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The Union/Blackwolf Manchester Academy 3 Monday 11th February 2013

The Union are a English Rock band formed in 2009 by ex Thunder guitarist Luke Morley and Peter Shoulder ( ex Winterville) and who are about to embark on a ten day UK tour in support of their latest album, “The World Is Yours” which had it’s worldwide release on 11th Febuary.
Blackwolf, are the support group who are Bristol based and whose only previous appearance on the big stage was at last year’s Hard Rock Hell VI.However they have been on the UK Touring circuit for the last six months, steadily gaining a following.
I went along on a cold Wednesday night the 13th February, which saw the opening night of the tour at the Manchester Academy 3, to see if the support band with a fan-base half the age of the Union could mix it with the big boys?

blackwolf logoThe place quickly began filling up and through the purple haze of stage lights I could see the crowds age gave away the fact that these where mainly Union fans.
I myself had purposely not sampled any of Blackwolf’s music to put myself in a neutral position; I wanted to hear the band live for the first time.
Having met the guys from Blackwolf just an hour earlier I knew a bit of background about them and how excited they were to be supporting such an accomplished outfit such as The Union.
Black Wolf “cuts it’s teeth” supporting The Union on their UK tour.
The Five piece from Bristol opened with Mr Maker and it wasn’t long before the crowd forgot the cold trek they had taken to get here , warmed by Scott Sharp’s melodic voice which has a superb range, they played a set list of eight songs with two songs taken from their debut EP “Taking Root“.
Imagine Skid Row meets the Darkness meets Gary Moore and your halfway there, whose energy was infectious considering the small stage in which they had to perform. With the foot tapping beats and fist in the air choruses with rich undertones of blues and soul it wasn’t long before their charisma was spreading through the crowd like a bushfire through the outback.
By the time the cymbals had settled on their last song it was clear to see that these guys where natural performers who owned the stage and won over the crowd.
Not surprising really as they have a strong management team behind them and the guys just love making and playing music with a strong commitment to rehearse even though Scott , the lead singer earlier informed me he travelled an hour to rehearse several times a week.
Considering this band had only been formed with this line up a little over twelve months ago they performed like seasoned pros and I think Scott has given them direction and the impetus to write new material. I think acoustic would also suit his voice.
Kicking off in Manchester and finishing in Bristol with the guys supporting all but Ballymena, the fan-base is increasing daily on their Facebook page and they must be excited by the reaction of the paying public.
A short interlude gave me the chance to gauge the reaction of the crowd and the overall opinion was that Blackwolf went down a storm.
Blackwolf: A definite future headliner? I think so.
Mr Maker
Blackhole Friend
Keep Moving On
Stairway Ticket

The time had come for the Union to take centre stage and the crowd where ready to hear what the magical fingers of Morley and the emotive powerful vocals of Shoulder; who seems to have the skill of switching from husky rocker to melodic ballad singer at the drop of a hat could have achieved since their last album “ Siren’s song “.
They played a extensive set ranging from the soft like “ Tonight I’m Alive “ which sounds like “ I won’t back down “ by Tom Petty strangely enough to heavier moodier offerings like “ The world is yours “ , which has a distinct big movie soundtrack feel.
Shoulder held the audience, as he held on to every last note in the rock ballads while Morley’s genius at the guitar transported us through Country to Classic rock .
Not guys to sit back on their laurels after individually having successful music careers, their love for writing and playing music shows in this third album which means there is longevity to the Union’s music. As long as they want to keep writing and playing their fans will want to listen.

“The World is yours “is an accomplished effort, the ultimate top down, chasing the sunset chill out album.
I can see it gracing many a glove box, this album appeals to all listeners and surely a future nominee for Classic Rock Magazines “Album of the year“ 2013.
SETLIST.the union
Step Up To The Plate
You’re My Jesus
Tangled Up In You
Cut The Line
The Perfect Crime
The World Is Yours
Tonight I’m Alive
Black Monday
Fading Out Of Love
Black Gold
Siren’s Song

To Say Goodbye
Watch The River Flow

The World is yours is available from most retail and online outlets .
Taking root debut EP by Blackwolf is available online at Reverbnation and Spotify .

Review and Photos by George Ellis.
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About David Farrell

General Manager and 'THE' competition guy at planetmosh.com. Manager of The Goddanm Electric www.thegde.co.uk, Tour manager for Serpentine, and ex-general Dogsbody at Hammerfest.co.uk. Media partner to numerous bands. Also takes photos, writes reviews and likes classic rock, with a touch of thrash to get the blood flowing.