Planet Rock Roadstars @ The Ruby Lounge
Words and photos: Anthony Firmin
With last years Planet Rock Roadstars event being a stellar affair I have high hopes for this one with two great bands on the billing with rotating the headliner slot on each date of the tour.
This evening’s show at Manchesters excellent Ruby Lounge is opened by Broken Witt Rebels who impress from the get go with their solid southern blues rock and the crowd are fully behind them every single second, singing along. Today is lead guitarist JT’s birthday; with cards thrown on stage and the man himself wearing a birthday rosette it just adds to the party atmosphere.
Like the flames of a funeral pyre – this band are hot and the music is totally on fleek; it is heavy and rocking and yet it has space to breathe. Vocalist Danny Core is on fine form too, his singing soulful and powerful which makes this band something special.
The set burns down like a cigarette but after the trio of Georgia Pines, Gun and Shake Me Down the only things left are the ashes of a job very well done. They leave everyone in no doubt whatsoever that this is a band that is going to be massive.
Bad Touch are under no illusions that they have their work cut out for them following on from their co-headliners. Having seen them a couple of years ago supporting The Answer I knew exactly what they are capable of delivering –classic British rock – and they will rise to the challenge… except tonight, well, it isn’t all there. Matters are not helped by the crowd noticeably thinning out – shame on those who leave early. Also singer Stevie Westwood seemed distracted during much of their set and his vocals often inaudible leading to a sound that was flat at times.
But it wasn’t all gloom – they had their own following who loved them dearly and the rest of the band certainly made up for it, nailing everything. The guitar playing of “Mr neat and tidy”, Harry Slater, is exceptional, seemingly effortless as he mixes style with some dirty licks - he could be the UK’s answer to Joe Bonemassa! For a man under pressure, blinded during much of the set from an unfortunately positioned spotlight, George Drewry’s drumming was faultless.
Adding a couple of covers to their set seems a surprise when playing at this level – Hard To Handle works in their favour but Bad Company’s Feel Like Making Love, although played well, is unnecessary. I know they can be so much better and hopefully next time they will be.
My friend Frenchy summed it up quite succinctly “in three words, BWR were really, really f**king awesome” (she works for a bank and can’t count!).