Ipswich isn’t a regular touring stop, especially for rock acts, so it’s a nice treat to get this three band bill in town. There is certainly an opportunity for growth in this area for live music and hopefully the Corn Exchange in Ipswich can pick up some more shows like this.
Opening the evening are Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons, who work hard to get the early attendees warmed up. Consummate professionals the band are slick and tight, the proverbial well-oiled machine if you will!
New singer Joel Peters seems to have fit in very well with the Campbell clan and handles material from their first two albums extremely well. The best crowd reactions may be reserved for Motörhead classics ‘Born to Raise Hell’ and ‘Ace of Spades’, but the highlights tonight are the likes of ‘Freak Show’ and ‘Dark Days’. With two quality albums already under their belts, it’ll be interesting to see what the band has up their sleeves next.
Our second act is Michael Monroe, who has undoubtedly influenced many over the course of his career and who the fans in attendance welcome warmly. Monroe though is an act that has passed me by over the years and tonight it’s hard to see what the fuss is about as he calamitously stalks the stage like a rock n’ roll Jar Jar Binks!
A health and safety nightmare waiting to happen Monroe manages to get stuck in a scarf, hit himself in the head with his mic, spill drink over the stage and causes many band, audience and crew members to duck for cover with his various escapades.
During all of this there is some classic rock by numbers played by a competent collection of musicians but the cartoon caricature strutting the stage proves more of a distraction then a centrepiece. Again, though there are those in the audience that lap up the performance, so Monroe must be doing something right! A niche act perhaps, and whilst not mine, many others would be (and were) delighted by this performance.
BLACK STAR RIDERS
Finally, it’s time for our headliners Black Star Riders who are celebrating both the past and the future with their set tonight. First, there is their fantastic new album, ‘Wrong Side of Paradise’ and arrival of new guitarist Sam Wood. Then, there is the small matter of their 10th Anniversary and return for this tour of original members Scott Gorham and Jimmy DeGrasso.
The first portion of the show focuses on the new with main man Ricky Warwick leading Wood, DeGrasso and bassist Robbie Crane through the likes of ‘Pay Dirt’, ‘Better Than Saturday Night’, ‘Riding Out the Storm’ and ‘Wrong Side of Paradise’. This early selection showcases the future of the band and confirms that there is still plenty in the tank. Wood fits the mould and helps to breathe new life into the group.
Soon enough though the iconic Scott Gorham strides across the stage to take position for the next hour or so of celebration. Seeing Gorham and Warwick side by side again is a treat and it’s nice that the band throw in a couple of Thin Lizzy numbers in a nod to the roots of the band.
Throughout the set though you are reminded just how good of a back catalogue that Black Star Riders have amassed in the last ten years. ‘All Hell Breaks Loose’, ‘The Killer Instinct’, ‘Before the War’, ‘Testify or Say Goodbye’, ‘Kingdom of the Lost’ and ‘Bound For Glory’ all sound huge tonight as Warwick and co prove that they were right to believe in themselves and the new music they could create together when faced with such criticism a decade ago.
Closing the evening with Lizzy classic ‘Jailbreak’ and Black Star Riders favourite ‘Finest Hour’, the rock fans of Ipswich are sent into the mild evening having witnessed one of the most consistently good bands of the past decade at their finest. The past decade has been sublime and thankfully the next decade looks just as good!
As we bang our heads in Donington Park, we welcome you to the latest edition of our weekly music News Report. We therefore start with some rocking tour announcements.
Up first is the news that Black Star Riders will be touring the UK in February to celebrate their 10th Anniversary. A special throwback line-up will include Scott Gorham and Jimmy DeGrasso.
Frontman Ricky Warwick had the following to say, “Can you believe 2023 is 10 years of Black Star Riders … How time flies while you are having fun! We decided to do something special to commemorate this occasion. For the UK tour only, to co-incide with the album’s release, we will be bringing back the legendary Scott Gorham (guitar) and Jimmy DeGrasso (drums) for the dates to make them extra special!”
The BSR news doesn’t end there however, as the band will also be releasing a new album, ‘Wrong Side of Paradise’ on January 20th.
The first single, ‘Better Than Saturday Night’ was shared this week and you can check the video out below.
Warwick shares, ““Better Than Saturday Night” is a feel-good, uplifting tune about staying strong in the face of adversity, being true to yourself, and the power of positivity. I wrote it for my kids, but subliminally I think I also wrote it for myself and everyone for those days when we need to find a little bit of extra strength.”
