||STONE BROKEN ADD ROCK N' ROLL TO THE MENU AT GLASGOW'S HARD ROCK CAFE
If you haven't heard about Stone Broken and their fanatical followers, The Broken Army, then you must have been living under a rock for the past six months.
Hailing from Walsall, this quartet were recently voted runners-up in the best new band category at the 2016 Planet Rock Awards, coming second only to rising British rockers Inglorious, as well as having their debut album, 'All The Time' play listed by Kerrang! Radio and Planet Rock in the UK as well as gaining critical acclaim from MetalTalk Towers as well as from press and fans across the length of the country.
Having never witnessed Stone Broken live but having loved their album from my very first listen, I was eager to find out how well the band performed on stage and what better time to do it than at their very first show in Scotland, and a headline show to boot, with the help of a couple of up and coming Scottish bands in tow.
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I've been vaguely aware of Aberdeen based Daydream Frenzy for a while, and with their new EP, 'Ocean Air', out barely a fortnight ago, this was their chance to pull in some new fans, including myself as this was my first time live encounter with them and they really pulled out all the stops in their performance.
Frontman Donald Barclay is a man of few words as he seems to prefer to keep his inbetween song banter to a minimum. A quick "Hello" precedes 'Good Morning', which is from the new EP and features his strong guitar chords from Barclay as drummer Hamish Gordon blasts out the beat. It's Gordon who's the star on this mid paced number, however, before Barclay tries to steal the thunder with an elongated guitar solo.
Likewise 'On My Own', also from the new EP, gets a good response and the band seem to have finally found their groove as they begin to loosen up a bit. The final track from the EP, 'Shout', ends up being the band's set closer so it's clear they have confidence in their new material to elevate it to the end of their set and the truth is that the songs are not bad at all.
Of course, they plunder their 2015 album 'Pride & Wonder' too including the instrumental 'Reverie' which allows Barclay to really let himself producing some of his best work of the night whilst Gordon and bass player Fraser Henderson kept the rhythm tight at the back. The title track got a good response and it seems that they may have shifted a few extra copies after the gig judging by the number of audience members dancing along to the track.
Outside of that, we were treated to a brand new song in the shape of 'Home' - a slower paced number which had the audience nodding along and gifted Barclay another chance to show his guitar skills while Henderson was a picture concentration occasionally glancing up to acknowledge the audience.
Running the whole gamut of their career so far, the band performed 'Behind Circles', "a very old song" explained Barclay, which saw the band at their most animated as Barclay and Henderson crowded round the drum kit, sparring with each other at one point, while sporting huge grins showing how much they're enjoying it. All in all though, it was a good, solid performance from the young Aberdonian trio.
Daydream Frenzy Set List:
On My Own
Pride & Wonder
All The World
Daydream Frenzy are:
Donald Barclay – Vocals/Guitar
Fraser Henderson – Bass Guitar
Hamish Gordon – Drums
Glasgow based Stoneface have been on a journey together since late 2014 and I've been following their career closely. Some standout gigs crossed with a stellar debut album has ensured this band remain very much in the limelight and it was another polished performance from them here.
Introduced by local legend Chris Glen (ex-Sensational Alex Harvey Band and Michael Schenker Group), the band's sound was in the money from the get go as they produced a stunning performance. Vocalist Stewart Storrie was in commanding mood as he encouraged the audience to clap along whilst the rhythm guitar riff, courtesy of Grant Walsh, was razor sharp as it cut through the hall.
The pace didn't slow down for the band's new single, 'Food For The Crows', which had the audience nodding along to the solid drum beat laid down by drummer Kevin Mackie before Grant Walsh produced a great guitar solo which was rewarded by a round of applause from some of the audience at its conclusion.
The inclusion of a Velvet Revolver cover is a strange one (as was their rendition of Credence Clearwater Revival's 'Fortunate Son' which brings their set to a close) as they have so many good original songs that deserve to be heard. Their cover of 'Slither' was especially well executed and well received, with bass player Richard Walsh getting his moment in the spotlight during the intro while some of the audience sang along without encouragement. Grant Walsh was gifted another opportunity to step up to centre stage with a stunning solo while Storrie left nothing in reserve.
'Fight' has been a cornerstone of their set for sometime and it's place there is well deserved as the devilishly heavy track is performed with muted anger. Mackie laid down the deceptively simple beat whilst Grant Walsh produced a great guitar rhythm to fill out the sound as the crowd seem more animated as Storrie took an impromptu trip into the audience, much to everyone's delight.
