Live Review: Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot!

Three time Grammy award winner and seasoned Rockabilly veteran Brian Setzer marked his return to London for the first time in six years last Tuesday (11/07/17), playing the only U.K show in his European tour at the O2 Kentish Town Forum.

London is a significant place for Brian Setzer, being the city that the Stray Cats, the Rockabilly revival band made it’s inception in 1981 after travelling from Long Island, New York to join in with the Rocker revival happening in Britain at the time.

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“Hello London!” Setzer at his first London flat. / Source: @briansetzerofficial (Facebook)

With a crowd both young and old the streets of Kentish Town were lined up with rockers clad in leather and pomp’s up high. With a career spanning over 40 years and indulging in not just Rockabilly but Jazz too, London welcomed him with open arms.

Setzer’s presence was known as he walked on stage in a classy pinstripe suit donning his orange Gretsch as his musical hero Eddie Cochran would have done. His Rockabilly Riot included the regular, orthodox line up of an upright bassist and drummer, with the inclusion of a pianist (rhythm guitarist for numerous songs) and went straight into a cover of Carl Perkins ‘Put Your Cat Clothes On’, which emanated a certain suaveness.

Setzer; in his pinstripe suit donning his orange Gretsch, during the opening song. / Source: Christina Vigh (Youtube)

The show was what you would expect from Setzer and his entourage to this date, a humble showcase of Setzer’s career spanning from the Stray Cats, with a welcoming performance of Cry Baby, from the cats revival era album Choo Choo Hot Fish to his Orchestra which included a delightful performance of his Louis Prima cover of ‘Jump, Jive an’ Wail’.

Setzer continued to play a collection of songs throughout his career, including ‘Slow Down’, which lead into a cover of ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ with a career with as much longevity as Setzer, he worked his charm and the entire crowd joined in.

Inbetween songs, Setzer would work that charm and converse in stories of rock and roll and the occasional memoir, one of which talking about Dave Edmunds and the original recording of Runaway Boys, leading into a dual guitar rendition “the way it was recorded”.

But of course, many of the audience were most likely there for the love they share for Setzer’s primary band The Stray Cats, and fans walked away content hearing the bands popular tracks, including ‘Stray Cat Strut’ and ‘Rumble In Brighton’, the latter being fitting of the Cats inception in the U.K.

Whilst the performance itself was a spectacle, I felt the sound of the venue could have been better; notably the pianist, who was playing Jerry Lee Lewis “staccato” styled licks adding to the authenticity of the performance, whilst a welcoming feature, the live mix would boost the solo’s to an uncomfortable rate, often being muddled in the mix, this was also the case with a couple of the guitar solos, mayhap my position in the venue did not help being front & center.

It’s hard to talk about a performance like this and not mention the virtuosity of the bands playing, from the incredible speeds and textures of the upright bassist, to the Jazz influenced Rockabilly style that Setzer has crafted in the latter part of his career, the subtlety of showing off technique and skill in a humble way, Setzer gives off a vibe of enjoying his craft, from the instrumental version of the 1950’s classic ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky’, all the way to the encore of his version of Santo & Johnny’s ‘Sleepwalk’, a bittersweet conclusion to the show before blasting into the final song ‘Rock This Town’.

Brian Setzer, and his Rockabilly Riot are currently in the middle of their European tour. With the upcoming 40th anniversary of the Stray Cats debut album coming up next year, we may (or may not) be seeing more of him very soon.

Source: Christina Vigh (Youtube)

Setlist;

  1. Put Your Cat Clothes On (Carl Perkins cover)
  2. Rumble In Brighton
  3. Vinyl Records
  4. Stray Cat Strut
  5. Nothing Is A Sure Thing, Baby
  6. Stiletto Cool
  7. Cry Baby
  8. ’49 Mercury Blues
  9. Whatshername
  10. Drive Light Lightning
  11. Slow Down (Folsom Prison Blues, Johnny Cash cover)
  12. Gene & Eddie
  13. Blue Moon Of Kentucky (Bill Monroe & The Bluegrass Boys cover)
  14. Runaway Boys
  15. Jump Jive An’ Wail (Louis Prima cover)
  16. Fishnet Stockings
  17. Let’s Shake
  18. Sleepwalk (Santo & Johnny cover)
  19. Rock This Town

Track Review: ‘Taxing Times’ by Savannah

The British invasion is far from dead as the ‘Biggest Band In Dawley’ Savannah shout out against oppression with their latest rock anthem ‘Taxing Times’.

The new release is a statement that rock and roll is stronger than ever and plan on putting their mark on the map with their “Madchester” inspired sound. The Shropshire based band are reaching new heights breaking out of their small town and reinvigorating a sound that is reminiscent of the 90’s Britpop era of rock and roll.

The linear structure delivers the subject directly to the listener without overbearing distractions, giving the listener face value and a nostalgic sound that fans old and new will instantly find familiar with this tune.

The song features an anthemic style, with a melody that will most likely be stuck in your head for a while upon listening, with a simple yet catchy pop hook in the chorus which instantly grabs your attention. Including a bridge with a call-and-response stadium rock feel akin to Oasis and The Stone Roses.

