As the season saunters into autumn I found myself at The Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton for the second time in my life this time to see StOp, sToP a flamboyant three piece originally from Barcelona and Bulgaria and now based, not too far from Wolverhampton, in sunny (sometimes) Birmingham.
Opening tonight’s proceedings were local band White Tygër all ripped jeans, cowboy boots and bandanas. Opening with Steel Panther’s Supersonic Sex Machine and playing popular crowd pleasers, Boys are Back in Town by Thin Lizzy followed. Getting some audience interaction going frontman Nip Turner asked ‘How many people have heard of Black Sabbath?’ and of course everyone had, before playing Paranoid. Next came Thunderstuck by AC/DC then Whitesnake’s Still of the Night. They were entertaining and covered the stage well, with Nip and Chris coming down to the front of the stage to play to the crowd before finishing off with Motorhead’s Ace of Spades. Whilst they weren’t playing any original material tonight, what they played they played well, and they will be bringing out some of their own material and touring next year.
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Next up tonight came Last Great Dreamers (LGD). Originally formed back in 1989 as Silver Hearts, before changing their name to LGD in 1993, they achieved some success before calling it a day in 1997. After a hiatus founders Marc Valentine and Slyder Smith reunited in January 2014. Denley Slade on drums and Steve Fielding on bass make up the band we see today, who released new album Transmissions From Oblivion on the 30th September. Dreamer by Supertramp heralded their arrival on stage. When Marc stolled on a guy stood next to me asked ‘Is this Clockwork Orange?’ With Marc in his bowler hat and dark curly hair, I got where he was coming from, but I wasn’t anticipating any violence, choreographed or otherwise! The band took their places and with three hats, and one hairstyle, backcombed to within an inch of its life LGD started their set with the catchy Oblivion Kids. A crash of drumsticks from Denley aptly started the next song Crash Landing In Teenage Heaven. Marc then announced ‘Hello Wolverhampton, we’re Last Great Dreamers! Thanks for having us.’ Far From Home a song from their first album Retrosexual came next and Marc asked if anyone had the album and after a few yeahs he quipped ‘You’re all over 40 then?! That’s a young crowd for us!’ After the song with it’s chorus including plenty of singalong ‘Oh Oh Ohs’ he said ‘Thanks guys we’re celebrating our new album too’ and he mentioned that it had only taken seventeen years to make, before playing White Light, Black Heart from the said the new album.
The punky Only Crime came next with Marc sounding a bit Gordon Gano (Violent Femmes). Apparently they wrote the next one at an Oslo Star Trek Convention, Marc thought in 1984, and he dedicated it by saying ‘If anyone was there this one’s for you’ and they launched into Number One Wonderboy reminiscent me of Kim Wilde’s Kids in America then came Supernature Natural. By now Marc was sweating but he didn’t take his bowler hat off! Their previous single Glitterball Apocalypse followed and they went straight into Way We Collide with it’s The Beatles style woos. Then Marc said that they were pretty up to date with technology and Tom Gold was going to try to broadcast live on facebook to their 54 followers, which resulted in a heckle of ‘We’re all here’ and although they had brought a few followers it’s fair to say that they have a few more than 54! The band then launched into Ashtray Eyes and Tom was indeed videoing the band and incorporated a bit of crowd footage which I tried to get on, but to no avail, as I was stood in the wrong spot over to the far side of the stage! Story of my life!
The self titled Last Great Dreamer came next then, like all good things, we came to the last song Dope School another catchy, popular one which got people dancing, with Marc expressive and covering the stage well. Marc’s last words ‘Thank you Woverhampton! We’re Last Great Dreamers. Thanks guys. See you again’ I asked Mr Clockwork Orange guy what he had thought and he said he’d really liked them which is the general impression I got from everyone else in the audience. A good show and no doubt the rockers of wolverhampton are looking forward to seeing them again soon!
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Feather boas now adorned the microphone stands in lurid pink and black, ready for the headliners StOp, sToP. A hard rock/glam/metal band with members from Barcelona and Bulgaria and now based in Birmingham. A comedy intro heralded the arrival of the band with Danny taking his position behind the drums first before Vega and Jacob bounded on stage. When I’ve seen them before Jacob has alway looked very glam but, it seemed to be dressing down today as, he was in dugarees although the obigatory white face paint and red lips were still apparent, like a cross between The Joker and a member of Steve ‘n’ Seagulls in a Cleo Laine wig!
