Toseland – Manchester Academy 3 – 30th September 2014

J Toseland 17

Having seen Toseland supporting Sebastian Bach at the same venue, Manchester Academy 3, earlier this year I was looking forward to seeing a headline show. Toseland is the rock band fronted by former Motorcycle racer and World Superbike Champion James Toseland.

Electric River 1
Electric River

Support came in the form of Electric River a four piece Punk/Rock n Roll band from London and Ashford. Opening their set with Calling Out a fast punky number starting as they meant to go on. Front man (singer and bass player) Sponge did most of the talking between songs and, he said he knew there weren’t many in yet but, we were going to have a good time anyway! Whilst the venue wasn’t sold out it wasn’t a bad turn out for a Tuesday in Manchester which clashed with a Man City game either. Queen of Hearts and In Your Name followed, both tracks of their album ‘Faith and Patience’ which was released on the 2nd June 2014. Sponge said he hoped we liked the latter and I did, it had a good catchy drum beat.

Electric River 2
Electric River

Hold Your Nerve had some fabulous screams from Sponge, who then said they had a different kind of song for us Keep the Faith which started slowly then sped up. Electric River reminded me of bands such as Big Country, The Alarm and SLF. The penultimate song is the song which got them a support slot with The Levellers and is their next single which was released only this week Keep the Engine Burning and Sponge said ‘Hopefully you can catch on to the lyrics they’re not that hard’ and a few people managed and were singing along. My friend thought they sounded very much like Ten Pole Tudor and with it’s good bass line I thought this song was a little reminiscent of Bow Wow Wow’s Wild in the Country Coming to the end Sponge thanked us all for coming out on a week night and supporting live music. The final song from Electic River was Chorus of Fire and with the ‘Whoa whoas’ from the guys on backing vocals and the word Fire I thought of Sex On Fire by Kings of Leon. Sponge asked us for some help for one little bit and, it wasn’t with the lyrics, it was with some ‘Aw aw aw aws’ which were like a punk rock Tarzan call. A few would be Johnny Weismuller wannabe’s in the audience joined in. The final words from Sponge ‘Thank you very much. We’ve been Electric River. Have a great evening, come see us at the merch stand, have a beer with us! Love you all’ thus ending a great set from the four guys from down South.

Set List:

Electric River
Electric River

Calling Out
Queen of Hearts
In Your Name
Hold Your Nerve
Leap of Faith
Keep the Engines Burning
Chorus of Fire

Band Members:
Sponge – Bass & Vocals
Chris Aldis- Guitar
Will Whisson- Guitar & Vocals
Alex Mayland- Drums

Facebook Page

Interview with Sponge:

J Toseland 1

After a short interval it was time for the headliner Toseland. Drummer Matthew Eldridge was first to take to the stage, then the guitarists joined him and they all played an instrumental before James Toseland hit the stage and announced ‘Manchester! Alright! Let’s Go!’ and launched into Gotta Be a Better Way a catchy number which immediately got people clapping. Burning the System with it’s drum start came next and James divested himself of his leather jacket. I thought that was a bit of a Deep Purple type song and after that one James thanked us all for coming out on a Tuesday and said ‘We’re going to put the best show we can on for you. Hope you enjoy it’ Not sure what happened next but there was a false start which seemed to be the drummer starting too early and James joked that he was glad it wasn’t him.  Life is Beautiful with it’s strong bass line reminding me of Faith No More’s We Care a Lot in places then got off the starting block.

Roger Davies
Roger Davis

James then told us that as shows go this was good fun, he said he enjoyed playing, even though his brother in law was in the band which was ‘A bit incestual but we get that in the North’ It’s fair to say that throughout the gig all of the looked to be enjoying themselves and none more so than bass man Roger Davis, who was often an the front encouraging the audience to clap. Next came Coming to Get Ya with some fabulous screaming riffs and a short but sweet drum solo for which James said ‘Thank you’ to Matthew and asked him ‘Had your Lucozade did you?’ Apparently the gig they had played in Cambridge the night before had been the hottest gig they had ever played. James said they had played with Sebastian Bach ‘Don’t know if anyone saw us?’ and there were a few whoops to indicate that people had, me being one of them. Emergency a great rocking song came next, after which James said that it was nice to be back in the North and he would be going to see his family in Sheffield the following day. He told us he’d ‘Done four gigs on the trot. So if I sound like Rod Stewart’ then asked if we wanted to hear something new and some yeahs indicated that we did. Broken Bones was another song with a Deep Purple vibe (aptly for James Toseland) Highway Star with some great riffage.


