he’s assimilated fully with the band – but tonight you could tell he was still finding his feet with these songs.

Vocalist Kim Izzard is always awesome, it might be her super power, she always puts on an entertaining and engaging performance, and that’s not as easy as you may think! Kim always seems to put on solid vocal performances as she is very good at controlling her voice and maintaining the melody without cracking. Her voice suits the pop edge of the band, soft tones filled with melody.

I’m quite familiar now with most of RKB’s songs, and the set was delivered precisely and effectively and they couldn’t fail to impress tonight’s crowd. For me one of the stand outs was the highly infectious ‘If You Want It’ which kept popping into my head throughout the night! We also got ‘Destiny’, crowd pleaser ‘So Far Away’, the blunt sing along’s of ‘Holding On’ and ‘One Way To Live’ and the always pleasurable ‘Goals In Life’. If you like AOR and Melodic Rock, it is imperative you give these guys a listen at your soonest convenience!

I’ve seen Daylight Robbery more times than I’ve had hot dinners and I love what these guys do. When they got together their intention was always to be a constant live presence and it was imperative that their songs came across well in that environment. These guys are flawless as a live act, they have honed their stage act and performances to perfection. It’s extremely rare you will hear a bad show from these guys, they have a wealth of experience as a live unit that always shines through.

The clear sound tonight provided them with a perfect starting point for them to deliver their brand of heavy edged melodic rock. They maintained that solid heavy energy while never losing an ounce of melody in Tony Nicholl’s vocals or Mark Carleton’s melodic guitar riffs. The quality sound also meant David Billingham’s Keyboards never got lost in the mix – one of my pet hates! And something that is sadly very common in small venues.

I’ve reviewed these guys so frequently it’s hard not to sound like I’m repeating myself, but if anything, that just highlights what talented musicians and strong live performers these guys are. Tony owns the stage and his presence is always engaging as he delivers powerful vocals and unforgettable melodies. Guitarist Mark always seems to have an understated stage presence but on this small stage he did seem to come to the fore more so than he normally does. He might not be the most energetic performer but he really gets lost in playing and it’s so rare for him to miss a lick or note during his laid back almost relaxed stage presence. Bassist Colin Murdoch and their current drummer (whose name alludes me and I’m sure DR are trying to beat Spinal Tap’s record!) provide a solid backing and with such a reliable backing it must make the rest of the bands life’s a lot easier when performing live. As I’ve said before Keyboardist David Billingham is a fantastic addition to the band, he’s lively and entertaining which isn’t easy with an immobile instrument but his passion for the music and performing live shines through and adds to the energy of the band.

Set list wise we get all their heavy hitters like ‘Samarah Never Sleeps’, ‘Red Lights’, ‘Hungry Years’, ‘Reunite’ and the prog edged ‘Paradise Is Lost’. What I love about DR though is they know how to build the atmosphere up so when they came to a close their set they have you totally hooked in and singing loudly along. Starting with ‘Shame On You’ which has a killer guitar riff delivered flawlessly by Carleton and an indelible chorus that Tony delivers with aplomb, then they kick straight into the rock anthem ‘Cross Your Heart’ which is undeniably captivating and involving. Then they close with the pure melodic rock beauty of ‘While You Were Sleeping’ which is quite simply one the greatest genre songs ever written – it would have made them superstars in 1988!

Daylight Robbery always deliver the goods, if you’re yet to see them you really need to have a word with yourself and get that rectified. They gig regularly so you have no excuses!

As much as I love RKB and Daylight Robbery, tonight belonged to a rejuvenated and strengthened Iconic Eye who took the show to the next level. They have recently brought in a new vocalist in Jane Gillard and Guitarist Rob Mitchard and what these guys have brought to the band has elevated the band dramatically. Prior to tonight, I just though Iconic Eye were ok a nice enough band with one or two cool songs, but nothing to get excited about. My opinion has totally changed from this one live performance alone! They have definitely got my attention now!

No offence to Greg Dean the bands principal song writer and Commander in Chief of the Iconic Eye and the established hard hitting rhythm section of Gary Slater and Paul Emery. But Rob and Jane have helped boost a very average band into a seriously exciting and intriguing melodic rock act, many of the songs in tonight’s set had far greater impact on me than before and I enjoyed them when I didn’t previously. I have seen Iconic Eye live before and the improvement in the band is remarkable.

Although he doesn’t have much space to manoeuvre Guitarist Mitchard is full of youthful exuberance and his guitar skills are not just impressive but very exciting and engrossing. He manages to recreate these songs effortlessly but he also manages to pump some life into them giving some licks and riffs some real energy and also manages to captivate rather than allude the crowd’s attention as they have done in the past.

How the hell vocalist Jane Gillard has flown under my radar before now is beyond me – in fact I’m really pissed off about it! Based on the couple of re-recorded songs the band have recently released I knew they had enlisted a good singer, but tonight I was absolutely star struck by her in every possible way! Her stage presence is mesmerising, a totally natural and captivating vocalist. Vocally she’s a total powerhouse, with a fantastic range from soft delicate melodies to booming rock power. On a couple of occasions, I noticed a little bit of Ann Wilson in her vocal inflections but I hate comparing female vocalists to Heart as it feels so lazy! Gillard is a different type of vocalist but she does have that same sort of melodic power that you hear from Heart.

Jane exudes such an upbeat feeling from stage that it is really infectious and you can’t help but find yourself smiling! She’s a great performer who dances around the stage with energy and is extremely entertaining to watch, she engages the audience and draws you into the music effortlessly. I think the thing I liked most about her is her humour, it shone through frequently and that added to the feel-good ambience the band had created and it also humanises her and connects her with the audience, there’s no rock star ego or arrogance, which seems to be favoured by many rock stars!

Jane’s version of ‘Don’t Stop Me From Leaving’ was my highlight of their set, I think this one song alone showcased what an amazing band Iconic Eye can be, highly melodic and emotive. They kicked off the show with ‘Now That I’ve Found Love’ which is a great song to draw an audience in and capture the rooms attention. We also got ‘All She Needed’, ‘Better Place’, ‘Let It Rain’ and ‘I Can’t Feel It’. We also got a couple of cover’s with ‘In A Broken Dream’ which is a really hard song to do vocally but Jane managed to deliver it really well and they finished it with Jefferson Starship’s ‘Jane’.

Iconic Eye gave us a thoroughly entertaining set, which excited the audience and created a really positive and lively atmosphere. They have definitely made a new fan in me, I know they had a lot of established fans in the house which obviously helped boost the friendly atmosphere, but those who weren’t familiar will definitely be just as impressed as me! It’ll be interesting to hear how Iconic Eye continue to progress with their new band members, because they have the potential to be a pretty kick ass melodic rock band!
This was a charity event organised by 'Rockers Through The Ages' for Epilepsy Awareness, they raised over £800 on the night for their selected charities.