Graham Bonnet Band with Gin Annie And Doomsday Outlaw at Rebellion: Live Review
Words: Anne Estella / Anthony Firmin | Photos: Anthony Firmin
Considering it is only 7:20pm on a Tuesday evening, Rebellion is filling up fast and those who are making the effort to arrive early will be thankful for doing so when Gin Annie explode onto the stage. The melodic hard rock five-piece from Wolverhampton play songs from their debut 2017 EP New Bad Habit, opening with the record’s hard-hitting title track, following it with the EP’s edgy second song, All I Want. The band, which formed five years ago and have since had a change in lineup, take to the stage like they own it, with the dynamism, finesse and confidence of a seasoned headliner. The outstanding, super catchy single Fallin’ is very well received and a lively stompathon is now well under way, with enthusiastic audience participation adding to the band’s already huge sound.
The band display great chemistry partnered with adroit musicianship and it is clear that Gin Annie are making many new fans in the crowd. The latest single, Chains, which has a Country-esque riff running through it, showcases some excellent drumming and goes down a storm. The entire band, fronted by vocalist David Foster, are on fire! Born To Rock n’ Roll was an ideal choice for the finale – everybody is swept up in it’s uplifting energy and rousing chorus. Imposing and exciting to watch, Gin Annie really make their mark tonight. This tight live act hit the ground running with sizzling guitars and a vibrant hard rock sound that will surely see them kick their career to the next level.
On the first date of their UK tour with the legendary Graham Bonnet Band and fresh from an appearance at Bloodstock, Doomsday Outlaw launch into their set with a palpable buzz about them. The five-piece hard rock outfit from deepest Derbyshire recently released their debut album Hard Times and open with the record’s rifftacular second track, Over And Over. Now I don’t know whether it is dancing, prancing, strutting, shaking or wiggling, but whatever it is, consummate bandana-wearing performer Phil Poole does it with style and grace - and his vocals are top notch too! The swaggering, bluesy Spirit That Made Me comes next, followed by the band’s latest single, Bring It On Home, which has the now sizable audience in rapture.
The are firing on all cylinders, ripping into the album’s stunning title track with aplomb. Poole teaches the audience to sing the line “All that I have…”, which we gleefully repeat on command like obedient children, and the last song, Bring You Pain, starts with a stellar guitar intro and concludes to huge cheers amid an unabashed strobe-light extravaganza. The band give a high-octane, groove-fueled performance oozing with class. Doomsday Outlaw are one of the UK’s hottest up and coming bands - they exude talent and have honed their set to guarantee an awesome live performance!
Graham Bonnet has quite some history having played with some of the greatest guitar players in the world, coming to prominence with Ritchie Blackmore and Rainbow back in ’79 with arguably the bands most consistently solid album, Down To Earth. He may have only stayed for one release but the effect was seismic for the band, spawning two major singles, gold albums and success in the USA. So it is no surprise when the Graham Bonnet Band opens with bruising version of All Night Long thus beginning a set that is mostly retrospective.
Visiting his biggest selling solo album, Line-Up, for the single Night Games, produces another cracking performance, but it is the MSG material that works best… Rock You To The Ground and Assault Attack are faultless, but Desert Song is simply sublime.
And it is a fine band he has with him which includes his wife, Beth-Ami Heavenstone, on bass and fellow Alcatrazz’er Jimmy Waldo on keyboards which are sadly barely audible. His new-ish guitarist Kurt James is able to slide effortlessly between playing riffs and solos from Blackmore, Yngwie Malmsteen and Michael Schenker, although his stage presence has definitely more than a nod towards Blackmore.
New solo material is aired with Long Island Tea but Bonnet struggles with the words and it seems a little rough at times. Then there is Alcatrazz, a band that was more successful in Japan and the USA than here, but we are still treated to a plethora of fine tracks from their debut, No Parole from Rock 'n' Roll, namely Island In The Sun, Jet To Jet and Starcarr Lane. I have to admit to being disappointed by the lack of God Blessed Video but you can’t have everything and what they deliver is great.
The band finish with another Rainbow double whammy of Since You’ve Been Gone and Lost In Hollywood, definitely a favourite of mine and one of the best performances of the night. Drummer Mark Benquechea looks relieved when it is over – it is hot in the audience so it must be stifling on that stage.
It is remarkable how Bonnet’s voice has manages to hold up and he is 71 this year although doesn’t act it, more spritely than many half his age. He is back in Manchester on 11th November as part of the Michael Schenker Fest at the Academy – another show not to be missed!