Rocking The Globe RavenEye Headlines from Top of the Drum
Rocking The Globe RavenEye Headlines from Top of the Drum with support from SKAM & Dead Shed Jokers. With two acts before Headliners to warm The Globe on a cold Monday in February. Local scuzzy rocking band Dead Shed Jokers always make a statement. Loud and mixing influences from Nick Cave to Black Sabbath via The Doors. Energetic vocalist Hywel Davies keeps the band on track. Though at times tonight the sound drowned the vocals and the rest of the quintet at times seem to be off track with each other. That said as the crowds grew they filled The Globe, Cardiff with a rocking vibe to get Monday night exciting.
Second band on the menu from Leicester a powerful trio SKAM. With a new album that is attracting attention as we are all falling for the Hard Rock concept album The Amazing Memoirs of Geoffrey Goddard. The Globe pumped up for the performance and the entrance by the trio did not disappoint. With Steve Hill upfront on vocals and guitar, and a hard rocking powerhouse of a rhythm section comprising bassist Neal Hill and drummer Matt Gilmore. Every track smashed through the venue with the sound that is glorious traditional hard rock power, with a very charismatic style from Steve up front. Stand out numbers were Between The Eyes from the latest album and from the past Holy City from 2014 album Peacemaker. This was a really up-front no holds barred performance with great timing and knew how to get the live effect from every studio number played. They are definite crowd pleasers as Fading Before The Sun was given the live and proud treatment. We no longer cared it was a Monday and work beckoned tomorrow this is music that you want to play on. With the current single getting lots of Planet Rock airplay we were overjoyed to hear it up close and personal as Take It or Leave It filled the speakers, one thing for certain no one in the audiences was leaving not a fan of SKAM. Closing out a dynamic set with a War Pigs rendition giving the crowd no excuse but to join in an excellent closing medley.
Then to close out marvellous Monday 6th February RavenEye back in Cardiff and we were hot to rock. The venue was packed for RavenEye the excitement rising as Oli Brown and the band always excite with performances that are energetic and full of rocking bounce. Having seen Oli mature from the early days singing the blues into a rocker that captivates the audience’s energy and distils it through his guitar and vocals. This is a trio of extroverts who come alive on stage bouncing off the speakers and bass drum literally during a mesmerising live performance. With Adam Breeze joining the pairing of Oli and Aaron Spiers on bass. This is a trio that is hard-hitting, the music punches you in the solar plexus and then spirals in a chaotic force as the rock courses through your veins. This is exciting live music. Fast, furious with scintillating licks and riffs from Oli’s six-string weapon of choice. Leftover from the days of blues is the ever-present thumb pick giving his guitar a sound that lingers long and hard. The threesome delivers real showmanship, as they use every inch of the venue from the top of the drum speakers and then Oli Brown was given a piggyback ride through the crowds on Aarons’ shoulders. This is not showmanship for effect, not a note is missed the music is never sacrificed for the show. Music is the show. They know how to entertain. And tonight they entertained so Monday becomes the new Saturday night.
RavenEye is no one-trick pony of loud and hard-hitting sound they bend and shape the sound as tracks from Nova show. Opening with Hate this is hard, heavy with a rawness that is the title in music and then towards the end the slower ballad Eternity no bass, no drums vocals and guitars as Aaron’s and Adam’s acoustics join Oli’s electric. Both from Nova the album that set down the parameters of the band.
Now, lead singers often take the mic from the stand. Not many guitarist/singers do. But the Oli likes to mix it up so he does playing the guitar left-handed and spitting the vocals down the mic held in the right. You have to pay attention as relax for a split second and an awesome action will be missed. The music is fast and so are the band members the music and movement changes in a split-second. We were told of the new app between Madeline and Oh My Love. Through the set, we step back in time as we visit the first E.P. Breaking Out, with tracks interspersed through the set including Hey Hey Yeah early in the set to the closing number You Got It. By the end of the night, we certainly Got It we were on a rocking high and once a RavenEye song their strength means they always have a place on the set list. We also heard new music that just fits Oli’s amazing vocals and Turn The Lights Out the penultimate song promises that the new album due later this year is going to be another winner for RavenEye fans. We are already excited that soon there will be new songs to learn. Everyone left The Globe with that Monday feeling dispelled by hard rock that delivered with an energy that is uplifting and revitalizing. Cardiff says come back soon RavenEye.
