In a refreshing change to £60+ arena shows, the current Ten/serpentine/white widow tour, dubbed a ‘mini firefest’ by many gave punters no excuse not to follow this tour, 3 great bands for £12.50, bargain of the week right there I think.
After rave reviews the tour hit the Railway venue in Bolton on a hot, sweaty and sticky Monday night, the doors opened at 7pm, and by 7.15 when White Widdow came onstage, the venue was already packed, and it was getting hot.
White Widdow came crashing onto the stage, opening up with ‘cry wolf’, followed quickly by ‘one more day’ and ‘strangers in the night’, this was no- nonsense Aussie style rock, and they gave it their all in a very energetic 30 minute solid performance, Jules Milas sounding far better than he did at Firefest, last October.
Backed by a solid rhythm section and complimented beautifully by guitarist Enzio Almanzi, who showed style and flare to match Jules entertaining, and sometimes flamboyant showmanship, White Widdow won the crowd over easily, ending on a high with ‘ Broken Hearts Won’t Last Forever’
Next up, Serpentine, a band on every AOR fans lips at the moment, and another band who had won over many new fans at last years Firefest.Cheeky chappie singer Matt Black is unique in the world of rock, as he is also a stand up comic, at least that is what he tells us in the breaks between songs, Me ?, I think he’s a better singer than he is a comedian.
There’s no denying the sheer power in Matts voice, laying the ghost of Tony Mills firmly to rest, he stamps his authority all over Serpentine’s songs, opening with ‘Deep Down’ (There’s A Price For Love) followed by ‘Lonely nights’ had the crowd singing along.
A change of pace with ‘Philadelphia’ before the gorgeous ‘In my blood’ had everybody’s attention.
Before the next track (which happens to be my favorite ) Matt took the opportunity to joke with a fan who had travelled all the way from Sunderland, only the jack-the-lad persona of Matt could get away with this before leading the crowd in a rousing applause of thanks to the fan, for travelling so far.
The next song, and one I never tire of hearing was ‘Heartbreak Town’, this has an incredible chorus, that just goes on and on and on, and Matt nailed it tonight, as you knew he would, big time.
If you can ever drag your eyes away from Matt, there is a wealth of talent on that stage, from the shuddering bass lines of Gareth Vanstone, Drummer Roy Millward, the super slick guitar playing of Chris Gould, through to the keyboard player extraordinaire, Gareth David Noon.
Chris gets a chance to shine on tracks like “A Touch Of Heaven” and “Dreamer”, both guitar laden tracks, allowing Chris to let rip with some great fret work and beautiful thoughtful solo’s, sometimes less is more.
Serpentine close the show with the now fan favorite ‘Whatever Heartache’ the whole venue was singing along to this one, a great way to end the set, from a great band. Magic.
1 Deep Down (There’s A Price For Love)
2 Lonely Nights
4 In My Blood
5 Heartbreak Town
6 A Touch Of Heaven
8 Whatever Heartache
Any doubts that some people may have had over whether Ten or Serpentine should be headlining this tour were quickly squashed as Gary Hughes took to the stage to thunderous applause, by now everybody was soaked with sweat, it was a hot in there tonight, very hot, but the crowd gave there all in welcoming Ten back to the touring circuit after being away from it for so long.
Ten opened with “Endless Symphony”, the opening song from their latest album “Stormwarning” , back in time for the next track, taken from the fourth album, the title track “Spellbound”, a quick acknowledge to the crowd, before Gary introduced the next song based loosely on the story of the Mary Celeste, ‘“Ten Fathom’s Deep”, by now the place was very hot, very sweaty and very rocking.
‘After The Love Has Gone’, taken from the very first Ten album released in 96, is a firm fan favorite and went down well as did ‘Book Of Secrets’ and ‘The Hourglass And The Landslide’ both taken from “Stormwarning”. It was obvious Ten were here to sing songs from the new album, and were not on a nostalgia trip down memory lane. With Just enough new songs to keep the setlist fresh, and just enough classics to keep the fans happy, Ten could do no wrong tonight.
Ten like to write grand songs about epic tales, so it was no surprise that ‘ The Robe’ was included in the setlist, featuring some furious drumming from Max Yates.
“Love Song”, the only ballad of Ten’s set followed, giving the band a little breather after the epic 9 minute ‘The Robe’
The classic rock sounds of ‘Red’, got the room rocking once more, with Dan Mitchell playing out of his skin on a 7 stringed guitar, and that was the end of the show, though not quite, as Ten still had one more Ace to play, and was “The Name Of The Rose”, an absolute giant of a song to bring an almost perfect evening to an end.
All three bands played flawlessly, and it would be unfair to pick out who was best on the night, for those of you who were there, then you will have your own opinions, for those of you who weren’t there, why not!
You won’t get this kind of quality live music for £12.50 again in a hurry.
1 Endless Symphony
3 Ten Fathoms Deep
4 After The Love Is Gone
5 Book Of Secrets
6 The Hourglass And The Landslide
7 The Robe
8 Love Song
10 The Name Of The Rose