This was a gig I had been brought in at the last minute to review, and having never heard anything from all of the bands playing at The Classic Grand tonight, meant I spent most of the early part of the day checking them out, and listening to recent and past album/EP releases. Impressive stuff!
As a result, this was now a night I was really looking forward to witnessing, not only because of the fact it was Attica Rage’s new album “88MPH” that was being launched, and the fact that I was going to see 3 Scottish bands in one night, but also, it would be 3 bands with different rock/metal styles, and I for one, was interested to see how it would all work together on the night!
First up was the all female, old school rock and rolling three piece The Amorettes, who arrived quietly introducing themselves, but immediately exploded to life with their straightforward, no nonsense, Rock and Roll. Beginning with “Take Cover”, from their debut album “Haulin’ Ass” Indeed this, along with their set was the theme generally. Classic sounding, rock and roll songs with attitude, and with the ladies themselves, a lot of sex appeal to boot! Second song in “Boxticker”, and you start to get a feel for the band, and recognise influences from the great rock and hair metal bands from the late seventies/eighties, such as Van Halen, AC/DC, Motley Crue etc, with guitarist/vocalist Gillian at times resembling the great master himself Eddie Van Halen on this one.
Drummer Hannah and sister, Bass player Heather McKay kept the rhythms tight, and I was impressed with Heather’s energy and presence, running and moving around with her bass, through much of the set. In fact, the whole band had bags of energy! Fourth track in and the excellent slight AC/DC sounding “Too Much Is Never Enough” had the starting to fill venue stomping, and getting into the groove.
There were some great opportunities for some crowd sing along moments for “Pop Goes the Weasel”, with its playful na na na element, and some nice riffs, but like a lot of gigs, unfortunately the band suffered from the opening band “people arriving late” scenario, and indeed it wasn’t until the last couple of songs, that the venue’s numbers started to look more respectable. Those latecomers did manage to catch a glimpse of setlist ending “Son of a Gun” which to me live leaned slightly towards a Guns & Roses feel to it, which is not a bad thing in my opinion! Great set from The Amorettes, which had everyone pumped up for the next band…..
Too Much Is Never Enough
Pop Goes the Weasel
Hot and Heavy
Son of a Gun
Afterlife, who I was very much looking forward to seeing, after hearing their “Alpha” EP earlier in the day. Their sound live pretty much lived up to my expectations with the “grungy” sounds of “Alpha”. Opening with “300” and “Don’t Come Crying To Me” one thing becomes very apparent, vocalist Pete McCoy has some set of pipes on him, and with a great vocal range. Afterlife also has very talented and tight musicians, and if you didn’t already know the band were from Scotland, you could easily be forgiven for thinking they could have arrived from Seattle, Washington.
Listening live I could hear influences from Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, A Perfect Circle, and perhaps Black Stone Cherry crept in a little bit. On fourth song “Never Fade”, Pete announced this was a personal song, and was for anyone who has ever lost anyone close to them before; this was a touching song, and personally one of my favourites from “Alpha”. There was a moment where Alice In Chains material did feature, with the great cover of “Man In the Box”. This sounded tight, and Afterlife did a really good job of this one.
It was also announced that it was Pete’s Birthday tonight, and the crowd gave a rendition of Happy Birthday, before penultimate song “War Machine”. This song had that slightly heavier edge to it, and it seemed fitting to finish the set with another new heavy song “Survivor” which Pete said would be on a forthcoming album release, next year sometime. These last two songs seemed a fitting way to close the set, and lead up to the headline band of the night…
Don’t Come Crying To Me
Man In The Box
And now what we have been waiting for……. Attica Rage, with the opening introduction of “From Dusk Til Dawn”, this was a nice little melodic way to be introduced to the stage, with dark lighting, the band then kick things off with new song “Beyond Forever”. This is a really great hard rocking stomper of a song, complete with wonderful riffs to get the old foot tapping, and is a great song to open the new “88MPH” album, and the live show. Next came along another new song “Killer Carousel”, which, if I’m honest, I didn’t think this was their strongest song on the album, but when it’s done live, wow, with that chunky heavy guitar sound, a Metallica/Motorhead feel to it, I have a new love for this one now!
For new song “Close Shave”, female vocalist Emma Nailen, who also joined in on this one for the album version, was introduced to the stage, and my, Emma did not disappoint, she had strong vocals herself and brought some glamour to the hairy biker image the band had on the night, with the exception of bassist Colin Wilson, who had more of a clean cut image, wearing black shirt and dark trousers. Colin told me afterwards he had only played a handful of gigs with the band prior to the night, but you wouldn’t think it, he had a different kind of image, but sounded like he had played with Attica for many years!
After that song ended, Lead Vocalist/guitarist Jonny Parr did have a moment to thank the attending Tom Russell from “Real RadioXS”, who I read earlier, could have instead attended the Gun gig, which was also happening elsewhere. It was nice to see Tom supporting the best up and coming bands Scotland has to offer.
Another new song “Long Ride Home” added a slightly slower, bluesier element to the band, which did kind of remind me of Clapton/Bad Company/Whitesnake old school rock kind of era (Listen to the guitar on this one). This sounded great live.
Colin Wilson then took over the vocals, for a cover of “This Life”, off of “Sons of Anarchy”, which lowered the tempo a bit but sounded fantastic, and everyone was clapping their hands along to this one. It was nice to see the band mixing it up a bit, and bringing out a more bluesy side to them.
The remainder of the main set had Attica Rage mainly doing stuff from their previous album release, “Road Dog”, which flowed easily into one another, and displayed some of my favourite tracks of theirs I have heard over my very short space of time to listening to the band. With the excellent “Inner Eye”, with its stomping great riffs and groove, leading to “Ashamed”, and into another new song “Flight 180” to “Road Hog”. This was a great sequence of songs, which had everyone who knew the songs, to sing along. “Ashamed” had everyone joining in when they lowered it towards the end, it was a magical moment, and you could see everyone in the room at the height of joyous gig ecstasy. Huge smiles could be seen all around.
Two cover songs were done as the encore, AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds”, which had Pete and Gillian from Afterlife and The Amorettes, joining in. This was just a lot of fun, with everyone singing their part, with great tight musicianship of the band, then ending it with “Motorhead” time, Attica Rage’s cover of “Overkill”, which I must say, excellent job on this one, it is something that You could see they felt comfortable doing, and the audience seemed to appreciate that one!
So end of the night, and the overall verdict, killer night, three different styles of music which did compliment each other well. I was so impressed with these bands I have never heard of before, to my disbelief, and if you get a chance to see any of these bands, you must do. To me, Attica Rage should be doing great things in the future, and I for one, will be interested to follow them.
Long Ride Home
This Life (Sons of Anarchy)
Review and pictures by Robbie Rooney