Delicious Dirty Listenable Rock as RavenEye Creates Nova
This, Nova is the Long Awaited follow-up to their debut EP, Breaking Out. Since its release in May 2015 they have definitely broken out with the latest recording Nova. Back in the studio after touring USA, Europe and UK including Steelhouse Festival and Download. The performances have honed the style, texture and tone of the thumb picking rock guitarist Oli Brown with a rhythm section that kills the beat Aaron Spiers on bass and new drummer Adam Breeze this is a mix that is hot enough to melt the hardest granite, rock that shatters and coalesces around Oli’s vocals.
The rock is fast, hard and furious the studio sound captures the high-energy live performance of Oli, Nova distills the essence of RavenEye, mixing the sound, beats and rhythms into a musical cocktail that is easy on the ear. The studio sound is a result of months of being on the road whether headlining, part of a festival or opening for bands such as Slash, Blues Pills and Halestorm. Wherever they play they attract attention as they are fast becoming the live band you have to see time and time again.
Nova is an eleven track fairground ride of whoops, hard-hitting rock and riffs and licks that break the sonic barrier. The tracks bring dimensions to be explored and uncovered, as you return to listen again you pick up on another tasty morsel of rock that makes Nova a complete item. RavenEye achieves this with blues that grooves deep down in the structure of the music, raw sounds that echo around the room, rock that is full of edgy riffs and vocals that hook on to the tone and delivers a 21st Century super-nova.
Kicking off with an ear capturing riff Wanna Feel You makes a statement Oli Brown wants to be heard loud, hard and rocking out of your speakers. His vocals have a control that determines the licks and hooks that his guitar hangs on to and the rhythm section is a powerhouse for his stunning modern RavenEye Rock.
Nova has a strutting boldness, a confidence in the rock the band produces full of the underlying signature of Oli’s sludgy dirty sleazy blues as he layers on the tonal beating heart of rock it is as hard as granite and shines with glints of blue and veins on interest. Every track has a point of interest the change in beat with a lightning of tone Hero has that instantly recognisable foot tapping rock beat with Gunnar Olsen on drums throughout the album throwing out the sticks so that they hit the skin with a solid determination. Taking over duties behind the drums on tour in future is Adam Breeze who will have the luxury of playing with bassist Aaron Spiers who has fat greasy deep bass lines that pulling the listener deep into the music. The album now is hitting the halfway point and is in a groove you want to stay in and get to know the new album and latest incarnation of the band.
Halfway through and Supernova hits the speakers as ever the growling vocals of Oli interplays with his guitar so that the vocals and guitar work as one incorporated powerful animal of an instrument. It is this interplay that allows there to be a difference in the approach to the tracks yet they are still RavenEye whether the sound is blues, grunge or the distinctive play that is RavenEye. The chugging rock of Madeline drives the vocals and has a maturity of tone that makes this a raucous number that definitely, like the lyrics, reaps what it has sown as Madeline is asked the question. Some of the titles are self-explanatory with the title-determining the lyrics and approach to RavenEye’s rock. Inside internalised with doubt, Hate is what it says on the tin. Then the closing numbers Out of The Rain with the rumbling bass incessant like rain and the yearning gentler vocals that act as a lightening of the rougher moment this is rock that excites. Closing with Eternity a gentler number full of acoustic intricacies delivered by Oli a musician full of confidence at ease with the music he wants to deliver harking back yes, but the true direction is striding forward with music for today’s audiences.
The album’s name NOVA is a perfect reflection of the explosion of recognition that RavenEye has achieved in such a short time. The band is a rock explosion they certainly have suddenly brightened the firmament of the British rock scene and will be shining their Supanova Rock for many years to come.
How does Sunburn and Rust combine for Steelhouse Festival Glory? The glory part is easy two days of phenomenal live music on top of a mountain in Wales. The sunburn and rust that is the vagaries of a Welsh summer, Saturday was scorching hot, whilst on Sunday the misty drizzle dampened the ground but not the spirit of rocking fun.
