What a show !!!! I’d been looking forward to seeing the Whiskey Syndicate for a while as their music is right up my street… proper dirty rock n’ roll. But to be blown away by the all the bands on the bill of the first Ovation Music Showcase was more than I had bargained for.
Elle Diablo were first up. Having supported bands such as Therapy, InMe and Hardcore Superstar, the Midlands four piece have been developing quite a reputation over the past few months, and it’s easy to see why… these guys rock! Leanne’s superb vocals and great stage presence, TibBo’s very cool guitar work and a solid rhythm section provided by Jimmy and Dale (two different people, not the Carry On actor) all combine to make for a great sounding band with songs that match. ‘A Lie is a Necessity’ and ’Headfirst’ were the highlights of a sensational set. They have a new fan.
As do Hinge. One of the most appealing aspects of the showcase was the four very different ’genres’ of rock music on offer. Whilst Elle Diablo offer a great mix of melody and hard hitting rhythm’s, Hinge are more in the ’alternative’ camp. And I bloody loved there set as well. Whilst not quite as polished a performance as Elle Diablo, Hinge’s riff driven rock really got my attention. Queens of The Stone Age, Foo Fighters, Oasis and White Zombie all came to mind whilst watching them play, with the highlight of the set being a great performance of ‘Ghosts’ (although in truth the whole set really impressed me). A great band, and they win even more brownie points from me as they’re from south Birmingham, and therefore not the dark side…
Heresy followed shortly afterwards and put on a show of very high energy ‘prog metal’. Fronted by the lively Rob Harris (who performed like his life depended on it) and with some fairly jaw dropping guitar work by Tom Cooper, Heresy’s set flew by. If I had to be critical of their set, it would be that they seemed to throw the kitchen sink at every song, which tended to result in each one sounding very similar to the one before. However, having now listened to them online, I think this may have been as much to do with the sound on the night as their recorded work is excellent. Another band to keep an eye on methinks….
And then onto The Whiskey Syndicate. The guys have been reviewed on Midlands Rocks before and possibly a good way of judging their popularity was the fact that a couple of my Midland Rocks colleagues had popped along in their ‘own time’ to see them play. So what can I say that hasn’t been said before. Not a lot I’m afraid. These guys really know how to play… putting on a great show of proper rock n roll. ‘Stick or Twisted’ and ‘ Bare Back Love Rat’ both stood out, before the band tuned down to the ‘Key of Doom’ to blast out some more balls to wall rock genius. Storming covers of ‘Whole Lotta Love’ and ‘20th Century Boy’ drew appreciative cheers from the crowd and a big thumbs up from me. Even Ant (vocals) giving me the finger whilst I was shooting the show (apparently his middle finger has a mind of its own), couldn’t dampen my enthusiasm. Superb show, superb band.
As for the night as a whole, I sincerely hope that this is the first of many Ovation Music Showcase nights. It was great to see four talented, unsigned, local bands in the bill. In these dark days of manufactured ‘crap-factor’ music, it went a long way to reassuring me that rock music isn’t dead and in fact has a great future (as long as Simon Cowell keeps his greasy fingers off it).