With Support From Blues Pills.
Queens Hall Nuneaton 16th November 2013.
I’ve known about tonight’s gig and the four dates that Scorpion Child were doing in the UK for some time, thanks to the regular updates via Nuclear Blast. The excitement for this band is starting to snowball and supporting the quintet from Texas tonight were Blues/soul rockers, Blues Pills, all the way from Sweden. Orchid, who’d also supported these two in Europe, didn’t come across to the UK this time which was a real shame as I’ve also heard great things about them, but just to have these two phenomenal bands on UK soil was a real joy!
Driving past Queens Hall is a regular thing with me, as the venue is tucked away in a corner of the high street and if you’re not paying attention you miss it. Knowing I’d driven too far, I made a U-turn and got to the venue with 5mins to spare, which gave me the opportunity to sit in and listen to Mark ‘Tosh’ Davies’ interview with Scorpion Child. Unfortunately I wasn’t conducting an interview this time, but I did get chance to speak with Shaun Diettrick Avants (Bass) aka the tour manager, about British beer, various other bands and his band in general.
With the venue started to fill, also in attendance were some of the biggest names in the media world. It would seem that Nuclear Blast are signing a select group of bands that are emulating a certain genre, so make sure you also check out “The Vintage Caravan & Orchid” as they sound very similar to tonight’s bands!
Admittedly, the crowd wasn’t bursting at the seems tonight but for all those in attendance, it was a great opportunity to enjoy what could only be described as an intimate show. I wasn’t complaining as having no pit at this venue, it gave me more freedom to move about!
First up then, were the relatively young band “Blues Pills” currently from Sweden, but I believe some members are from other countries also. The first thing that strikes you is the powerful, gritty and yet quite beautiful vocals (and looks) from Elin Larsson, which are a cross between Janis Joplin and Christina Aguilera, that serves in fact to be very unique. Elin also shacks and bashes her tambourine and when she’s not looking quite scary as she belts out tracks like “Devil Man”, she does in fact manage to make eye contact with the crowd long enough to share an intimate smile or three.
Both Cory Berry (Drums) and Zack Anderson (Bass) seemed a little camera shy, opting out of any attention and content only with getting on with what they do best, play their instruments. This left people to stand in ore, myself included, of both Elin on vocals and Dorian Sorriaux on guitar (as he played his guitar, it gently weeped!) Sporting a festive woolly jumper, his guitar playing is mesmerising and as I watched, his hands seems to float like a butterfly, but what was produced stung like a sharp thing! With masses of concentration, he does come across as a very cool customer. There’s no disputing this lot have got soul, but they ain’t no soldier!
I think it’s fair to say that given the ingredients of Janis Joplin on vocals and Eric Clapton on guitar (Hypothetically speaking), these guys are bringing the 60’s bang up to date, kicking and screaming, as they do and my god, it sounds good! Definitely check out their EP “Devil Man” which currently can be purchased from their website, but it’s still available on 10″ vinyl via Nuclear Blast’s website for £11.47 which makes a great collector’s item or Christmas present (hint, hint to the Mrs) or if you’re a tight arse like me, then you can download the new EP from iTunes for £2.49, bargain, and I can clearly see the price! ;) Safe travels to them, as they now go off to wow Australia, good luck guys, knock um for 6!
Set list may of looked like this… 1.Bliss 2. 2.Dig In 3.Devil Man 4.Little Sun 5.Astralplane 6.Black Smoke.
As Scorpion Child took to the stage, their presence had an immediate impact. Some have described this bands live performance in parts, as a jamming session, but have people forgotten those bands from the 70’s, like Sabbath, Zeppelin, Priest and UFO, with their 7, 8 or 9 minute long epics? Let’s get one thing straight – these guys are real musicians, applying their craft of music and are not a pop act that conforms to the mass produced drivel that we hear in the charts today.
Coined as the new, new, NEW wave of British heavy metal, like Blues Pills before them, they are reviving a genre that’s been neglected for a while, Scorpion Child are putting their own spin on a sound that’s much loved by many. Unfortunately, we are now at a point that any new band can be likened to another, but these guys sound fresh and exciting.
Not to sound too contradicting, I couldn’t help but liken lead singer Aryn to Robert Plant, not only vocally but in his persona on stage also. Sporting a Budgie T-shirt, from a tour way back in 1972, you sensed the music they’re creating is heavily influence by those bands that I’ve just mentioned. Clearly enjoying himself on stage, he danced about, treating us to some fine pirouettes, as well as flicking out the mic stand towards the crowd, catching the chord (just in time) and pulling it back towards him, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen to the folks directly in front of him, if he hadn’t caught the chord in time? lol
Tom, on rhythm guitar is a real showman and played up to the many cameras that were flying about taking pictures. We know the guitar poses are for our benefit aswell as the audiences entertainment, so thank you for that, we really do appreciate a good axe shot!
Shawn was all smiles on the drums, until a clutch or a spring went in his kick peddle. Thankfully, that got resolved quickly and didn’t ruin the show. The PA system at Queen’s Hall is fantastic, and coupled with the thumping beats from Shawn, I can safely say our ears were well and truly shot to bits!
Shaun on bass, is actually a guitar player and writes most of the bands music, along with Christopher, on one. Opting to play the bass, as having stated in a recent interview with Rex Brown (Pantera), ‘that there are too many guitar player in the world’, I must say Shaun, your moves are legendary and your face pulling priceless, t’was a pleasure to witness!
Best moment of the night for me was when Aryn, stopping for water between tracks, commented that he’d look a lot cooler if he had a shot of Jagermeister instead. Happy to put this to the test, I made a quick trip to the bar, purchased a shot and with said drink held aloft for Aryn (and hoping he’d not think me a nut job for doing so), one shot was taken, along with a few others of the photographic kind from my tog buddies who were quick to capture the moment on camera, cheers guys! ;)
I won’t take 100% credit for it, but I truly believe the shot, the fun everyone was having, especially those dancing around and singing back every word to the band, even Dorian Sorriaux was stood at the front enjoying Scorpion Child’s set, helped to give us an encore which was apparently, the first one the band had done on this current tour! The one track encore was a bootleg of a new song they are working on, so don’t expect the finished result to sound anything like the video I captured, if released?
I’d like to say a big thank you for signing my vinyl LP tonight and I hope the rest of the tour is a success and you all get home safely for Christmas.
Set List looked something like this: 1. Kings Highway 2. Polygon of Eyes 3. The Secret Spot 4. Liquor 5. Salvation Slave 6. Keep Goin’ 7. She Sings I Kill – (Encore) Unknown*
Words and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)