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Hils Ovation Presents

A Born Disaster/ Theia/ Four Floors Of Whores/ Balls Deep and Face Of A Stranger.

The Slade Rooms Wolverhampton 8th November 2013.

November is proving to be one of the most promising months of my gigging year so far. With so many mammoth gigs lined up and all boasting an amazing wealth of up and coming bands from across the Midlands, tonight’s Hils Ovation gig fits that bill completely with a line up to be proud of.

Getting tonight’s line up off to a flying start were local metalists, A Born Disaster and as a band, these guys sit so far away from what their name suggests – it’s untrue! With a sound built from an alloy of fiercesome riffs and expressive vocals that are embodied upon a resonant core of bass and drums, these guys sure have a great thing going for them. Highlight of the set for me and for many others there to hear it, was their version of the Power Rangers anthem and I have to admit, I loved it!

David Woodhouse - A Born Disaster

Moving us on from one bunch of super hero’s to another, were the mighty Theia. Having been a recent music224 Band Of The Week, I was already pretty much addicted to the new single ‘We’re Alive’, but seeing them live went almost beyond believing as these guys have more rock and boulder than an avalanche! With so much energy and charisma on stage, plus a fantastic compilation of songs, I see a very bright future for this band, so people take note of their name and next time you see it on a gig poster, get yourself down there – you won’t regret it!

TJ Weston - Theia

Our third band for tonight were Four Floors Of Whores and for those connoisseurs of metal who like their music intense and played with a velocity that will ricochet off the walls, ceiling and just about every other place it touches, then these guys are the band for you. Four Floors Of Whores are still less than a year old in creation, not that that was evident from tonight’s performance as their set was incessantly tight and savage in it’s execution, so here’s hoping the next twelve months serves them just as well, as I suspect there is still a lot more to come from this band!

Carl Marshall and Lee Doughty - Four Floors Of Whores

I’d already heard many good things about our penultimate band Balls Deep, but seeing them really is believing as I was to discover! With a song catalogue that buries itself deep within a valley of caustic metal, Rich Beresford on vocals spits out fire and brimstone in his every note, whilst Roy ‘Swampi’ Beetham on bass gives new meaning to the word psychotic! Not a band for the faint hearted or those of a nervous disposition but definitely a must go see for the rest of the world!

Rich Beresford - Balls Deep

And so came the time for Face Of A Stranger to take to the stage. Tonight’s gig had real meaning for the band as it marked their first headlining slot and one quick look back from the photo pit across The Slade Rooms, confirmed that there were a fair few people here tonight eager to show their support for the band and to share in a piece of the memory aswell.

Joe Lewis - Face Of A Stranger

With a set list of nine songs richly steeped in rock melodies and emotive vocals, and including the gloriously addictive ‘Shutting Me Down’, Face The Stranger made a few new friends tonight and as the last note faded away, the look on their faces clearly said that this had been a gig that they will be wearing with pride for a long time to come.

Mitch Jones - Face Of A Stranger

Once again, Hils Ovation and The Slade Rooms have been the perfect hosts to a great night of bands from across the Midlands and with music this good, you really couldn’t ask for much more!

Words and Photography by Sue Wardle.

The Boomtown Rats

The Boomtown Rats at the O2 Academy,Birmingham, 6th November 2013.
With support from Patrik Fitzgerald.

 

Boomtown Rats

 

Irish punk rockers The Boomtown Rats had a string of hits in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s but have not been seen together since their final show in Dublin in May 1986. In 2008 original members Simon Crowe (drums) and Garry Roberts (guitar) partly re-formed the Rats and resurrected the Rat sound with Gerry Cott (guitar) and Johnnie Fingers (keyboards) joining in on occasion. Thus the catalyst was set for a reunited band line-up that Rat fans have been longing for, which eventually materialised this year. Twenty seven years has been a long time waiting for the Rats to get back together with Bob Geldof at the helm, would it be as good as hoped?? Hell yeah!!