Saturday 23rd July 2016 – Hot and Sunny Rocking
Opening a festival is a daunting experience. Bigfoot, a young rock band from Wigan, stepped on the stage and left a lasting impression. This is a band with the potential to go places, full of confidence and good songs they were a hit, still remembered as the festival drew to a close on Sunday. Saturday was warming up throughout the day, with each successive band raising the bar ever higher as the temperature, excitement and fun grew. Next up was Dirty Thrills, they definitely thrilled the crowds with rocked up individuality with a thread of blues as bright as the skies overhead. Full of energy on stage they interact with each other and the crowds, the high jinx’s though never deflects from the deep groove-laden music. A great set they will keep building their reputation as rocked-up contemporary excitement from Dirty Thrills.
Centre stage of any festival is the music from the stage, but to get a true festival vibe it is the added extra. After the steep climb up the mountain on a dusty track you are greeted with a vista that spreads across the horizon it is beautiful. The stage dominates the area. In addition there is a wide selection of foods and drinks alcoholic and some delicious coffee. Then there was the lovely jewelry made from guitar strings, leather goods, bandanas (the doodle, Othello, in bluesdoodles is delighted with his new red bandana that is his little bit of The Dead Daisies) and the festival and bands merchandise.
The next two bands show different sides of rock, Vega, with a charismatic lead singer who knew how to flaunt the power of the runway stage they got everyone’s attention with the dramatic entrance, and cartoon backdrop. Once their attention was gained the audience warmed to them this is rock that will always, please. Young dudes that are getting deserved attention are Tax The Heat, and in the heat of the afternoon if they were tax collectors they would have pulled in the money. They do not need to be tax collectors the heat is in the rock they deliver from the strong rhythm section through to Alex Veale up front this is a stylish band with depth and delicious slide guitar from JP. The heat will continue to rise for this young band.
In between the sets the breaks are long enough to catch up with friends, make new acquaintances and deepen the relationship between Steelhouse and festival attendees. This year as the festival develops the campsite area has a new addition, Glamping tents, which proved popular as they were sold out weeks before the festival dates.
The shadows lengthened and the sun cooled as the last four bands of a wonderful opening day got ready to strut their stuff. First of the international bands from Finland, Von Hertzen Brothers, with a spectacular backdrop telling a story of two Ravens in chains against the red background. New Day Rising their current album cover is certainly a powerful image and the music hit the mark with a prog-rock twist and keys that provided a textured background sound. Mikko the vocalist has wonderful phrasing singing gently then with vigour and at times with a roughened edge. They added another layer of rock strata building the Saturday into a perfect festival memory. Following on Blues Pills kept the Scandinavian feel with Swedish/American/French inspired rock and the first woman, Elin Larsson up front burning up the stage with her stunning vocals at Steelhouse. The quartet mix up the flow with a definite sixties feeling as the lead guitar curls around the music redolent of early Fleetwood Mac, Hendrix, Aretha Franklin creating a sound that is their own Blues Pills mesmerizes with an addictive psychedelic rock.
To follow this we had The Answer, celebrating the tenth anniversary of the release of their debut album, Rise. Cormac’s distinctive vocals got the set underway as unusually for a festival they played the album in full. The set was full of emotional command reminding you of how good the album was and still is. In this day and age of streaming and random play the set re-asserted the inherent power and flow of hearing the whole album as the artist planned it. There is context story and drama. The audience participation was enthusiastic on Preachin’ Blues this was quality festival entertainment. Now the final live band of the opening day.
The only threat of bad weather today was always going to be from the stage where a storm of Thunder was being counted down by the phalanx of fans up front they wanted to see every moment of the final set as the day darkened into a summer’s night. Yes, the air temperature was dropping high above Ebbw Vale, the festival was heating up a light display, entrance music and then Thunder hit the stage to the chant of Harry! Harry as the drummer took his seat. Danny Bowes lead from the front building the vocals and the crowd’s excitement. Thunder did not disappoint, hitting the music running with a thunderous set that connected with fans and beyond. The audience sang to the words that tripped off the tongue we were partying the night away creating a great atmosphere as the last notes faded away. For those who wanted to party the night was young with the DJ’s setting up for dancing and fun at a festival with no neighbours to upset.
