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The Classic Grand, Glasgow
Saturday 26th September 2015

Johnny Main: Photos by Carlan Braid

johnny main


Glaswegian quartet Stoneface are making a name for themselves on the live scene and it’s no mystery why. After the release of their self-titled debut album earlier this year, the band have managed to secure a string of high profile gigs that keep their fans coming back for more.

This support spot for Skiltron had the band making sure they gave everything they could to convert those who hadn’t seen them before but this turned out to be anything than straightforward.

New song ‘Spitting Blood’ kicked off the set with a modest crowd at the front. Perhaps the reason is that there’s a sci-fi event being held in the downstairs bar, and those manning the venue entrance had elected to have one single queue for entry to both events as opposed to splitting it into two, so some of those that should be in the venue enjoying the Stoneface set, were still queuing outside. br>

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Stoneface did their best, though, and carried on with ‘Food For The Crows’ which is among their best tracks. The sound was pretty murky, however, making it difficult to work out what front man Stewart Storrie was actually singing, but he still does his best despite the overpowering bass guitar sound.

Guitarist Grant Walsh played a good solo, which came across clearly in the mix, as Storrie bounces around the stage trying to get the audience at the crowd barrier moving.

“(There’s) not much chat as we'll try and get as many songs down as we can", Storrie explained before the slow and moody intro to ‘Pressing Down, which is a personal favourite of mine.

Drummer Kevin Mackie played a solid beat while bass player Rick Walsh added some backing vocals during the chorus as Storrie enigmatically paced the stage. There was a good reception at the end of the song, though, which is certainly deserved.


The audience began to fill out as the band launched into ‘Lost Without You’ which has a great guitar intro and had a couple of head bangers down the front doing their thing. The vocals were much clearer by this point as the sound man seemed to sort out the issues, and gave Storrie the chance to show what he can really do, as he turned in his best performance of the evening – full of passion, he showed how much this song obviously means to him.

The band squeeze in another couple of new tracks, ‘Holes In The Ocean’ and ‘Strong’ with Rick Walsh kicking off the former whilst his brother Grant Walsh added in some subtle guitar nuances to the intro. It’s a good mid-paced number and got a couple more people from the back of the room down to the front of the stage.


The latter is a slow bass driven number which had heads bobbing as Storrie menacingly paced the stage. The pace picked up for the guitar solo which is one of the best of the night as the number of head bangers down the front continued to grow.

The band’s new single, ‘Superhero’ went down well and that's promising bearing in mind the official video launch is next week. Let's hope the band went downstairs after their set to plug the single to the sci-fi geeks that were probably still queuing to get in downstairs!

Storrie did his best to get the crowd involved during the chorus and he was met with an enthusiastic response.


The band’s set ended with ‘Fortunate Son’ which had Rick Walsh taking centre stage before Storrie managed to reclaim it. It’s a solidly fast paced number to end on and again the bass guitar sound dominated the song.

Grant Walsh played a great solo and even managed to elicit some deliberate feedback from the amps to just the right level - never an easy thing to do and even more so on stage. A good overall performance which was hampered by persistent sound issues out of the band’s control, but as any band does, they did their best in a bad situation.

Stoneface Set List:
Spitting Blood
Food For The Crows
Pressing Down
Lost Without You
Holes In The Ocean
Step To The End/FTJ
Fortunate Son

Stoneface are:
Stewart Storrie – Vocals
Grant Walsh – Guitar
Rick Walsh – Bass Guitar
Kevin Mackie – Drums

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Argentinian folk/power Metal band Skiltron have been around since 2004, and this stop in Glasgow marked the end of their first full ever UK tour.

Having travelled the length and breadth of the UK with their energetic show, it was one last hurrah for them. Having already graced stages in Edinburgh and Aberdeen, Skiltron looked overjoyed to finally grace a Glasgow stage for the first time in over two years – and a much bigger stage than they performed on the last time.

‘The Vision of Blind Harry’ kicks the band’s set off with the bagpipes of Pereg Ar Bagol and guitar of Emilio Souto slowly introducing the song until the thundering bass guitar comes in, and like Stoneface before it, the bass guitar seemed to be the over-riding sound on stage.

