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Electus + Wakedown + Crows and Crosses + Michael Pritchard @ The Robin, Bilston, Wolverhampton – 5th July 2017

posted 10 Aug 2017, 15:50 by Paul Woodward

Review by Woody

So, I’m back at the Robin for another night of local rock talent hosted and headlined by Electus. First up tonight is Michael Pritchard who performs a one man and his guitar show with a backing track to add extra depth. Initially I was a little put off, with the backing track – although I know this style of performance is popular in small pub venues. I can’t say I was blown away by the songs but I was mightily impressed with Pritchard’s powerful, gritty rock vocal. I’d be intrigued to hear him perform with a full band obviously this would allow more fluidity to his performance and obviously he wouldn’t have to worry about the backing track. Pritchard has a good stage presence and sense of humour and was quite self-deprecating, so as a performer he came across really well. His guitar shredding skills are not to be scoffed at either and he had an old school hard rock metal vibe to his style which appealed to my own personal tastes. I hope next time I catch Pritchard live it is with a full band backing him!

Crows and Crosses are a no-nonsense beer drenched rock n roll band from the same blues based hard rock school as Black Stone Cherry. I’ve seen these guys before and was mightily impressed, I’m surprised they haven’t caused more of a stir than they already have as the style they play is insanely popular at the moment. They have the songs to make a dent to and their beer soaked groove driven attitude will be really appreciated and enjoyed by fans of this style of rock. As performers they own the stage, confident and they deliver their songs with old school rock n roll aplomb. A good time band, who are best enjoyed with a beer in hand. Amongst their set we got ‘One More For The Road’ (I wonder what that songs about?) ‘Drive Me Crazy’ and ‘Long Lonely Road’. A solid bunch of musicians who deliver the rock goods live, check them out and be prepared to rock out or at least feel the need to get a wee bit drunk!

Local Alternative rockers Wakedown played their debut live show right here at the Robin last year supporting Electus. At that time, I was positive about their performance but underwhelmed by their music, blaming it on my own personal music tastes. With that in mind I’m sure you can understand I wasn’t overly excited about seeing them again so my expectations were - well I didn’t have any! Their set tonight though blew me away though – I was stunned by just how much the band turned my opinion of their songs and music around tonight. Sonically they were bang on, they sounded slicker and their brand of Alt rock was far more appealing and the songs really hooked me in and I really enjoyed them. It’s amazing how one good performance can dramatically change your opinion on a song. The band as performers are far more confident on stage and they are definitely more comfortable with each as a live unit, so practice and gigs – no matter how small – really do pay off when evolving and growing a band. Vocalist Carl Thomason was noticeably more confident on stage and this showed in his powerful and impressive vocal performance which really drove the songs home and imbedded them in my memory. Definitely a band to keep an eye out for if you like Nineties inspired Alt rock. Their set list included ‘Walking Alone’, ‘Til She Sleeps’ which really hooked me during this performance, ‘One Last Goodbye’, the epic ‘Jericho’ and ‘What Lies Beneath’.

Electus are a solid live band and you always know you’re going to get an enjoyable rambunctious set from them. Tonight, was no different even though the band were debuting new guitarist Gareth Daker and Scott Dallow on bass, so that’s testament to the skills of these guys to get straight into the swing of the Electus machine.

Electus have a very unique unrestrained approach to Hard Rock and their alternative edges add an edge to them that makes them stand out in the musical crowd – and it’s not just frontman Russell Peake’s stage make-up and headdress! This uniqueness always makes them pleasurable to hear live – there’s nothing worse than hearing bands plod over seemingly the same old song so bands who show this bravery to be a little bit different need to be embraced and applauded. Even if that means they don’t have mass appeal!

The band had a stronger more defined hard rock edge tonight I felt, this came strongest from Daker’s and Dallow’s approach and personal style. This for me made the band seem less off kilter, more driven and dare I say it commercial. Daker’s guitar riffs were bigger, bolder and far less jangly and alt rock than previously and Dallow’s beat was punchy and bound, less sporadic than I’d become used to. Personally, this draws me more to the band as it makes them far more accessible, it will be intriguing to see if this influences Peake’s future song writing!

Although Electus are the headline act and have two full albums under their belt they don’t out stay their welcome onstage. They play a similar length set as the other acts tonight and are content to keep the energy high through keeping their set concise and delivering an enjoyable rock show within the confines of a short set. Always enjoyable and I’m already looking forward to their next show!