Graham Bonnet

The Slade Rooms Wolverhampton 12th February 2016.

There are many great artists whose contribution to the great halls of rock and roll has left a lasting impression and tonight the Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton, plays host to one very such person and that person being none other than Graham Bonnet.

Setting this evenings event off in fine form were Vicious Nature, whose current line up comprises of Andy Pyke – Vocals, Andy Southwell – Guitar, Mark Culley – Bass and Jon “JB’’ Brown on Drums. Swathed within the cool blue of The Slade Rooms stage lights, Vicious Nature’s set was rock hard with a collection of audience favourites including ‘Salvation’, ‘System Of Disorder’ and ‘Fight For Your Life’. A busy year lies ahead for the band so do make sure you keep an eye on their Facebook page to keep up to date with all their latest news!

Andy Pyke and Andy Southwell - Vicious Nature

Our second band of the night and main support throughout the tour were Evyltyde, who hail from the London area. Encapsulating the many great qualities of a lead singer, Hannah Delany has a voice and personality to match, which grabs your attention and holds fast and I for one, am certainly a new found fan after seeing their set tonight.

Hannah Delany - Evyltyde

Their eleven song set was a great introduction to Evyltyde’s style of classic metal, with the track ’Killer’ taken from their self titled album, being a highlight for me with it’s blistering guitar riffs courtesy of Mr Danny Merton.

Danny Merton - Evyltyde

With the time fast approaching for Graham Bonnet and band to take to the stage, conversations overheard from within The Slade Rooms audience ranged from debates over which song was his greatest achievement to what songs tonight’s set list might contain which in my opinion, clearly showed the level of appreciation that was roaming freely tonight.

And to the sound of loud cheers and applause the time soon came for the stories to unfold and the music to play and what a great journey through the tracks of time it was!

Graham Bonnet

Tonight’s set contained a hearty selection of tracks born out of Graham’s time with Rainbow, Alcatrazz and The Marbles and included ‘Eyes Of The World’, ‘Will You Be Home Tonight’ and ‘Only One Woman’ – and of course no set could possibly be complete without the timeless anthem ‘All Night Long’ .

Graham Bonnet and Conrado Pesinato

Full credit has to be given to Graham for his vocals tonight which were simply a pleasure to behold and praise must also be given to his band, whose performance this evening was first class.

Mark Zonder - Graham Bonnet Band

But as much as there was plenty to reflect and reminisce upon tonight whilst in the company of Graham Bonnet, there is yet another chapter still to be written this year with a brand new studio album heading our way, an authorised and illustrated biography about to be published and an April 2016 tour of Australia and New Zealand also on the horizon – so here‘s looking forward to all the new songs and stories still yet to come.

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.

Hils Ovation

The O2 Academy2 Birmingham 30th January 2016.

You know you’re in for a good gig when the line up warrants an upgrade to a larger hall, so I’m full of anticipation for what our five band listed for tonight, are all about to deliver.

There are several things that I greatly admire about a Hils Ovation night but the two main aspects for me, are that they give the audience the opportunity to discover new music, aswell as providing up and coming bands with the chance to perform at venues frequently played by bands who are a significant influence in the current music scene.

And with four bands on tonight’s listing who for me, tick the category of new discoveries, Without Grace were the first of those four to take to the stage tonight. Describing themselves as heavy rock, this four piece from Birmingham comprise of Dan Jones (Vocals), Chris Jones (Guitar), Jamz West (Bass) and TJ Weston (Drums). Initial impressions were that stage nerves held these guys back but by the end of their second song, those nerves had vanished and Without Grace stepped up to the plate and gave us a set they should be proud of. The only disappointment for me had absolutely nothing to do with the bands ability but was down to the overly zealous smoke machine that masked TJ Weston from clear sight for most of the set and to do that to a drummer of TJ’s calibre, is damn near bordering upon a criminal offence!

Chris Jones - Without Grace

Our second band for tonight were the Rugby based band Wounded Cross and looking back at their Facebook page, it’s great to see how the launch of their EP ‘Bonecrusher’ and the recent addition of Rob Barnett on guitar is having such a positive influence on them – as these guys were clearly very happy to be up on stage tonight. Tonight’s set from the band gave us the chance to hear a good selection of their songs but I have to admit to being more that just a bit curious as to where their current evolution will take them, as old school Doom metal introduced to the new influence of a folk singer/songwriter is a pretty unique prospect and one that I am very much looking forward to hearing!

