I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing Skam before, and boy have they gone up a notch since then. This was their very last gig in support of their debut (well worth the £10 of anyone’s money) and the Leicester 3 piece pulled out all the stops. Bassist Matt Gilmore deserves an extra special mention, as the guy is a bonafide nutcase on the bass. He pulls shapes, moves like a maniac, and when the road crew for the even start coming from behind to view from the side and laugh, clap, and smile, then you know you’re onto a winner. Skam are destined for greater things Im sure, and with songs about penises (‘Weapon), and anthems with killer hooks like ‘Dead From The Waist Down’ (I think another song about penises), and a new belter called “From The Bottom Up” ( I think there’s a trend going on here guys!). Finishing the set with their best song ‘Massacre’, starting off with a dark Sabbath riff before kicking you in the nuts with such ferocity it feels like a 5 piece. I don’t want to big them up but their meet n greet queue was about 5x the size of Anvil’s (and about 50x of Schenker’s). See I told you the Welsh fest revelers know a good band when they see one
Michael Schenker a few years ago couldn’t probably get arrested. Whereas the last couple of year has seen a true return to form, tonight was the very last night of their extensive ‘Temple Of Rock & Lovedrive Reunion’ tour, and bugger me, they weren’t half on form. A fine line up consisting of Ex-Scorps Rarebell and Bucholz, and multi instrumentalist Wayne Findlay and Doogie White. No messing around from the guys, straight into ‘Lovedrive’ with White proving to be a fine replacement for Mogg, Meine and Barden. All previous Schenker bands were included – Scorpions, MSG, UFO, and even a couple of songs from the current line up – a tribute to Ronnie in ‘Before The Devil Knows Your Name’. I was never a massive UFO fan, my fave album is ‘The Wild The Willing & The Innocent’, so I suppose I don’t count as a UFO officionado at all. The classic UFO songbook was played, ‘Shoot, Shoot’, ‘Only You…’, ‘Let It Roll’, ‘Too Hot…’, ‘Lights Out’, and ‘Rock Bottom’. Obviously they hit the spot with the 2 blokes next to me as they both went mental. Me, I loved the instrumental renditions of ‘Coast to Coast’ and ‘Into The Arena’, and a couple of MSG classics such as ‘Armed & Ready’ and Attack Of The Mad Axeman’ which I haven’t heard live in almost 30 years!! Shit dudes, they even played the MSG underrated ‘Assault Attack’. Unlike Saxon, there was no frills, lights, pyro, just full on rock classics spanning a total of 30-odd years. Long may he continue to play, because it was fan-fuckin-tastic!
2013 sees the second Steelhouse Festival situated in one of the finest places on Gods Earth…..Wales! High on a mountain top on the edge of the Brecon Beacons (Aberbeeg), Steelhouse boasts the highest festival in Europe, and probably one of the nicest organised and atmospheric. For atmospheric, read torrential rain!
I sware I could write a travel blog just covering the antics of the boys over the course of the weekend! Sleeping in a field after the gig had finished, spending £65 for the weekend only to sleep thru most of it. Bringing Welsh delicacy Pot Noodle and Smash only forgetting to bring a kettle, and drunken bastards falling thru my tent, but giving me one of the best weekends in years!
Despite the weather the organisers deserve a big pat on the back for putting on a great set of bands and organising the best festival I’ve attended in yonks! Long may Steelhouse continue
Day 2 to follow soon!
I think that Steve Newman is definitely one of the good guys of Melodic Rock. He was the star of the cack-fest that was ‘ZRock’ last year, and I’m always interested to see what the talented bloke has up his sleeve at every new opportunity. Basically the guys a machine, and I think he’s a Man U fan as I am certain he only comes out with an album when the twats win the premier league. Which in terms of music, is goddamn prolific!!!
For starters the album cover is a bit of a belter. It takes me back to the 80’s when many a purchase was completed solely on the quality of the cover. Some turned out to be shite, but Siren is anything but. After living with this for just over a week now, the album gets better with every passing spin and I cant stop playing or singing the bugger!
Siren is definitely the AOR equivalent of (insert you pleasurable experience here _______) mine’s having an AOR Rock Goddess rubbing me down with a wet flannel! (You know who you are). It just ticks all the boxes and is one anthem after another.
‘Take It All’ is an ablsolute belter. Heavier than his norm, with a classic riff, and ultra sing-able chorus. ‘Had Enough’ is definitely a future classic and stands alongside any AOR gem from the last 30-odd years. Its has hints of Foreigner, Mr.Big, with some real quality vocals from Steve Newman. ‘Arcadia’ is a little mellower than the previous but again is dragged above the competition with a finely constructed tune and another top mutts nutts chorus!
‘Another Bitch Of A Night’ is so Whitesnake 87 era, I expect a certain Mr Coverdale to be chippin’ in with the vocals to ‘Still Of The Night’. Robert Säll of WOA & WET contributes guitar to ‘Feel Her Again’ and makes it more of a WET sounding than a Newman song. Newmans lyrics are more thought provoking than many a rival, and becomes more than just AOR by numbers. ‘When It Comes To Loves ‘ is a collaboration with Vega’s Nick Workman, who also contributes backing vocals, and is an 80s old school rock ballad
Steve Newman’s vocals are some of the finest I’ve heard in some time, both from himself, and from anyone else! It must be something to do with the name ‘Steve!’. He has nailed the production of Siren, focusing purely on quality. Despite all the friends and collaborators involved, this is still clearly the Newman show. It’s not standard fare Melodic Rock, instead it’s heavier with more of a purpose and edge, and thoroughly deserves to pick up some new fans along the way.
I prefer to label this as ‘Classic Rock’ rather than AOR/Melodic Rock, as I’m positive that Siren is a future Classic Rock album. Not only is it one of Steve’s finest it just stands head and shoulders above many an effort the past couple of years
Score – 95/100
Band Line Up On this album:
Steve Newman– Vocals, Guitar, and Keyboards
Rob McEwen– Drums & Percussion
Shaun Bessant– Lead Guitar on “When It Comes To Love”
Robert Säll– Lead Guitar on “Feel Her Again”
Steve Newman – Vocals, Guitar
Shaun Bessant – Guitar, Vocals
Paul Boyle – Keyboards, Vocals
Pete Newdeck – Drums, Vocals
01 Scar Of Love
02 Had Enough
04 Another Bitch Of A Night
05 Feel Her Again
06 Some Kind Of Wonderful
08 When It Comes To Love
10 Waiting For The Day
11 The Foolish One
12 Don’t Know Why
The band started the recordings in late 2011, after filming a professional music video for their first single which was Co-Directed by the prominant Filmmakers Steve Ravic of Majestic Film and Hollywood based motion picture maker Neil Johnson. The professional approach was justified with their extremely successful back to back live shows in November 2011 on the main stage at Federation Square in the centre of the city of Melbourne.In 2012 the band played some big festivals in Europe with bands like MANOWAR and NIGHTWISH as well as a few club shows in Germany and the US!