 

Boomtown Rats

 

None of the youthful swagger of Sir Bob Geldof has been lost. Sir Bob, who is famously remembered for being one of the main organizers of the 1980’s Ethiopian relief efforts, Band Aid and Live Aid, brought the faux-snakeskin suit out of retirement and together with original Rat members Garry Roberts, Pete Briquette and Simon Crowe, cranked up the energy to put in a show that was truly fantastic. Although the audience in Birmingham mostly consisted of long time fans, the angry disaffected punk message was still there to be appreciated by both young and old. As Sir Bob pointed out, their hit ‘Banana Republic’ still carried the message of political corruption in their native Ireland that is as relevant today as it was when released in 1980. The screaming saxophone intro to ‘Rat Trap’ and the spine-tingling piano start to ‘I Don’t Like Mondays’ still sounded as fresh as ever. In between songs Sir Bob entertained us with tales from back in the day. Overall Sir Bob and co. gave a great performance and led a mighty nostalgic trip down punk memory lane that was one hell of a ride even without Johnny Fingers and his famous stripy pyjamas. Just looking around for the mainstream bands of today that are sounding off on a political message…. mmm…difficult one that.

Boomtown Rats

 

Boomtown Rats

 

Patrick Fitzgerald

 

Singer-songwriter Patrik Fitzgerald began recording and performing during the punk rock movement in 1977 and soon developed his unique folk-punk style at his solo acoustic gigs. On stage tonight he started off singing to an electronic backing tape, later switching to an acoustic guitar. Words full of tragedy, comedy, cynicism, realism, bitterness and just occasionally hope filled the set but were seemingly lost in the background noise of the vast Academy. There was no better example of his ambivalent punk DIY attitude when announcing one track off his new CD stating ‘This is off the new CD, but I haven’t got any with me’ thus showing he isn’t too bothered with commerciality. Patrik Fitzgerald is not a household name, but to his loyal followers he is a punk icon and just as important and as inspirational as other more memorable members of the genre.

Patrick Fitzgerald

 

See the full picture sets here:

 Boomtown Rats

Patrik Fitzgerald

Words and pictures by Stephen Turner

Skid Row and Ugly Kid Joe

Skid Row and Ugly Kid Joe co-headline gig

at the Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton, 2nd November 2013.

With support from Dead City Ruins.

 

Skid Row

 

First up tonight were a new name to many, Dead City Ruins. The Aussie rockers quickly got the party started with their no-nonsense, back to basics classic rock style. Lead singer Jake Wiffen was certainly a charismatic, confident front man, full of in yer face vocals. Not to be left out, guitarists Tommy Teabag and Sean Blanchard, bassist Micky Quee and drummer Andy set about their jobs delivering hard-hitting riffs and bluesy classic rock in equal amounts. With the amps cranked up and choreographed headbanging, the bands energy flowed easily from song to song, with the early doors crowd quickly reacting with an appreciative enthusiasm. A truly great start to the night!

 

Ugly Kid Joe crashed on stage to a rapturous applause. It’s been nearly twenty years since Ugly Kid Joe became part of a misspent youth but they do not seem to have lost any of that youthful energy. Having seen a resurgence in recent years with festival dates and bigger tours, Ugly Kid Joe are as funked up and rocking out as better as ever. Vocalist Whitfield Crane displays boundless energy as he and the band stormed through the anthems ‘Cats In The Cradle’ and ‘Everything About You’ and also throwed into the set a brilliant cover of the legendary Motorhead song ‘Ace of Spades’. Ugly Kid Joe are a band that don’t take themselves too seriously but at the same time excel at what they do. It’s a good combination to have as they put on a great show which leaves you with a smile on your face and a little nostalgic tingle in the heart.

 

Skid Row need no introduction. They are firmly part of rock royalty and without them the excesses of 80’s hair metal would have been a mere blip on the radar. I don’t want to get embroiled in the politics that can sometimes surround the band, but lead singer Johnny Solinger did an outstanding job on the vocals and proved to me just what a great presence he is. After all, he has fronted Skid Row for over fourteen years now so I think that says it all. Skid Row opened their set with a new found, youthful energy as they kicked into ‘Let’s Go’ from their latest EP ‘United World Rebellion Chapter 1’. The classics ‘18 & Life’, ‘Monkey Business’, ‘Slave To The Grind’ and ‘Youth Gone Wild’ all featured truly facemelting guitar work from Dave Sabo and Scotti Hill together with a thumping bassline from Rachel Bolan and drummer Rob Hammersmith just shining behind the kit. Skid Row are not a band that are past their prime with tonight’s live performance proving that they are a band that is far from finished. If Skid Row can continue put on great shows like this, then they will surely continue to be a very relevant and fresh band to both old and new fans around the world.

 

Skid Row

 

Skid Row

 

Skid Row

 

Ugly Kid Joe

 

Ugly Kid Joe

 

Dead City Ruins

 

Dead City Ruins

 

See the full picture sets here:

Skid Row

Ugly Kid Joe

Dead City Ruins

Words and pictures by Stephen Turner.