||KIERAN ROBERTSON KICKSTARTS HEARTS IN RARE HOMETOWN EVENT
The Cathouse, Glasgow, Friday 9th December 2016
Words: Johnny Main, Pictures: Carlan Braid
Scotland's self-styled next rock superstar Kieran Robertson doesn't often play hometown shows and when he does, they are always an event.
This show at Glasgow's famous Cathouse nightclub was my first chance to see him live on stage and having been thoroughly impressed with his debut album, 'In The Name Of Vanity' (reviewed here) I was expecting big things from this young chap, and I have to say, that I wasn't disappointed one iota.
For an eighteen year old, Robertson possesses the charisma and self-confidence of frontmen twice his age and despite a few technical mishaps early on, he carried himself off well and put on an entertaining and, occasionally edgey, show that showcased the best of his debut album.
Kicking this off with the high octane 'This World' he was in commanding mood from the beginning and certainly managed to get the audience involved, not that they need much encouragement. Other tracks from the album included were 'Secret Lover' which kept the energy levels up with Robertson having a ball as he interacted with the front row while still singing and playing the guitar, while 'Freak' was introduced with Robertson saying it was written "about a party - but the less said about that the better", to laughter all round before the rousing reception as the song ended showing it's certainly a popular number with his fans.
A self-confessed fan of Motley Crue, Robertson chose to add 'Kickstart My Heart' (one of only two covers in his set) into the mix, and the performance also featured two dancers, Luci Fallen and Luna Le'Tueur, on stage to spice things up. A crushing cover of a classic Crue song, the tempo was speeded up slightly which suited it well whilst Robertson was at his most flamboyant, ending up atop the bass drum at one point with drummer Moritz Michels looking slightly concerned, before Robertson launched himself back onto the stage.
'Why' saw Robertson left alone onstage with a simple piano track to back him up at the start. The song wasn't included on the album but was played live because as Robertson explained, he "really liked" the track, and for it, he gave a somewhat vulnerable performance, a side to him that he hadn't previously shown, before the band returned to the stage once again as the song slowly built up into a powerful piece with guitarist Heiko Musolf showing his incredible soloing skills.
With 'Forever', Robertson showed off his guitar skills too whilst the front row showed off their vocal skills as they took over vocal duties, much to his delight. Allowing them to continue for the first verse, Robertson returned to the vocals by the second verse showing again he can give a sensitive performance when the moment comes. His performance here was loudly applauded at it's conclusion showing that sometimes the less flamboyant side of his performance is appreciated too.
Brand new track, 'Pathogen', saw it's live debut here and again showed the band in a more laid back mood before the main track kicked in as the band get ready to wind up their set. There was plenty more stage antics to come, however, as Robertson launched atop the crowd barrier to the delight of those in the front row who scrambled to get an up close picture on their mobile phones.
The second and final cover of the night was a rocked up version of the eighties Cutting Crew classic 'I Just Died (In Your Arms Tonight)', a track which most of the audience had probably not been aware of before Robertson covered it. Robertson's version was remarkable with its almost Heavy Metal make over and was certainly a new take on an old classic.
Closing off with 'Wizard', the final track from his album, Robertson and his band gave everything they had one more time and as the band left the stage they were treated to a rousing reception.
This was my first Kieran Robertson live experience but I'll certainly be back to see him live again and there's no doubt that he's well on his way to a successful career.
21st Century Bitch
Addicted To This Life
Kickstart My Heart
Don't Wanna Be Like You
I Just Died (In Your Arms Tonight)
Kieran Robertson's band are:
Kieran Robertson – Lead Vocals
Heiko Musolf - Lead Guitar
Jack Ross – Bass Guitar
Moritz Michels – Drums
Ably assisting Robertson earlier in the evening were local boys Stoneface who took time out from preparations for the writing of their second album for this pre-Christmas shindig. A change in the line-up saw the addition of Alistair McMenemy on drums on what was his debut live gig with the band, and yet again the Stoneface boys didn't disappoint.
Afforded a thirty-five minute stage time, once the long into had been negotiated, the band launched into a firm favourite, 'Fight', which straightaway had a harder edge to it than previous performances I've witnessed. The guitar riff from Grant Walsh drove the song and by the time frontman Stewart Storrie made his entrance on stage the whole place could feel the energy from the stage.
From the bands 2014 debut album, 'Food For The Crows' was up next and had bass player Richard Walsh muscling in on the centre stage action, previously the sole domain of Storrie. The tempo here seemed to be faster than I'd heard before and it really suited the track. Grant Walsh provided a rather understated guitar solo without venturing far from his side of the stage, by he seemed to be enjoying himself judging by the smile on his face.
The first headbangers broke cover during 'Pressing Down' and it seemed like new sticksman McMenemy might be about to break the skin on his snare drum, he was hitting it so hard whilst the audience at the front who weren't headbanging away were quite happy to sing-along.
Throughout the evening, Storrie kept the between song banter to a minimum in order to get as many songs out as possible. Their set included two covers, 'Slither' by Velvet Revolver and set closer 'Fortunate Son' from Credence Clearwater Revival, both of which the band firmly stamped their mark on. Now I'm not a Velvet Revolver fan, but their version of 'Slither' was outstanding. Storrie and Richard Walsh engaged in some onstage fun whilst Grant Walsh stood stoically until he unleashed the epic guitar solo, which he made look absolutely effortless.
With writing of their second album planned for early 2017, the band dropped a couple of new numbers, 'Clandestine' and 'Bleed', into the set. The former had a slower pace but still managed to pack a punch. Its tempo picked up during the chorus when McMenemy once again laid into the drums with full force before Storrie left the stage during the long instrumental section allowing the players to shine. 'Bleed' has been on the back burner for some time but has finally broken cover and it's another great, powerful Stoneface track. If these songs represent the direction of the band for album number two then it's going to be a highly anticipated release.
Food For The Crows
Stewart Storrie – Vocals
Grant Walsh – Guitar
Rick Walsh – Bass Guitar
Alistair McMenemy – Drums