'Superhero' keeps the audience on a high as the band bring the curtain down on another successful performance. Set by step they're getting there with solid gigs and a bigger following with each gig that passes, and these four guys deserve every bit of success they get.
Stoneface Set List:
Food For The Crows
A Step To The End
Stewart Storrie – Vocals
Grant Walsh – Guitar
Richard Walsh – Bass Guitar
Kevin Mackie – Drums
Tonight, however, was always going to be all about Stone Broken, and their fans had turned out in force to see this debut Scottish performance. Riding high on the success of their debut album, 'All The Time', the band had a self-assured feel to them as they took to the stage, receiving a glorious response from the audience, which also included Scots rockers Gun who had come along to check out what all the fuss was about.
The "fuss" actually turned out to be a stellar performance from start to finish with the band not putting a foot wrong all night. "Hello Glasgow," said frontman Rich Moss as he got himself ready before the band wasted no time in getting down to business as they played their debut album in it's entirety.
New single 'Better', for which a video was released just last month, had bass player Kieron Conroy and guitarist Chris Davis using the stage to its full extent as they swapped sides whilst Moss settled in his role with a great vocal performance. It was drummer Robyn Haycock who drove the pace all night as the crowd leap into life, crowding round the front of the stage.
'Be There' was described by Moss as a "Southern rock tune" and it gave Conroy his moment in the spotlight while Moss got the crowd clapping along before Haycock picked up the pace during the intro to 'Not Your Enemy' as Moss had the crowd involved with a bit of a sing-along in time honoured fashion. With the audience's voices suitably warmed up the band burst into the track with Haycock's heavy and solid beat punched out like a metronome. A firm favourite with the audience it seems as they sang and danced along with no encouragement needed from the band - a job well done it seems.
'Wait For You' was dedicated to an audience member whose supported the band from the very beginning and it shows the band can do subtlety, and they do it really well. Just Moss and his guitar featured during the intro before the pace built up, as did the singing voices of the audience who were also joined by sole air guitarists down the front.
"Does anyone remember the Nineties?" asks Moss to a slightly bemused audience before adding "have you heard of the Backstreet Boys?" to a somewhat muted response but all became clear as they struck up into a rocked up cover of 'Larger Than Life'. Never having heard the original it's hard to say how it compares to the original but I'm quite happy to live with the Stone Broken version because it was a great performance, which featured some great vocal harmonies from Haycock.
The band's main set closed off with 'Fall Back Down' as Moss got the crowd energised one last time as he was flanked by Conroy and Davis who nodded along in time with the beat and the huge ovation at the end meant they couldn't get away without an encore, but there was no running off stage and hiding before being coaxed back on as the band basked in the shouts for one more song. Their request is answered by Moss who politely asked "Okay, can we two?" to a huge roar of approval.
The encore was a carefully planned medley of rock numbers which encompassed an accomplished drum solo from Haycock which has the audience in raptures before the signed off for the evening with 'Let Me Go' which gave the audience one last chance to sing-along.
With a gig diary filling up nicely for the remainder of the year, Stone Broken are one band you really need to see if you get the opportunity and while you're at it, remember and pick up a copy of their debut album too – you'll not be disappointed.
You can see Stone Broken live here:
Sunday 26th June – Wildfire Festival, Wiston Lodge, Biggar
Monday 27th June – Big Red, London (with Inglorious) – Free Entry!
Friday 1st July – John Peel Centre, Stowmarket
Saturday 9th July – Eccies, Helsby – Free Entry!
Friday 29th July – Bannermans, Edinburgh
Saturday 30th July – O2 Academy, Birmingham
Friday 12th August – The Krazyhouse, Liverpool
Saturday 27th August – Bridgnorth Music Festival, Bridgnorth
Sunday 28th August – RockWich Festival, Lostock Sports & Social Club, Northwich
Thursday 22nd September – The Black Heart, Camden, London
Saturday 10th December – The Rock'n'Roll Circus Radio Show Xmas Charity Bash, The Dolls House, Abertillery
Stone Broken Set List:
Stay All Night
Not Your Enemy
Wait For You
Larger Than Life
Fall Back Down
Let Me Go
Stone Broken are:
Rich Moss – Vocals/Guitars
Chris Davis – Guitar/Vocals
Kieron Conroy – Bass Guitar/Vocals
Robyn Haycock – Drums/Vocals