James then informed us that he has been writing his second album with Toby Jepson of Little Angels and he’s got about 10 ideas for songs and a keyboard was brought on stage. The next one was the ballad off the album and he’s just done a video for it which was due to come out in a couple of days (it was published on YouTube on 2nd October see link below). He also advised that there was a ‘Really hot chick in it. Not the missus so don’t tell her’ but then went on to say ‘she’s obviously hotter, saved myself again!’ (both the model and Katie are lovely so I’m not going to comment as to who may be hotter but it’s nice that James said his missus was hotter – obviously not been married a long time!) The song Just No Way is a lovely ballad a bit like G ‘n R’s November Rain crossed with Aerosmith’s Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.

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The piano was also required for the next song Kingdoms which started off mellow then got louder and heavier a bit Ozzy Osbourne’s No More Tears meets U2’s New Years Day. A cracking cover of The Teardrop Explodes’ Reward came next which saw all the band (except the drummer) at the front the front of stage for some great riffs. After a round of applause James said ‘Thank you very much Manchester. Much appreciated’ He said he’d done it himself with these guys, that is, sold over ten thousand copies of his début album Renegade before we got another new one Closer I get the Less I See which had a bit of bullet drumming at the end. James said he would keep us posted at to when the new album would be out although it would probably be some time next year. Then came the last song of the main set Singer in a Band a great rocking song to finish on a high, which saw a couple of the guitarists doing a machine gun pose, some Van Halen style riffage, and had everyone clapping. Before a thank you and good night and the band left the stage smiling and looking to be on a high after a great set.


After shouts for more from the audience the keyboard was brought back and Toseland came back on for an encore. James said this has been really good and mentioned that there were only two dates left on this tour Northampton and London plus a festival in Madrid. He also said that the tour had really been good and he felt that he didn’t have to convince people any more so tonight was the chance to party. The first encore song was the title track from Toseland’s album Renegade which reminded me of Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead or Alive. James introduced us to the band. Roger Davis on bass who’s youngest daughter would be 6 tomorrow (1st October) so that one was for Daisy. Then ‘This guy became a Dad four weeks ago. On drums Matthew Eldridge’ ‘My right hand man, also my little brother – Zurab Melua’ then I couldn’t quite catch the next introduction but I think it was something about a tea trolley for Ed Bramford who treated us to a  great guitar solo then James jokingly said ‘Ok. Enough showing off for now!’ The next song was a rocking cover of Elvis Costello’s Pump It Up with a great drumbeat which has everyone clapping and James asked ‘Are you feeling it Manchester’ the response was shouts of yeah. James told us that the band would be out (by the merchandise) after the show if anyone wanted to say ‘Hi’ before we came to the very last song of the night ‘Going to leave yo with Crash Landing‘ which saw everyone tapping their feet and/or nodding their heads. James thank everyone for coming to see them tonight before the final words of the song which most appropriately are ‘This is me saying good bye’ then the show was over and the last words from James ‘Thank you. Good night’ ended a great rocking show from Toseland both the singer and the band. What’s next for James Toseland – find out in my interview to be published shortly.


Set List:
Gotta Be a Better Way
Burning the System
Life is Beautiful
Coming to Get Ya
Broken Bones
Just No Way
Reward (The Teardrop Explodes cover)
Good Eye Blind
Closer I Get the Less I See
Singer in a Band

Pump It Up (Elvis Costello Cover)
Crash Landing


Band Members:
James Toseland- Vocals/Keyboard
Ed Bramford – Guitar
Zurab Melua – Guitar
Roger Davis – Bass Guitar
Matthew Eldridge – Drums

About Louise Swift

I first went to a gig in 1981, Gillan at Leeds University. I've been a regular gig goer ever since. I haven't kept count of how many gigs I've been to over the intervening years, but it's a lot! My favourite bands are AC/DC then, in no particular order, Anti-Nowhere League, Slaughter and the Dogs, Towers of London and Dirt Box Disco. I tend to like Glam/Punk and rude offensive lyrics, not sure what that says about me but as Animal would say 'So What!' The question was recently put to me - did I write for any online publications? My reply - No, but I'd like to! Planetmosh was suggested and I found myself offering to review Aces High Festival. Easy peasy I thought! Well not quite, if a jobs worth doing it's worth doing well! I had sixteen bands to research. I found I actually enjoyed that and it kept me too busy to be making lunatic comments on Facebook! ;) Then I felt a bit inadequately qualified. I mean, who am I to comment on others, when my musical expertise extends to being able to play a mean Greensleeves on the recorder and a passable Annie's song on the flute! Haven't picked up either instrument for years! What I do have, however, is over 30 years of experience as a gig goer, so I can comment on what I like and what I don't! It's only my opinion and, if I don't like a band it doesn't mean they are bad, just not to my own liking. I admire anyone who has the guts to get up on that stage and have a go!