Graham Pax - Wounded Cross

With drummer Michael Brush undertaking drumming duties elsewhere on tour, Celestial Wish’s set was tonight performed as a three piece and comprised of Saneeta Ram – Frontwoman, Daniel Carpenter – Lead Guitar/ Orchestral Composer and Fraser Banks – Bass. In my opinion, symphonic metal always seems to command a very grand and majestic presence and the beautiful voice of Saneeta Ram captured those elements of splendour perfectly and was an absolute pleasure to the ears. Celestial Wish are definitely a band that deserve to be seen and heard, so do give their Facebook page a like and keep your eyes open for future dates – I think you will be quite impressed!

Saneeta Ram - Celestial Wish

Our fourth and final support band of the night were Engraved Disillusion and according to the info on their Facebook page, these guys hail from the Taunton area of Somerset. My geography isn’t what it should be but it’s good enough to know that these guys had come a fair old distance to play for us tonight – so much respect going out to them for that. The bands set tonight was an excellent excursion into the depths of metal whilst travelling quite a melodic route and most ably aided by the powerful vocals of lead singer Matthew Mead. It was great to see the audience’s response to the band and I very much suspect that Engraved Disillusion made their journey back home with a few new Birmingham ‘likes’ added to their Facebook page!

Matthew Mead - Engraved Disillusion

Over the years, it’s been a great privilege to watch the progress of Awake By Design and to see them grow into an entity of precision built metal that is well and truly standing the test of time. The current line up of the band comprises of Dave Favill – Bass Guitar, Luke Hatton – Lead/Rhythm and Acoustic Guitars, Janson Sissons – Keyboards/Piano, Chris Wilkinson – Drums and Adrian Powell on vocals.

Janson Sissons - Awake By Design

Tonight’s set contained several tracks from last year’s album release ‘Carve The Sun’ including the spectacular track and firm favourite of mine, ‘Falling On Me’, which never fails to give Adrian Powell the chance to deliver some rather outstanding vocals. I really enjoyed Awake By Design’s set tonight and with new songs in the writing aswell, I very much hope that this means we will be seeing and hearing a lot more from the band this year!

Adrian Powell - Awake By Design.

Tonight’s trip to the O2 Academy2 was a good night all round and one that I suspect the bands enjoyed equally as much as the audience did.

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.

Evil Scarecrow

The Slade Rooms Wolves 29th January 2016.

In this day and age, day to day existence can be pretty tough going at times and based upon my musical experiences, one of the best forms of therapy out there has to be an Evil Scarecrow gig. With support tonight being most ably provided by DECIMATE and Slaughter Horse, there was a triple treat ahead for all us West Midland metal aficionados!

First band to take to the stage this evening were DECIMATE and I could not imagine a more apt metal name for this band as their style and performance throughout the entirety of their set was crushing to the near point of perfection. With front man Matt Harrison making his commanding stage presence felt, DECIMATE were addictive to watch and more than deservedly earned the praise that they received from the Slade Rooms’ audience.

Ivan Mornington - Decimate

Our next band of the night were Slaughter Horse and no-one could be blamed for taking a sharp intake of breath in the presence of these guys, as seeing and hearing them really is an experience. Swathed in their own unique aura of fluorescent madness, Slaughter Horse gave us an all consuming set which included tracks from their recent EP ‘Plague Carriers’, with the title track being a particular highlight for me.

Jim Chilton - Slaughter Horse

Another Slaughter Horse highlight for me was seeing the memento of the audiences reaction and appreciation for the band grow – both during and after their set and I very much believe that this is a sign of the great things yet to come for this band.

Rob Greenfield - Slaughter Horse

Words never quite manage to capture exactly what it feels like to be in the company of Evil Scarecrow, as their artistry and originality sits firmly in a unique little universe all of its own – and a pretty lively little universe it was tonight!

Kraven Morrdeth - Evil Scarecrow

The bands set was a glorious carnival of many a tune that Evil Scarecrow are known and much loved for, with ‘The Book Of Doom‘ and ‘Robotron’ visibly shaking the dust off The Slade Rooms chandelier.

Monty Blitzfist - Evil Scarecrow

And let’s not forget ‘Crabulon’ – as if anyone could, with this being the highlight of the night for me as man and crustacean truly were one!

Dr Rabid Hell - Evil Scarecrow

Tonight’s gig was the kind of gig that I simply didn’t want to end as it was an absolute tonic at see the inner child or robot of so many, unleashed and running free within the confines of The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton.

I really hope we don’t have to wait too long before we get to see these three great bands back up on stage again as this evenings excursion into the depths of metal was a prime example of live music at it’s very very best!

Review and Photography by Sue Wardle.