RAVENEYE / SKAM / VOODOO BLOOD THE DEAF INSTITUTE
Words: Anne Estella | Photos: Anthony Firmin
Kim Jennett, The Voodoo Woman, sure knows how to make an entrance. And on 25th January she made one hell of an appearance at Manchester’s historic The Deaf Institute, supporting RavenEye with SKAM for the fourth show of their current 15-date UK tour.
Manchester based Voodoo Blood opened the night with an enchanting performance. Their heavy twist on blues, (described as ‘Blues on Steroids’) swept through the room like a hurricane the moment their bewitching frontwoman stepped into view. This striking creature, who’s been compared to the likes of Joan Jett, Siouxsie Sioux and Lzzy Hale, didn’t just own the stage – she reigned supreme over the entire room, leaving everybody captivated.
The Voodoo Woman’s unique soaring rock vocals, screaming growls and incredible range, together with a mesmerizing stage presence, ensured that all eyes were firmly fixed upon her for the entirety of her performance. The stage was too small to accommodate her feisty, dramatic presentation and she seemed like a bird determined to escape its tiny cage. And escape she did. The bar in this intimate venue soon became an extension of her platform, as Kim crawled and prowled along it before dancing her way back through the crowd. The Voodoo Woman exudes an aura of confidence and raw energy, leaving nobody in any doubt that she is a force of nature who must be seen live to be truly appreciated.
Voodoo Blood’s set included Jet Black, Dirt, I Go To Bed When The Sun Comes Up, Mean and the brand new track, Brain. The set ended with a cover of Led Zeppelin’s How Many More Times, but the highlight for me was 2017 single Groove Medicine, which showcased Kim’s vocal talents to the max.
Sean Owens was spectacular on guitar. Will Lewis on drums and Chris Norris on bass were also on top form and there was great interaction and chemistry between Kim and her band-mates. However, they didn’t dare try to steal any of her limelight… I seriously doubt anyone could.
Leicester’s finest, hard rock trio SKAM were next to take the stage.
With the recent release of new single, The Iron Cross, from their highly acclaimed album The Amazing Memoirs of Geoffrey Goddard (T.A.M.O.G.G.), SKAM played an equal mix of songs from that release and previous material. Dressed in a dark blue RAF blouson jacket - a nod to the new album’s story-arc about a fictional time-travelling Spitfire pilot – the formidable frontman then broke into the exceptional Between The Eyes.
No Lies from their 2011 album It’s Come To This received a tremendous cheer from the crowd with another song, the extremely catchy Take It Or Leave It, also going down particularly well with crowd participation. The final song of the set morphed into an unexpected but superb rendition of Black Sabbath’s War Pigs. It was a watertight performance played with conviction, with Matt’s wonderfully expressive bass playing and Neal’s dynamic drumming not going unnoticed.
2017 was an incredible year for SKAM. T.A.M.O.G.G., their first new music in three years, took the No.1 spot in Down The Front Media’s albums of 2017 and came 13th in Planet Rock Radio’s albums of 2017. With an ever-increasing fan-base, SKAM are set to reach new heights in 2018, and deservedly so.
And then it was time for RavenEye…
The Milton Keynes-based power-rock trio comprising multi-award winning guitarist/singer Oli Brown, bassist Aaron Spiers and drummer Adam Breeze, graced the stage and immediately beckoned the crowd forwards, asking “are you ready to rock n’ roll?” before exploding into Come With Me from their stunning 2016 debut album, Nova.
Delighted, the flock of fans (known as ‘Ravens’), were pulled right in from the start. Oli responded to their enthusiasm: “We always say Manchester’s the best and you’ve already proved that!”
Adam (affectionately described by Oli as “our resident madman”) had the crowd singing along to his torrent of pounding drumbeats before leading into the popular Hey Hey Yeah. The high-octane set mellowed slightly with a slow and heartfelt intro to Supernova, whilst Madeline and Out Of The Rain received a fantastic response.
Introducing the next song, the singer said: “This is about getting away from all the bulls**t and people getting you down – It’s called Breaking Out.” Ironically the song was abruptly cut short due to a scuffle that had ‘broken out’ in the audience. Oli calmly diffused the situation and the song then resumed with even greater energy and purpose, becoming a joyous anthem.
The three super-talented instrumentalists then picked up a guitar each and played a beautiful acoustic number together.
There was some impressive acrobatics too… Each member of the band spent at least some of the set playing whilst ‘perched’ on the bass drum. At one point, Oli leapt up from the stage and onto the balcony railing. From there he climbed, in a Spiderman-like fashion, onto the ceiling, before dropping into the waiting arms of the fans below, who obligingly helped him crowd-surf back onto the stage. What a crazy, crazy night!
This was one incendiary, rocktacular party that has set the bar ridiculously high for other gigs this year. If you get a chance to see any of these kickass bands take my advice and go. You’re in for a real treat.
Voodoo Blood will be appearing at Manchester’s awesome SOS Festival from 13th-15th July.