There are entrances and there are entrances. James Bartholomew thunders his way out onto the stage at KK’S as if he’s just glad to be out of the house, but my goodness you can’t help but notice him.

And you can’t help but notice the improvements that Jayler have made either.

MV last saw them last summer opening for PCATBS, and their potential was obvious. The potential they’ve now started to make good on.

“Acid Rain” is as good as the entrance demanded, and the fact they’ve already decided to build on their EP, tells you of their ambition.

The slide guitar of “When You Go” and another new track, “Getaway” (which comes in with more than a tinge of early Aerosmith about it) are evidence that they’re going to be a bit special.

“We like the 70s,” says the frontman and whilst it almost doesn’t need saying then “Lovemaker” makes it clear. The last one “The Rinsk” takes things in a slightly different direction with its massive groove and epic intent.

It ends a half an hour which leaves you in no doubt. Jayler will headline venues like this, and they’ll do so in the not-too-distant future.

So from a band that will go places to one that has.

Kira Mac are here, on a Saturday night, as Kira Mac puts it herself in “the semi-north” with the place packed.

Give or take three weeks it is two years since we saw the band play an impromptu acoustic set (from memory the drummer had Covid) supporting Ricky Warwick. Even then, you couldn’t escape the fact that Rhiannon Hill – Kira’s real name – had a voice and a presence. Their “Chaos Is Calling” album proved they’d got the songs.

Which brings us here. On a kind of farewell to the record in readiness for album number two.

They start with one that isn’t on “…..Calling”, “Save Your Whiskey” but the title track underlines the undoubted class that was on it.

The new songs like “Play The Game” indicate that the sophomore record might be a cracker, but then there’s the bit in the middle.

And that “acoustic sandwich” if you will, is more than just a way to get the set to headline length.
Rather the singer plays a song she wrote in lockdown, that “didn’t fit” the band. They need to find a way that “This Time” does make it somewhere.

Guitarist and founder member Joe joins for runs through a few more – the pick of which is Nate Smith’s “Whiskey On You” before Loz and Vern (drums and bass respectively) see things rock back up for Alanis Morrisette’s “You Oughta Know”.

The final third of it all is a race to the line. “Hell Fire And Holy Water” is a beauty of a hard rock song, as is “Never Going To Stay” (although that one is apparently being retired from the set).

The last pair are perhaps the most interesting. “Farewell” and “Climbing” are both new songs, but they are appreciably heavier than the rest. Sort of veering into Halestorm territory, they are both superb.

The encores are old favourites. “Downfall” with the “you gotta die of something, it might as well be a good time” hook which always feels like their mantra, and the groover “One Way Ticket”.

That one talks about signing up for a “lifetime in rock n roll”. That’s what Kira Mac did. They’re all in. No half measures. And there’s no turning back.

So far, it’s been a hell of a ride and, believe me, they’re only just getting started.


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