Front man Martin McManus makes his entrance and greets the audience to a huge cheer as he immediately took centre stage with his incredible voice. The fast mid-section saw guitarist Emilio Souto playing a great looking solo but it was dwarfed by the sound of everything else unfortunately.

The chorus has the crowd punching the air and happily singing along as local muso John Clark Paterson slipped onstage for a cameo performance, on what looked like a mandolin.


‘By Sword and Shield’ was next, and fast and furious was the name of the game here with drummer Bouzouki Matias Pena thrashing out the beat while Bagol moved on and off stage throughout the song. There was some interplay between Bagol and McManus, which had the crowd laughing along whilst the bass guitarist Ignacio Lopez was a mass of hair as he head banged away.

McManus is a great front man, thought, who really had the audience in the palm of his hand as they jostled around at the front trying to get a better view.

‘On The Trail Of David Ross’ had some pre-recorded drumming as Bagol once again takes centre stage with his bagpipes. Pena pounded out the bass drum beat getting the crowd clapping along as the track slowly built up.

The band’s overall sound seemed to have settled down by this point, and the slower tempo gave the crowd a breather from all the jumping around. It wasn’t for long, though, as ‘This Crusade’ resumed the fast pace although the intro is unfortunately marred by some feedback.

The song got the crowd energised though, as the masses down the front head banged and punched the air without much encouragement needed from McManus who shone here with a great performance that showcased his fantastic voice and stage presence.

Lopez and Souto took centre stage during the instrumental section which saw Souto playing a great extended (and audible) solo.

“You’re a great audience tonight” says McManus before adding "better than Wacken!" with a wry smile on his face before the slower paced ‘One Way Journey’ which provided more respite for the audience perhaps, but the band still give one hundred percent to their performance.


The spectre of feedback returned once again however, taking some of the shine off the performance. ‘The Gael’ (originally penned by Dougie MacLean) gave McManus a break, and was the only instrumental of the set. It was left to Bagol to take centre stage as Lopez head banged his way through the song.

Souto tried his best to muscle in on the centre stage action towards the end of the number, but Bagol stood his ground during the onstage japery. ‘Praying Is Nothing’ had Souto taking the lead vocals for a change, and he made a solid enough job of it and, again, his guitar solo was well performed.

‘Stirling Bridge’ had Pena pounding out the drum beat once again as the audience sang along and McManus demonstrated the power of his voice with some well sung high notes showing how good he really is.

‘Bagpipes of War’ is another mid-paced number that had the crowd punching the air one again while a group of hardcore fans had banged their way through the number. It’s another good performance from McManus and as the pace quickens it’s Pena who takes centre stage with a great display before the song climaxes with a blood curdling scream from McManus.

There’s no let up as the band burst into ‘Lion Rampant’ which had the band and audience punching the air as the bagpipes took centre stage and a loud cheer goes up as McManus unfurls a lion rampant flag.

One of the biggest cheers of the evening goes to the band’s title song, ‘Skiltron’ as McManus gets the crowd to shout as loud as they can before Pena ramps up the power with a relentless drum beat. McManus paces the stage trying to get everyone in the hall moving and hardly a soul wasn’t singing along. Souto and Bagol entertain themselves by playing off each other before Souto plays one of his best solos of the night.


Set closer was the AC/DC classic ‘It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)’ which was always going to be a winner, more so in Glasgow, where the Young brothers were born of course.

This well done cover featured a guest vocalist in the form of Frank Knight (current vocalist with Knightwood and in the past has sung for ex-AC/DC drummer Chris Slade’s band), who got the crowd singing and dancing along one final time.

Despite the overall sound issues that were beyond the control of both bands, it was a great evening, and a great way for Skiltron to end their first ever full UK tour.

Skiltron Set List:
The Vision of Blind Harry
By Sword and Shield
On the Trail of David Ross
This Crusade
The Brave's Revenge
One Way Journey
The Gael
Hate Dance
Praying Is Nothing
Stirling Bridge
Bagpipes of War
Lion Rampant
The Bonfire Alliance
It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)

Skiltron are:
Martin McManus – Vocals
Emilio Souto – Guitar
Pereg Ar Bagol – Bagpipes
Ignacio Lopez – Bass Guitar
Bouzouki Matias Pena – Drums

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