Crobot, Wolf Jaw, Blind Haze & Electric Rebels at Rebellion: Live Review
Words: Anne Estella | Photos: Paul Nash (RebelRock Photography)
On 23rd July, several questions that I’d never previously pondered were answered for me. Questions such as, “What would I look like if I were a man?” and “what would a band formed by Lemmy and Slash look and sound like? I’ll share the answers with you in due course…
It was a historic Tuesday in the UK – one of the hottest days of the year and the day a new resident picked up the keys to No. 10 Downing Street. Almost as newsworthy however, was the fact that US dirty groove rockers Crobot had returned to our shores and stopped off at Manchester’s Rebellion to rock out with Wolf Jaw, Blind Haze and local bad lads, Electric Rebels.
This was Electric Rebels’ last show with vocalist Neil Priddey at the helm and the five-piece, balls-out Classic Rock outfit launched into a ruthless ‘70s-influenced rock ‘n’ roll onslaught that caught everybody’s attention from the get-go. There was some stellar shredding from axeman Steve Warburton and strident drumming by tub-thumper Matt Bates, as the band delved into a set that included all the songs from their EP ‘Heaven Tonight’.
Electric Rebels got the party started with a feel-good vibe, playing authentic, no-nonsense Hard Rock as it was intended. Jubilation swept through the room as partygoers sang along - Rebellion’s excellent air-conditioning system keeping us all nice and cool as the temperature on stage soared. If you’re a Rock singer looking for an exciting new yet traditional band to join, I’d advise you to get in touch with these guys ASAP, because based on what I’ve seen from them, they have the musicianship and the talent to firmly establish themselves on the UK’s vibrant NWOCR scene.
Electric Rebels are:
Neil Priddey – Vocals
Steve Warburton (aka Dude) – Guitar
Frank Sengers – Guitar
Sam Routledge – Bass
Matt Bates - Drums
Blind Haze were up next and they were, for me, the biggest surprise of the night – a very pleasant surprise, I hasten to add. The Leeds-based trio sounded like they had double their number of members, as they roared into action with enough force and power to rattle the foundations.
Conan, the band’s bass-wielding vocalist, is a mighty sight… standing tall in an open-necked sleeveless shirt, flares and snakeskin shoes, he bore more than a passing resemblance to Lemmy, and the similarity to Motorhead was clearly evident in the music too. Meanwhile, riff wizard Nicky Jefferson rocked an effortlessly cool look that emulated the top-hatted Guitar God himself, and ably led by his kickass licks, the band played a squeaky-tight, well-polished set, which made an indelible impression on the growing crowd.
Ironically obscured by an electric-blue haze, photography was difficult to say the least, but nothing could disguise the fierceness and brutal energy of Blind Haze’s performance and they absolutely knocked it out of the park, looking and sounding like they were having a blast and owning the stage! I fully recommend checking them out seeing them live if you get the chance. You won’t be disappointed, I promise.
Blind Haze are:
Conan – Vocals / Bass
Nicky Jefferson - Guitar
Ben Bowers - Drums
The next power trio to grace the stage were Wolf Jaw. With a change in name came a change in image - for frontman Tom Leighton at least, who had chopped off his golden locks since I last saw him and done away with the trademark hat, making himself look at least ten years younger and almost unrecognizable as the singer of what was The Bad Flowers.
Those familiar with the band’s stunning 2018 debut album ‘Starting Gun’ won’t be surprised to hear that their set began with opener Thunder Child and ended with closer, City Lights – two of the band’s most popular songs - and for very good reason. Embracing a grittier sound adorned by killer riffage, The Cannock Three gave us a taste of their new single Hear Me, lifted from their forthcoming album, due for release this Autumn.
I Lose My Mind was another new track to get an airing and the super-talented threesome, who impressed the masses at this year’s Download Festival, are steadily going from strength to strength with their heavier direction. I look forward to their next release with great anticipation and urge you to check them out if you haven’t already done so!
Wolf Jaw are:
Tom Leighton – Guitar / Vocals
Dale Tonks – Bass / Vocals
Karl Selickis - Drums
When a band describe their interests as “Greyhounds, Leafhounds, Boozehounds, and Groovehounds”, you get the distinct feeling that they’re going to put on a fun live show, and as the four-piece Crobot exploded onto the stage, they immediately sprung into action with spunky, harmonica-toting frontman Brandon Yeagley seizing full control of the lively situation. This diminutive Duracell Bunny had shaggy waist-length hair and wore shiny black leggings that I’m sure I’ve seen hanging in my wardrobe… Yeagley was me - with a beard! Scary!! Anyhow…
While others were sweating buckets, the amiable mainman simply oozed charisma and good humour, throwing shapes that I last saw executed with such fervour in an aerobics class! He delighted the crowd, not only with his supremely powerful vocals, but with his endearing quirks - deftly swinging the mic stand out towards the centre of the audience, while those standing at the side of the stage flinched as a high velocity guitar occasionally sliced through the dense air in their direction.
It was a raucous show in which even the slow songs proved to be ear shattering foot stompers. After briefly dancing like a chicken, Yeagley hollered, “We got some funky shit for you, you alright with that?” to which an enthusiastic crowd indicated its approval before being treated to some seriously ass-shaking funk by the Pennsylvania quartet. The theme tune from Ghosbusters came as a bit of a surprise, although I’ve heard a couple of other bands play it live in recent months, so it seems to be doing the rounds at the moment.
Crobot included a selection of songs from their forthcoming new album, ‘Motherbrain’, which is scheduled for release on 23rd August, and put on an incendiary, full-tilt performance that literally left everyone panting for more. Just goes to show it’s not only the UK that’s enjoying an explosion of Rock awesomeness right now – apparently the Americans are at it too!
Brandon Yeagley – Lead Vocals / Harmonica
Chris Bishop – Guitar / Vocals
Eddie Collins – Bass
Dan Ryan - Drums