Sunday 24th July 2016 – Grey, Drizzle and Misty Rocking
Day one, was a success, anticipation was high for day two as Last Great Dreamers started the day’s rock fest. With their take on glam rock, they opened up to a bleary-eyed crowd for me their pop rock got Sunday off to a meandering start and the weakest band so far. Next up were Hand Of Dimes full of Welsh verve and pizazz as both singer and front man Nev MacDonald got the early birds rocking through the drizzle and Sunday morning mist nothing was going to dampen this festival. This is rock music that warms your rocky heart and soul and the first and only harmonica of the festival thanks to Neil Garland the keyboard player and fellow ex. SKIN member. This is a band that understands space between the chords, the timing was superb and layers of sound certainly kick starting the day. Toseland were up next and the first technical gremlins hit the stage crew, quickly dealt with and the live music was back on stage. James Toseland, may have left the adrenalin-fueled world of motorbike racing but he still packs an adrenaline-fueled vocal punch. James has surrounded himself with a band that enhances his vocal prowess playing with energy and excitement. The set was the highlight pf the festival for many and Toseland certainly won new fans after this performance.
Today, Welsh weather reverted to type, the sun was shrouded in mist, interspersed with drizzle and rain. That did nothing to dampen the festival audience spirits. Steelhouse in its sixth year is growing in size and the reputation is based on the music not the weather.
The stage was now set for Raveneye, and we were in for some guitar fireworks from Oli Brown. He may have started out his career as a blues guitarist, but this young man certainly knows how to rock and put on a show. Including not missing a note as he is paraded around the stage on the shoulders of bassist Aaron Spiers. Raveneye’s set was animated and the music superb with the vestiges of his blues career a pick on his thumb and a shining sapphire blue guitar.
There was no doubt that the excitement around the next out was equivalent for a headliner. Who? The Dead Daisies. Why? Their sound is stunning, awesome, they are a live band that excites with superb melodies, and fantastic vocals. The Dead Daises connect to your rocking heart and soul the music flows through your veins full of electric brilliance and spark. This is Rock n’ Roll that makes you want to scream, shout out loud and laugh with pure delight. The latest member is Doug Aldrich who fits into the Daisy gang perfectly. John Corabi, on vocals, fronts this charismatic group and is given the room to develop the lyrics and have fun. We are taken back to the seventies and forward to now as they blend the sounds, whilst delivering their re-takes of classics. The rhythm section powers through the rock with the animated and flamboyant Marco Mendoza on bass and drummer Brian Titchy and rhythm guitarist David Lowy. The festival was on fire with excitement as the set sadly drew to a close many just wanted them to play on as for them The Dead Daisies were the band of the festival.
The programme moved on with Hey! Hello!, we were in for some noisy pop-rock with Ginger Wildheart, The Rev and two women Ai on drums and new singer up front they were fun and the pop rock contrasted to The Dead Daisies who are never an easy band to follow. Just as everyone had given up on being dry and seeing the sun the crowds rolled away asTerrorvision hit the stage. They have a distinctive lively rock sound with elements of rap, glam and the late eighties tonal context. Terrorvision are definitely the marmite band of the weekend, causing many a debate between the fans and those who just don’t quite get the band. The fans were treated to a set that captured rock they delight in.
Now for the finale, the skies once again darkened the lights shone as The Darkness bought 2016 Steelhouse to a close. The Darkness rewarded the fans for waiting for them to play as the rock-pop theme of the last three acts was maintained. Jason and The Darkness provided an uplifting and rousing finale to the festival.
A big thank you to the organisers Max and Lee and the phalanx of volunteers who kept the bands happy back stage and the whole event organized, the sound crews, and security. Then a special award should go to the mighty Darren Redick from Planet Rock for carrying out the MC role, stopping and talking to many who stop him as he wanders around the festival.
Every band performed at the top of their game, bringing live music energy to the festival. Bluesdoodles standout acts were opening band Bigfoot and Von Hertzen Brothers, both new bands for us. Then we really enjoyed Tax The Heat another young band going places, The Answer, Blues Pills and Raveneye. The top band of the weekend just has to be the effervescent The Dead Daisies.
