Another fantastic night at Eleven in Stoke as Bad Touch played their finest set I’ve seen from them over the last five years, supported by Aaron Buchanan & The Cult Classics and Daxx & Roxane making it the best gig I’ve attended so far in 2018.
Touring on the back of their latest album Shake A leg, the headliners chose to play a whopping nine songs from it during their fifteen song set. Kicking off with a triumphant trio of them, ‘Show Me What It Means’ was a riff heavy start with lead vocalist Stevie Westwood tossing his curls whilst emitting some mighty howls. With no pause for breath they launched straight into current single ‘Lift Your Head Up’, an ACDC tinged headbanger as the catchy funk of ‘Movin On Up’ was introduced as “We’re gonna get heavy for ya”. ‘Good On Me’ from debut album Half Way Home’ was a feel good party number that incorporated a few verses of ‘Sharp Dressed Man’.
‘Hammer Falls’, the first of another new song trio was a full on black eyed bruiser, one of the heaviest tracks on Shake A Leg bolstered up by the strong backing vocals from drummer George Drewry as ‘Tussle’ was a slice of retro rhythm and blues and ‘Take Me Away’ grooved along on prominent bass lines from Michael Bailey. Time stood still for me as my favourite song ‘Take Your Time’, a heart wrenching ballad saw Stevie hung on to every note in its emotional chorus and rapturous cheers proved its quality. Spirits were raised by the powerchord heaven of ‘My Mother Told Me’ and ‘Skyman’ contained snippets of ‘Still Of The Night’. ‘Believe In Me’, the second thrilling ballad played was made more potent by a bluesy guitar solo.
“For all the cowboys out there” saw ‘Outlaw’ get feet tapping throughout its melodic stomp as set closer ‘Down’ was introduced as an “Old song when we were young and full of beans”. It was another full on rocker with a drum heavy outro. Loud cheers from a near full venue saw them return for two encores. ‘Dressed To Kill’ bounced along on sleazy guitar lines and another sure fire crowd pleaser ‘Ninety Nine Percent’ got us belting the chorus back to the band.
Credit is due to the headliners for bringing along two strong support bands so first up were the totally bonkers Daxx & Roxane from Switzerland but now London based. They had the songs and the showmanship to fire up a decent sized crowd early on in the evening as they kicked off with the first class ‘Ticket To Rock’ that surged out like a zippier ‘Live Wire’, the ACDC song not the bollocks Crue one. Frontman Cedric Pfister hammered out bass lines along with his lung shredding vocals and some hilarious Priest style choreography cropped up when lead guitarist Cal Wymann took the spotlight. “Let’s get this party started” came the call and they sure did as ‘Girl Next Door’ grooved with aplomb. Things got heavier as the riffs hit hard, as did the three way vocals during ‘What Was’. ‘Interstallar’ featured a crowd visit from rhythm guitarist Simon Golaz with a bottle of Tequila and it damn well tasted good as did the songs good old fashioned rock and roll vibes. ‘Leaving For Tomorrow’ was their most commercial song but still kicked out the jams. Another aptly named tune ‘Hard Rockin’ Man’ was foot to the floor NWOBHM with a brief harmonica piece which took me back to the Old Grey Whistle Test theme tune. Set closer ‘Wrong Side’ came far too soon as its bombast shook the P.A system to the core featuring an outrageous lengthy Angus Young like guitar solo. Hope to see these guys again real soon!
The lunacy prevailed as Aaron Buchanan & The Cult Classics absolutely blew me away! First thing I noticed as they opened with ‘Left Me For Dead’ was there were five focal points in the band so the showmanship bar was raised high from the off, especially the strutting peacock moves from frontman Aaron as his sister Laurie traded riffs with Tom McCarthy. ‘Fire Fire’ was a full on cover of the first of three Heavens Basement tunes whom Aaron used to front. ‘The Devil That Needs You’ was a wall of sound riffing and lung busting vocals with Aaron covering every inch of the stage. ‘I Am Electric’ could have been his theme tune with an auctioneer like rapid fire vocal and the pace quickened as it veered off into a thrashy, trashy mid section. Pantomime season seemed to arrive a month early as the tongue in cheek titled ‘Dancin’ Down Below’ flew along including soundbites of ‘Paranoid’, ‘I Was Made For Loving You’ and ‘Can’t Stand Losing You’. Everywhere I looked there was a sea of smiling faces and they left us with a double whammy of ‘Heartbreaking Son Of A Bitch’ and the cataclysmic ‘Morals’ an adrenaline musical and vocal tour de force!
Thanks go to Kriz-P for the use of his Daxx And Roxane photo.