||MetalTalk AND THE BASTARDS GET STONEWIRED AT THE BIG RED
StoneWire, The Big Red, London
11th November 2016
You know it's going to be a great gig when most of the London based MetalTalkers (including the big boss man, Steve Göldby) and Legends of Rock leg-ends Eddie and Elaine Yates, affectionately known as 'The Bastards' rock up early to take a seat at the top table in this awesome London venue and StoneWire did not disappoint.
StoneWire are dirtier than the triple melt burgers they serve at this joint and their blend of blues rock is as unique but as reassuring as a shot of Honey JD.
Forget 'it’s Britney bitch', frontwoman Sky Hunter is our favourite bitch. As she takes to the stage, the fans are queuing up to buy the hottest rock chick in town a golden tequila. As the band kick in and Hunter downs her shots, it's officially time to rock. The place is heaving and as those first power house chords burst out, the crowd are up out of their seats and wrestling to the front for a ringside view.
Just like the best Texan hillbillies, this band with that southern vibe (well they are from Kent), are a family. They are as tight as Mark Taylor's wallet and they are in perfect synergy with the soaring vocals of the Glamazon with the glands, Sky Hunter.
The StoneWire set kicks off with 'Walk The Line' – a killer intro song with riffs that Slash would be jealous of, beat perfect drums, a bassline that makes you shake and rhythm guitar that takes it all to the next level. I've never witnessed a band command such respect within minutes of starting a gig – Southern rock meets British classic rock with a nod to all the blues rock greats. The Big Red is the Church and Sky Hunter is the protagonist preacher. We are the followers. Can I get a 'Hell Yeah' or an 'Amen'?
Next up is ‘Why Me’, with references of ‘Holy Diver’ coming through, this is classic rock at it’s best, the guitar duals drive the song and Hunter’s powerhouse pipes are at their premium.
Up next is the song us gals all relate which Sky laughingly introduces: "This song is all about me" and it's the totally anthemic 'Favourite Bitch'. This time the chicks have pushed through to the front to have a singalong and the boys stand back and have their balls busted by this blues future anthem. Sky is our soul sister working the stage like Tina Turner on speed. The Bastards are up and having a bop too.
The band stop for a minute so we can catch our breath and they do a big shout out to the Big Red for supporting live music and then we are treated to a new song – so fresh it only has a working title, 'Monkey Talk'. Another really good dose of blues rock. For a brand new tune it's more polished than Prince Charles' silver.
As the song nears its end, more shots appear in front of Sky Hunter who laughs and shouts "you are such fucking groupies!". Damn straight! Anyone this diva hasn't won over yet should be at home watching Peter Andre's reality show.
That's what I love about Sky - she appeals to everyone. Her performance includes everyone, she sings to us all and makes us all feel very special. I admit it - I now have a lady crush too! I'm fighting chicks off at the bar to buy her a shot too.
'When The Crow Flies' kicks in it announces that the band are here at the Big Red and you better damn well listen. It's their album's title track and again is a brilliantly written slice of bloody great rock. The quintet have total synergy and their sound is just incredible, every instrument is in harmony with the other and the BVs are totally on point. Smokey, sublime, sultry and sexy – all the S's.
'Southern Honey' is another crowd pleaser and at this point Sky jumps into the audience to sing to us all, like some soulful ballad singer that has come to touch our souls and everyone is gathered around and enjoying the spectacle. With a week that has had us all in turmoil, StoneWire prove that sometimes it's just music that brings us together and as we all make a circle we forget everything that's gone on and just rock out.
Then it's time for a bit of country y'all, yeehhhaaaaaa! We all love a bit of Blackberry Smoke and Black Stone Cherry and this tune could happily sit in their repertoire. 'Gimme A Reason' is from the new EP and it's a corker. Props to the brilliant backline for their beats and grooves that take us firmly to the Deep South. In fact, where's my deep fried chicken wings?
Goosebump time comes courtesy of another new song, 'Hero's Journey', which features Sky and the whole band singing. We all love a good harmony and this was one of those moments when you hear a song for the first time and it's special. StoneWire shine. Their performance appears effortless but as you listen you realise a lot of work has gone into this band, their songwriting and their passion for the music they create.
Time for a treat now for all the Led Zep fans in the crowd as the band launch themselves into a fifteen minute Zep fest and it's epic. As they take us through a medley of greatest hits, Sky is the female version of Plant. No words are needed – just sheer bloody brilliance. Page, Plant and Jones need to hear this chick take on their tunes as not anyone can do it and Hunter just owns them.
The band power on with a couple more of their own songs, 'Riverblues' and 'Don't You', a sultry ballad with vocals that keep on giving. Up next is a superb rendition of Lynrd Skynrd's 'Simple Man' which gives lead guitarist Gaz Annable his time to shine once again and the crowd are literally in front bowing and chanting "we're not worthy".
'Winter's Hold' again gives props to Dio with riveting riffs, stunning solos and again that solid backline. 'Running With Ghost's' is their penultimate song and my friends from the US of A give this band their endorsement, stating that the Big Red is like a Juke Joint with the hottest band in town a-playing.
'Fix You' is the epic encore we all wanted to hear. The Valkyrie howls and brings us to a jaw-dropping, spine-tingling end. Sassy, soulful, smoky, sultry, soaring and sensational.
As the band take a standing ovation and down their last shots of tequila, we all know we have witnessed something very special. If StoneWire aren't on an amazing tour or headlining the new band stage at Ramblin' Man Fair by next year then there is no Rock God. In the name of Saint Bon Jovi, please will agents, bookers, PRs and labels check out this band.
Hallelujah for StoneWire. Can I get a witness?
(...and four shots!)
Just after Friday's StoneWire gig, Bruce John Dickinson of Colour Of Noise, organiser of the Rising Stage at Ramblin' Man Fare, announced that the gates are open again for the 2017 event. Here's what Bruce said.
We want to see StoneWire play Ramblin' Man 2017 and the campaign starts here. Bruce's Facebook page is right here and if you agree with us that StoneWire should be there, please send Bruce a PM telling him the band are currently vey top headline on MetalTalk and demand he books them.
See you all at Mote Park for the 2017 edition of the StoneWire success story.