@Planetmosh reviews @ and @VoodooSix show at the Electric Ballroom, London, April 2014.
Thoroughly encouraged by how good this gig was going to be I arrived at the Electric Ballroom full of expectation. Having been the lead singer of Creed one of the ten most successful US bands of the 2000s, with more than 40 million records sold, Scott Stapp released his second solo album ‘Proof of Life’ last year. In support of this release he had headed over to London for his only UK show as part of the current tour.
As this was a one off, I expected it to be packed really early on, but despite a later than normal start due to their being only two bands on the listing, there was less than half in the venue by the time Voodoo Six’s set began. Though that did enable me to grab a good view and the first thing I noticed was the amount of light rigging set up around the stage; surely much more than normal. Though it made the stage look much smaller, it also managed to frame the bands, giving it a more intimate feel later on.
For some reason despite being on the billing for festivals that I’ve been to I don’t recall managing to catch Voodoo Six before. So it was good news to hear that they were on the billing for tonight’s special show. I have to say all credit to their entrance to the theme tune from the Great Escape. I really enjoyed ‘All That Glitters’ with its hard Southern swing beginning and perfectly placed drumming. This flattens out later into a more driving, even rhythm while still maintaining that sense of dirty swing. As an introduction I have to recommend this one for you to start with.
‘Take the Blame’ offers a twist with a bluesy, rock style that again throws in bit of filth with the combinations of the vocals and back rhythm. ‘Your Way’ has the crowd clapping immediately with its quiet, unassuming beginning. But don’t let that fool you as it quickly and sharply descends into a harder mix that maintains that blues rhythm in places, with the stop start style and throaty vocals.
It was good to see the increase in the crowd by the end of the set as this was a great choice of band for the billing. They’re confident, well-practiced, have great songs and are very likeable both for their performance but also the way they interact with the crowd.
- Falling Knives
- All That Glitters
- Take the Blame
- Lead Me On
- Your Way
- Sink or Swim
- Something for You
- Long Way From Home
As soon as the headliner Scott Stapp steps onto the stage there’s an immediate, loud and very real reaction from the entire audience. There’s no point in me saying what songs the crowd went wild for (though there were some obvious favourites) as they cheered happily throughout. It was immediately obvious by just looking at those around me that for some there was a connection bordering on worship. Even I was easily caught up in the evening and from the first song found myself completely sold. However, even though I was there watching the gig, because I hadn’t seen either Scott Stapp or Creed before, I couldn’t shake that feeling that I was still missing out.
There was a real connection to many of the songs by members of the audience and you could see for some the way that hearing the lyrics and melodies (even the first few bars) didn’t just connect them with the band on stage but also with the memories connected to those songs.
There was a very even mix between his more current work and Creed, with most seemingly very well known by the crowd, though there was a bigger reaction for some of Creed’s songs such as ‘My Sacrifice’ and ‘Arms Wide Open’. It was unusual really to have slow, more melodic songs for the en core; though there’s usually a bit of a dip in intensity, this en core had a softer approach. Normally I would think this would lessen the atmosphere, but the chosen songs connected with the audience just as deeply as any others would.
I think it is fair to say that I was just a little bit impressed by this performance, and that is definitely true. As a performer Scott Stapp provides real grit; immersing himself through his voice, facial expressions and actions into the nature and feel of each song. Slower songs find a consistent moving, and open connection through to the audience, whereas the harder, older tracks (generally Creed based) ignite a harsher, slightly violent arches in the back and arm movements. There are several frontmen I’ve seen in the past year that have impressed me with their stage presence, but for me this performance was a step above most of them.
It’s not always so much about the performance per se more also to do with how effortless it all seemed. There was a seamless movement between the songs and into the next, but a whole bodied move; with each song performed with conviction. As I’ve not seen him before this could partly be attribute to his years of experience on stage and knowledge of the songs being performed, but I think this goes deeper; a more natural, deep seated ability that you can’t fake.
Truly a joy and a pleasure to watch.
- Slow Suicide
- What if (Creed song)
- My Own Prison (Creed song)
- New Day Coming
- Bullets (Creed song)
- Break Out
- Higher (Creed song)
- Hit Me More
- One Last Breath (Creed song)
- Only One
- My Sacrifice (Creed song)
- Jesus Was a Rockstar
- With Arms Wide Open (Creed song)
- Dying to Live
- Proof of Life
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