Sunburn and Rust combined for Steelhouse Glory 2016, for me The Dead Daisies should have been the headliners. But that said what a fantastic two days of rock energy and music high up a mountain via a dirt road. Roll on 2017 when we will be back up the mountain. Make sure you keep the Crepe stall they were perfect.
On a wet Friday night, The Fuel Rock Club was crammed for RavenEye. This is a small rocking venue right in the heart of Cardiff. Opening the evening were Reigning Days, this rocking trio from Devon knew how to excite. It is not surprising that Kerrang have taken to playing their form of Rock. Once again it is rewarding to turn up and when hearing the support band they often surprise. When they are the headliners and others are finding Reigning Days for the first time you will already know the power of the trio’s granite rock.
With the warm up band raising the temperature everyone was up for RavenEye. The place was already packed and every gap in the room was filled with Oli Brown’s hefty riffs and licks from the guitar of this effervescent performer who walks a very different musical path these days. Tonight were heard the tracks from the E.P. Breaking Out. The power of the rhythm section comprising bassist Aaron Spiers and the drummer with a smile Kev Hickman allows Oli to literally fly. The interplay between the three of them is superb, Oli connecting by standing on the drum kit. Then he is given a piggy back ride by Aaron and storms into the audience. The highlight of the evening though was when Oli ditched his guitar with Aaron’s bass taking the role of a lead guitar full of distortion. The impact of Nobodies Soul was immense and shows the rockers heart that beats inside of Oli and this change in approach through the show ensures wall-to-wall rocking entertainment. Another twist in Oli Brown’s guitar artillery is the one hand playing when singing into the mic and using the mic as a prop on the strings rocking gem of a sound.
Oli is a talent full of musical intellect, he allows the skills and energy of Aaron and Kev to fly so that the trio connect with the music and more importantly the audience. The whole evening had a fluidity, an impressive set with a feel of spontaneity; rock with freedom of spirit that flies beyond the instruments. The new material was interesting showing the band is developing and the next album should be full of excitement and energy challenged through drum, bass and guitar.
The only thing that let Oli down was the sound that was not good, with lots of feedback. Oli came to the soundman’s rescue by swapping his mic with Aarons, reducing the feedback and helping to lessen the impact. The reality was everyone was there for loud music and fun and RavenEye won many new fans tonight.
Once again live music ruled the day loud, exciting and invigorating as hard as marble and rocking like a sparkling diamond. Thanks for the journey RavenEye.
Opening with the title track you hear the RavenEye transformation of Oli Brown. The guitar playing is still full of passion and style but now has a full-on heavier rock sound that cascades out of the speaker the music really is Breaking Out from any constraining mould. It is a track that has redefined Oli, a young multi award-winning guitarist known for the blues. The drumming drives the groove via Kev Hickman’s sticks which when combined with Aaron Spiers bass you get the throbbing backdrop that allows Oli’s vocals to fly to the ceiling so that the sound fills every crevice of the space available.
This is deep down and dirty with enough effects to add interest and another tonal structure but not to destroy the shape of the music and the star of Hey Hey Yeah is Oli’s vocals they fly off the tongue that pulls you into the song and then the little guitar breaks with licks and hooks for the lyrics that make the mouth water with delight, this is a track full of excitement and urgency you just want it to go on and on; but no it stops and there is silence’; until the speaker lights up with the next storming track. Closing with You Got It, the pace slows down but the sound the trio is creating is enough to fill any arena this is a band that are set to create music that brings out the depth and skills of all the instruments. There is a balance and at times less is more as the number of notes are kept simply that is unusually in many a rock number; the tracks are all the better for it as it enables changes of tempo and emphasis mid-track as on You Got It.
If you have heard of Oli Brown, do not expect blues this is rock that has the shadow of blues entwined within its structure but Oli, Kev & Aaron are rocking the cobwebs away with a very stylish vibe. This five-track E.P. makes you want to hear more, now your rock music soul demands to hear more; get that album and keep on touring as RavenEye have encapsulated the live sound in the studio, the raw energy and controlled power combine to produce a classy E.P. we like the new darker Oli and RavenEye.
If this was a full album would definitely be 10; but this is an E.P. and definitely work in progress of a new band with all the potential to hit the top.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD EIGHT doodle paws out of TEN ….