Opening with Won’t Hold Me Back a hard hitting one, the first single from their latest album Barceloningham. (A word blended from Barcelona and Birmingham, if you haven’t worked that one out!) With the dressing down and hard hitting opening I wondered if StOp, sToP were moving in a heavier direction but with only song down so far it was too early to tell! Entertaining from the off Jacob got people clapping and a piercing scream led into the memorable Born To Rock which had both Jacob and Vega holding their guitars aloft and ended with a high jump from Jacob!
Jacob then announced ‘Good evening Motherfuckers! It’s a pleasure to be here, Thank you for coming’ and told us that they were from Barceloningham before asking ‘Do you know this place?’ because if not he added ‘You soon will’ He told us they just wanted to party and why not?! Hard Road and the hard hitting Spit It Out followed before Jacob said he was going to tell us a story about when a gorgeous girl comes around, but it would be a short one. He said ‘I met a girl, she used to love me, she was called Lola’ her name being the title of the next song which had people dancing and like the blended album title they cleverly blended some of ZZ Top’s Gimme All You Lovin’ into the song which had Vega and Jacob rocking together before a short burst of Kiss’s Lick It Up was merged into the end. I love the way these guys blend songs together.
A bass drum start led into Join The Party Jacob had everyone at the front partying along chanting hey hey hey and punching the air! The hard hitting Over and Out which reminded me of Fatboy Slim’s Funk Soul Brother followed and Jacob asked ‘You guys having a good time?’ and of course we were before Love Machine which had pink feathers flying and Jacob playing his bass behind his head. Jacob then said ‘Thank you motherfuckers. When I ask you motherfuckers you’ve got to say fuck off! Let’s try it!’ which resulted in a few ‘Motherfuckers’ from Jacob and ‘Fuck Offs’ from the audience in response. If you know nothing about the band then you shouldn’t be offended by being called a Motherfucker or Mofo as it’s meant as a term of endearment or affection. From Fuck Offs we came to the less offensive sounding Na Nas and Jacob said ‘I want you to sing now it’s very simple Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Hush’ which led into a cover of Deep Purple’s Hush with a few other songs worked in including Sympathy For The Devil by The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix’s Hey Joe. After a ‘Thank you very much people’ we came to Toilet Party a song about cocaine and reminiscent of Blackout In The Red Room by Love/Hate a popular one judging by the cheers and whoops. I noticed that Vega was now topless as Jacob announced Poser which wasn’t a reference to Vega just the title of the next song. Lost In The UK came next and Jacob was now sporting an animal print shirt, Jacob and Vega were playing their guitars in unison as this one merged into AC/DC’s Thunderstruck (and it wasn’t the first time tonight we’d been Thunderstruck) after a short pause from the band which was filled with cheers, whistles and shouts for more Jacob yelled ‘Thunderstruck’ then carried on before the song merged into Ike and Tina Turner’s Proud Mary before ending on a ‘You’ve been Thunderstruck.’
All good parties have to end and this party was coming to it’s end as Jacob announced ‘We’ve got to go, with the last song for tonight’ and a Ha Ha Ha, evil laugh before he told us that the song was about sex and called In ‘n’ Out with which saw Vega using a voice synthesizer for a few Bon Jovi Livin’ on a Prayer type Wah Wahs and had Jacob encouraging people to clap along before a ‘Thank you very much everyboday, it’s a pleasure to be here tonight’ and the band left the stage. That would have been the end but a few cheers, claps, whistles and shouts of ‘More! More!’ or was it ‘StOp, sToP?’ Whatever! It was obvious the crowd wanted more and band did indeed come back on and Jacob asked Oliver Twist style ‘More motherfuckers! You guys want more?’ but before one more song we were told that it was someone’s birthday and that someone was Vega. A cake complete with candles was brought out as the crowd made some noise Vega blew them out then hugged the cake man. I couldn’t see how many candles were on the cake and didn’t get offered any after! Jacob announced ‘Not going to stop rock and roll! We are called StOp, sToP and the next song is called StOp, sToP’ an anthemic glam rock song with screaming riffage which had Jacob bounding around like a whirling dervish. A funky bass beat along to the Pink Panther theme tune had Jacob down in audience, and I realised the significance of the pink feather boa! The song merged into a bit of Deep Purple’s Black Night then Jacob then made his way back on to the stage and the song blended seamlessly back into StOp, sToP and the audience were joining in with the Whoa, whoa, whoas and chanting StOp, sToP. Then to finish the band played a cover of Guns N’ Roses’ I Used To Love Her which had both Jacob and Vega bouncing and after some bows from the band it really was time to StOp, sToP !
I had spotted a couple of mohawks in audience, which I wouldn’t necessarily have expected at a StOp, sToP show but they were actually heavier and punkier than when I’ve seen them before. A great party band. A bit glammy, a bit punky, a bit sleazy and first and foremost great fun!
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