Three bands, one album launch all in The Asylum. These Wicked Rivers, Those Damn Crows and top of the bill The Bad Flowers. The race is on to hear the music before the Starting Gun is fired and The Asylum has been ripped apart with the rock and roll majesty that is The Bad Flowers.
The running order tonight is These, Those, THE… Starting off with rock that flowed as These Wicked Rivers took to the stage. The four-piece from Derby hit the stage with a hefty, groove that set the scene. With drummer Dan Southall the star reigning from the back with a tight performance. The impressive set with John Hartwell on vocals adding a gruff intensity to every vocal lyric. Jon Hallam’s bass work captured a deep reserve whichever bass of choice. With frets, and without he ensured the bass line zinged with power; leaving the guitar work from Arran Day to pull the four-piece together in a melodic sound pulling on modern influences and capturing the inner steel of rock-blues.
Short change over and the tempo changed as Those Damn Crows stepped up to be heard as the sold-out venue was becoming packed. The band from Bridgend where determined that we would remember the set and that they were here, like These Wicked Rivers, to entertain and party in celebration of The Bad Flowers debut album.
This was not the time for chatter and introductions. It was about the music and the heavy rocking sound left you wanting more despite the fact that we were all waiting for the main act of the night to perform. The five-piece used every inch of the stage including a box for Shane to stand on singing out into the audience full of vim and vigour. Crows were definitely the perfect warm-up act for The Bad Flowers. This is a band with attitude as they opened their account with Don’t Give A Damn. The anthemic track Rock n’ Roll Ain’t Dead had the venue partying on a Saturday night. What an impressive set young bands playing rock n’ roll with gritty determination. This is a band on the dark side of having fun with music as the twin guitars create a wall of sound.
Having written a rave review, broke my own review rules and gave debut album top marks, I was hoping The Bad Flowers would not let me down when playing live at the sold-out album launch gig. Unsurprisingly, the set was dominated by tracks from Starting Gun. We wanted to hear the tracks live and dirty. The venue was hot and packed, an old-fashioned gigging venue where you were up close and personal with the bands. The amount of smoke pouring off the stage at times made the vocals feel as they were coming from a disembodied Tom Leighton and the band members shrouded in coloured fog. This did nothing to distort the good time rock that is the trademark of a trio that plays as if they are a larger band. Tom Leighton with his vocal dexterity that shapes every song is joined by a powerhouse of a rhythm section. Dale Tonks on bass and Karl Selickis on drums creating an incendiary rock that fills the venue with power and glory.
The crowd were responsive. They loved every act so far and now the atmosphere was superb for the trio from Cannock. As they hit the chords of Hurricane. They were building up storm-clouds of rock that cascaded across the venue. Tom is everything a band needs charismatic, with his distinctive sound that sends the lyrics across the venue like a clarion call.
The Flowers have created a bouquet of rock that is a listening experience that delights as we were royally entertained by a young band that has all the credentials to go to the top of the rock tree. The band took us back in time with Run Run, Run from their first E.P. and a thank you to the many fans who have been on this musical journey together. The rock shimmered with blues riffs that ground the band in the past, yet the sound is one-hundred percent of now! They nailed every track leaving nothing to disappoint, a great performance that kicked the numbers into a living breathing rocking shape. Highlights were Thunder Child the first single of the album, City Lights a song we all want to sing along to and Lions Blood. A triumphant triumvirate of numbers. The Bad Flowers play indigo rock that shimmers as the vocals curl around the riffs and chord changes. Tom has something to sing about and he sings loud and clear. Your attention never falters when the trio is on stage.
Now they had planned an encore and the crowds wanted more. BUT the speakers were silent. The band is confused, the audience perplexed. Still, time before curfew and the crowds had been noisy but well behaved. So why were we getting the silent treatment? The sound man had switched of the desk and left the building. Tom thought about it. Jumped off the stage. Got sound back live and we had a cracking double encore. Now were are back in the land of Rock n roll and a celebratory album launch. Living The Dream, tonight the Flowers definitely were and a cracking cover of War Pigs. The sound went up a few decibels as we sang and partied with the band of the moment The Bad Flowers.
Who Needs A Soul
Run Run Run
Be Your Man
I Don’t Believe It
Living The Dream
War Pigs (Black Sabbath cover)