Familiarity is a focal point in this track, you are instantly drawn to the characterised vocals and the lo-fi, fuzzy guitars à la Blur, which brings a lot of girth to the track, yet no Britpop track is complete with a set of chords that enforce that “jangly” tonality, ‘Taxing Times’ delivers just that.

Overall, the track feels like a nostalgic yet refreshing trip back to the 90s, Savannah have encapsulated and reminded us of what is most loved about the Britpop era and proving that rock and roll truly is not dead.

Taxing Times is released on the 21/07/2017, for now you can check out their latest content on their social media platforms;

https://www.youtube.com/user/UKSavannah/videos

www.facebook.com/savannahuk

https://twitter.com/uksavannah

https://www.instagram.com/savannahuk/

www.savannahuk.co.uk

Adam Lanceley Returns with ‘Back To The Sunshine’ EP

After being involved in a horrific car crash during his childhood, Adam Lanceley was told he would not walk or talk again. However, he proved the Doctors wrong, showing unprecedented levels of grit and determination to make a full recovery and even run the London Marathon for the Brain and Spine Foundation. As well as this, Adam has forged himself a career in music, recording 5 albums and releasing the new EP, ‘Back To The Sunshine’ on 7th April.

At the time of his accident, not a lot of research had been done into the treatment of brain and spinal injuries, so Adam knows first-hand how traumatic the recovery process can be when the expertise is simply not available.

The Brain and Spine foundation was also in its formative stages when Adam sustained his injuries, but now he is donating all proceeds from sales of the EP to the charity. He says: ‘I know it is a charity well worth supporting so that the trauma is reduced for future sufferers and I am committed to trying to help as much as I can’.

With his new EP, Back To The Sunshine, Adam has been keen to experiment with new production methods and instrumentation whilst still maintaining his signature style. Whilst Adam has been compared to the likes of Lou Reed, Nick Cave and Johnny Cash, he takes inspiration from a wide range of artists including R.E.M, Roy Orbison and most significantly, The Beach Boys. As a result, Adam creates a genre-bending blend of music that evokes a definitive sunny, West Coast vibe.

On a songwriting level, a mix of factors help Adam form the ideas for his songs, but recently he has been looking to his past for inspiration. Locations from Adam’s childhood, in particular, have sparked ideas for him and he has turned these memories into introspective pieces of music that create a mystical grandeur of the power of reminiscing.

 

Links:

https://play.spotify.com/artist/0UFbDrAYa0cnAp41cQnyNb

https://twitter.com/AdamLanceley

https://www.facebook.com/adamlanceleymusic/?fref=ts

https://soundcloud.com/adam-129087330

http://www.brainandspine.org.uk/adams-story

Live Review Cody Pennington with Si Cranstoun at The Borderline

Nestled in the heart of Soho, I found myself at a small club that seemed very reminiscent of a dive bar. Posters littered the wall and the floor was a bit…sticky. It was great. I had come to The Borderline for a chance to experience Cody Pennington in person. Once the lights dimmed, he stepped onto the stage wearing his normal snazzy getup composed of a waistcoat and tie, purple shoes, and slim fit jeans. He plugged in his acoustic and introduced himself, “Good evening everyone, I’m Cody Pennington, and I’ll be starting this show out tonight.”
He started the gig with two songs from his newest EP, “To Be Me”, I’m Afraid and About Love. Gently playing the opening riff to I’m Afraid, he slowly quieted the crowd to the point of hearing a pin drop. He created an intimate atmosphere that only an acoustic and vocalist could achieve. To which he followed-up with About Love. This track was a change of pace and got the crowd tapping their feet. Very somber lyrics hid behind this happy melody and it was true story-telling at its best.
Carrying on with the upbeat-ness, Cody introduced the next song as “one we would recognize.” The kick drum pounded, while he accented the down beat with a harmonic. I had no idea what this song was until he began singing. He started the first lines of the popular song Royals, and it instantly got my attention. He morphed this song into a spawn of Rock and Pop, building up the song and bringing down the house in the chorus.
Mr. Pennington continued with a few more covers of very noticeable songs, to include Your Love by The Outfield and I Can’t Make you Love Me by American singer, Bonnie Raitt. Both incredibly emotional performances that completely pushed Cody’s vocal range to the tip-top, and that is pretty far. My jaw nearly dropped at the note Cody went for (and GOT) in the second half of Your Love.
To close the show, Cody blew the crowd away with his version of Dirty Diana by the late/great Michael Jackson. This song kept me interested from beginning to end. The crowd shared the same sentiment as they erupted in applause after his final note. This song is actual planned to be released as a single along with a music video, so be sure to look for that.
Cody Pennington only took 30 minutes (albeit not the ENTIRE 30 minutes) to swing my judgment on whether or not I would like him. From a first-person perspective, I must say, I’m a fan.

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Si Cranstoun was discovered busking on the streets of Cambridge, he was then picked up by a manager and later got signed to Warners. Since then he has gone on to support The Overtones on a nationwide tour.
With his music being compared with the likes of Jackie Wilson and Sam Cook, it looks like vintage is about to make a come back…