There is a real air of expectation tonight as this heaving crowd await the two local bands that are set to entertain us at this rescheduled sold out event. The original February show was called off due to heavy snow, which ground this second city to a halt and ended any possibility of the bands performing.
First up for starters this evening are Cannock hard hitters The Bad Flowers. A massive cheer arises as vocalist and guitar player Tom Leighton endears himself to the faithful by sharing that it was nice to play in a town where the audience can understand what he`s saying.
They launch into the first of many tracks from their wonderful debut album `Starting Gun` with the questioning `Lions Blood. ` The songs come thick and fast with `Thunder Child`, `Secrets` with its superb riffs and a wonderful guitar solo and `Rich Man` with it`s great hook and a cracking rock out mid-way through. I have seen these boys a few times and from day one, you could tell they had something about them as they were such a tightly knit unit and now as they have toured so much opening for the likes of Crobot, Jared James Nichols, Scorpion Child, Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown, Toseland and Dan Baird and The Original Sin, they are at a different level. Drummer Karl Selickis bashes the skins as if his life depends on it and it`s a real joy to watch Dale Tonks on bass is so full on you can almost feel the fret, thumping into your body. The show closes out with numbers that include `Let`s Misbehave` which is really laid back at the start and builds up into a real crescendo, `Be Your Man` a gutsy Blues bash and `City Lights` a nice heavy track with a big rock out to end on. This was a great set from this marvellous Power rock trio, real dynamic, riff-heavy rock n’ roll. What more could you ask for?
Well on to the main course and we have local heroes Stone Broken, hailing from just eight miles up the road on the 51 bus in Walsall the leather trade capitol of the West Midlands.
Again, these are a dedicated hard-working rock outfit with Rich Moss on vocals and guitar, Chris Davis on guitar, Kieron Conroy on bass and Robyn Haycock on drums. They also have a new album `Ain`t Always Easy` their second album and follow up to 2016`s `All In Time`
It`s indeed a track from the new release `Heartbeat Away` with it`s disturbing lyrical content that kicks us off and is followed up by the cracking `Better` with it`s sing a long lyrics of “Stop wishing your life away” The show progresses with a mix of old and new as the band share `Stay All Night`, `I Believe` and a birthday request for one of their fans with `The Only thing I Need` The heart breaking ballad `Home` goes out and you can see this trope in a stadium with phones and lighters illuminating the venue. I really think they are on the cusp of big things and good luck to them, they`ve written their own songs and put the hard graft of touring every venue, big or small. They write some catchy lyrics and play some infectious tunes, and this is what you want after a hard day`s slog to come out and have a great time.
At times they do sound a little like Nickleback, but hey I don`t care, I for one love Nickelback and like this band, they deliver live. We get `Let Me Go` with it`s enticing riffs before the boys leave Robyn alone to bash through a drum solo. Then it`s back to close out the set with more thumping bass, plank spanking riffs, pounding drums and souring vocals as `Let Me See It All`, Be There` and `worth Fighting For` are offered for our enjoyment.
In amongst this all, they paid a hard-felt tribute to Mike, a long-dedicated supporter of the band who recently passed away and Rich got his sister up and encouraged us all to sing Happy Birthday to her. Her actual birthday was in February on the night of the Brum show that was cancelled but do we care, Hell No.
The encore includes the superb `Wait for you` which Is played acoustically and really shows what talent this band has.
Well, this was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and reaffirmed that the Midlands still has the ability to produce bands that will ensure we continue our legacy of producing the best rock bands in the UK, if not the World.