He continues: “We wanted to reflect the positivity, power, attitude and strength to endure sentiment in the lyrics of the song. And no better way to do that than Black Star Riders rockin’ out with the Los Angeles Roller Derby Dolls.”
About the album Ricky adds “I am very proud of this record, Black Star Riders fifth release and the first with our new and exciting relationship with Earache Records. As with all BSR albums, ‘Wrong Side Of Paradise’ is an anthemic statement of intent, driven by ferocious guitars and thundering drums. I can only write about my own personal experiences, my families, my friends and how I see a world that is unraveling and changing faster than we can comprehend. That being said, I’m a firm believer in the power of positivity, something that echoes throughout this album”
Scots The View will be returning for their first show in more than five years. The band will play Glasgow this December.
Kyle Falconer says, “It’s an honour to still be able to play our songs to audiences who love them. The View are probably in the best position they have ever been to play live. Taking some time to refocus has given us all the drive and the hunger to release more hits and blow everyone away again. It’s gonna happen so we hope you’re ready. We are!”
We turn to PIXIES now as our News Report continues. This week the band debuted a new track, ‘There’s A Moon On’, which you can listen to above.
The track will feature on a new album, ‘Doggerel’, which is out on September 30th.
Guitarist Joey Santiago says, “This time around we have grown. We no longer have under two-minute songs. We have little breaks, more conventional arrangements but still our twists in there.”
Vocalist/guitaristBlack Francis adds, “We’re trying to do things that are very big and bold and orchestrated. The punky stuff, I really like playing it but you just cannot artificially create that shit. There’s another way to do this, there’s other things we can do with this extra special energy that we’re encountering.”
There was also new music this week from The Blue Stones. The band shared their new single, ‘Don’t Miss’, which you can check out above.
Discussing the single, the duo noted, “We wanted every listener to feel just as confident as we did while recording this song, and give them a theme to revel in their own accomplishments with. This song is the smirk you give to anyone who thinks you aren’t worth the hype.”
Asylums this week shared their latest single, ‘Scatterbrain’, which you can listen to above.
The single will feature on new album, ‘Signs of Life’, which is due for release on October 14th.
Producer Dave Eringa on ‘Signs Of Life’:
“When Luke said he wanted to do an album at Rockfield in 8 days – all played live & to integrate big strings into their sound – it sounded so ridiculous I thought “let’s do this”! Only a band that can really play can do this kind of recording. No clicks, no tricks – all live off the floor, a few judicious overdubs, some amazing string arrangements from musical polymath Henry & a bizarre interruption from Countryfile – it was a pretty intense week and I couldn’t be prouder of them for what they achieved! They’ve really taken themselves to the next level!”
Tyneside’s Pit Pony have shared new single ‘Sinking’ – taken from debut album ‘World To Me’ out 1st July 2022.
“There’s a lot more layers and textures to this than most on the album and it was a welcomed contrast and learning curve as it’s not something we’d really done some much with previous tracks.”, says singer Jackie Purver. “We have a lot to thank Chris MacManus and his production for with this one. The doubled 60s girl group style vocals in particular were his idea, and it’s something we all instantly loved being such big fans of that genre and its sound.”
She adds, “I think that on the surface this is influenced in its imagery by the fact I’m from a coastal town (South Shields) and have always been by the river so the whole album has a theme running through it with water (see what I did there?). I think when all we were allowed to do was go on walks we spent a lot of time walking our beautiful North East coast and that seeped into the writing.”
Neversaid – ‘BRAVE’
London Alternative outfit Neversaid have unleashed their brand-new heart-hitting single ‘BRAVE’ to the world.
“Brave is about social anxiety. It’s about feeling completely alone and isolated, and feeling like everyone around you is out to get you. Neversaid is all about self – expression. Every Neversaid song is an explosion of emotion, be it anger, frustration, hope, anxiety or depression.” – Logan Samuel (Lead Singer)
Fitzroy Holt – ‘Medicine’
Fitzroy Holt has released a new single, ‘Medicine’, as he begins a new deal with This Feeling Records.
Fitzroy says, “‘Medicine’ is a love song with all the good bits and all the sometimes not so good bits. It’s about that special someone or something that makes your day brighter by just being there.”