Summer Showcase #8 review

Right, first off I only managed to get crap pictures of The Oxides after which my phone said “no more pictures, me sleepy”. However, there are 3 of them so I’ll spread them out a bit. Sorry Toby Michael’s Rolling Damned and Roadway, people will have to just hunt you out at the links I just provided if they want to see your pretty faces. Pictures there will be better anyway…

Jake and his box of peddles

SO last showcase night, going out with a bang with a selection of rock bands. If any act was a bit different from the other two it was The Oxides. I’ll get to the others in detail in a bit, but they are more of a classic rock sound. The Oxides are a much more alternative rock band. The made up history I’d give them to explain the sound was that they grew up in the north of England, formed a band in the late 90’s, buggered off to the states for Uni for a year, then came back. That kind of hybridisation of sounds. There’s only 3 of them, sounds like a lot more. Part of that will be down to Jake Bolt’s Amazing Array Of Peddles (TM). He has about 50 in front of him, I may be exaggerating, and flips between them like the pro that he is. This brings some fantastic variety to their songs, none of which I’ve noted down the titles for as I was down the front and too busy nodding my head and enjoying myself. When not switching around the peddles Jake controlled-stumbles around the afforded space, drunken boxer style guitar playing. And he gets a bit sweaty too. Enough on the main man. On bass we have Archie Stewart. Quite a shy guy, known to blush a bit, but boy can he play bass. This is the second time I’ve heard them play, and only the 5th gig for them as a group, and the first time I heard them I noticed the bass playing. Like really noticed. That doesn’t normally happen, I’m not a bassist and unless there’s some kind of solo us civilians generally don’t massively notice it (no offence to bassists, the music would suck without you). You notice Archie because he’s really really good. And to round it out Duff on the drums, who is a damned fine drummer. These three guys produce some ridiculously good music that would easily fit in to the mainstream and make it look effortless while they do it. At one point I turned around to see who was behind me (hi Duncan *waves*) and suddenly LOADS OF PEOPLE. Probably the biggest turn out I’ve seen at the showcases I made it to. Good for two reasons.

1) They got to hear at least some of a fantastic set by The Oxides, and the other stuff I’m about to describe. 2) Jake forgot what band he was in at the end. Jake: “We’ve been 28 Jacks!” Archie: “What band did you say? I thought we were the Oxides”. We all had a laugh, that’s what happens when you get really in to it I suppose. Wouldn’t have mentioned it but….well we all have to rip in to Jake about it for a while. Moving on…

Archie, from the band above

To Toby Michael’s Rolling Damned. Aka the band that features half of Kobi, no brass section though. For those who haven’t seen them, I hadn’t until last night, they’re a proper rock band. By proper I mean “a bit 80’s hair metal” kind of. Toby slings an acoustic guitar when he’s playing something, the rest are fully plugged. And they have FUN. While the set got a bit ballady at times, which is fine, the majority is the kind of bluesy rock that you can mosh around to. Front man Toby loves to get right in to the crowd, from riding the barrier to actually going up the stairs to the balcony, coming back down, singing to various crowd members, having a bit of a lie down, doing a bit more singing then getting the hell back where he belongs. And there’s a bit of light banter between tunes. The other members also occasionally barrier ride, particularly Jonny Gash who I’ll single out in a second, or get up on the drummers podium. Steve “wot’s in Kobi” Robertson was the first I saw doing it, and he also brought his dueling bass moves. While I’m mentioning the connecting members, they also have Gary “Dreamboat” Thain slinging guitar. I didn’t call him that, they did. And so did his fan club (I suspect some theatrics are in play). Now to single out the Gash(Oh dear). I love a bit of rock me, and I love a good solo. Jonny Gash plays a MEAN solo, proper soaring guitar licks. Thank you very much sir, I’ll have some more of that. I’ve bounced around there set a fair bit here so I’ll plunge back to the middle to close off and give some connecting tissue to the final band. During the ballady section the other band members had a bit of a break just leaving Toby and his acoustic on stage. He’s a big fan of Roadway, said how happy they were to be on the same bill as them particularly in light of events earlier this year and then played a tune specifically for them. Very nice it was too.

Very blurry Duff, who isn’t in Roadway but that’s they’re drums

Then, well not then as that was the middle of TMRD’s set, on to the boys themselves. Roadway. I’ve wanted to see them for a while now and I’m very glad I did. While I said the last act was proper 80’s rock, I think “influenced” would have been a bit more accurate as THIS is proper 80’s rock. With a keyboard. The boys are younger than I expected, thought they were closer to my age. Might just be baby faced. Anyway my inner 14 year old was very happy with the powerful guitar licks and soaring vocals. As was my outer 32 year old. While the singing WAS soaring with some truly impressive moments I do think at times Dougie might have been stretching for some notes occasionally. The sound mix was a bit off on my opinion too as the vocals sounded a bit TOO separate from the music. These are minor grumbling btw, they were excellent and I expect they will go on to very big things. I wasn’t particularly going to mention the elephant in the room but they did so I will. A few months back Ross and Bod were in a particularly nasty car crash. Both guys pulled through and are on the mend, but it was an air ambulance, lots of emergency blood and long physio (which isn’t over yet) situation. There was a shout out to the emergency services and a nudge to give some blood next time you can. Apologised for, but there was no need to. This led in to a song called “This is Why” originally written for Doogie White from Rainbow, which was given extra meaning by the situation and helped the guys through the tough times. It’s about soldiering on when things are hard, and was very very good. The whole set was. Next chance I get I’ll be picking up a Roadway EP in HMV in Inverness, as should you. And I was a bit skint on the night but on the off chance that you have a large T left knocking about give me a shout and I’ll take it off your hands for some pictures of the Queen.

Unfortunately I had to skip out slightly early, so I assume that Roadway then played the most epic rock song ever conceived by man. So epic that they couldn’t possibly ever play it again, and everyone who was there’s life was changed and improved for hearing it. Stupid buses…

And that brought an end to the summer showcase season. If you missed out on all of it, shame on you and don’t let it happen again. These gigs are two very important things. Cheap and good. Worth way more than you’re charged for them, so get your butt around next time. And if you did make it…..that was pretty ace wasn’t it?

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