||JEFF SCOTT SOTO IS STILL LIVIN' THE LIFE AS HE HITS EDINBURGH WITH CLASSY BRITS BIGFOOT IN TOW
Soto/Bigfoot: Bannermans, Edinburgh
14th February 2017
22nd February 2017
Words and Pictures: Ian Sutherland
Let's face it, the love of music trumps all other loves in most rock fans' lives so it's no surprise that on Valentine's Day in Edinburgh there were plenty of people in Bannermans cosy Underworld room forgoing the romance for some touring rock'n'roll.
Other work commitments meant I arrived too late to get a proper look at Swiss openers Vanadine but I was in prime position by the time Wigan based Bigfoot hit the stage. Having heard some good things about them I could see that there were a smattering of Bigfoot t-shirts in the audience so they already had some fans here. Opening up with the groovy stomp of 'Stone Soldiers' it was immediately apparent why the word is spreading about these guys. They have a classic rock sound with the vigour of youth blowing through it to keep it fresh and relevant matched to some genuine song writing ability.
They didn't have much room to manouvre on the small stage but still they all looked relaxed and confident. In frontman and singer Antony Ellis they have someone with a gem of a rock voice and an easy manner, full of smiles and energy and able to get away with cheeky chat gleefully delivered in his hometown accent.
Tunes like the catchy 'Run' make them easy to like too but I thought they lost momentum a little, getting involved in cheesy crowd singalong stuff during a short set when maybe they would have been better with another song or two in the time they had. By the time they got to set closer 'The Other Side Of Paradise' though they had things all sown up with the crowd anyway and certainly ended up with even more fans than they started with. Impressive stuff and a band I'll be keeping an eye on from now on.
Jeff Scott Soto has been around a long time and his career has had its' ups and downs with the stardom many think he deserves never quite happening for him. Some of his fans think he should be playing bigger places than the venue he is in tonight but there is no sign of that from the man himself. Forced to start the show in full view while the intro tape plays due to the set up of the stage, he just makes a few comic asides before he and his band launch into the funky 'Freakshow' from latest album 'Divak'.
The guys in his band are experienced musicians who have played with him for a while but a few dates into the tour they seemed to be shaking off a little rust still, and while they obviously all get on well and enjoy their on stage banter, some of it seemed to show them struggling to get on the same page with each other. The main man himself was happy to laugh about that though and even with a few microphone issues which clearly irritated him, he was still the imperious classic rock front man up there.
The opening part of the show strongly featured the new album and while there was excellent musicianship to enjoy and the vocals from all the band members were particularly impressive, it wasn't until they reached into the back catalogue for 'Livin' The Life' from the 'Rock Star' soundtrack that things really kicked up a notch. This was a Soto band show so much of the music was going to be from the latest album, but it was when they chose to mix it up with a mixture of material from Mr Soto's extensive back catalogue that everything they played gained a bit more energy.
The old JSS tune 'When I'm Older' dedicated to his brother Joey was drenched with real emotion. All the hardcore fans in the crowd were happy when he pulled out a couple of Talisman classics to get them singing along. 'Fall From Grace' showed how impressive the new material could be. Even the light hearted elements of the show like the Michael Jackson bass solo and the set's only hint of Journey being part of 'Don't Stop Believing' sung rather impressively by guitarist BJ worked better than in the first half of the show.
Encore time there was another 'Rock Star' moment with the excellent old fashioned hard rock sound of 'Stand Up' but Mr Soto just couldn't stop himself throwing one more comic moment in at the end with an a cappella section of Steel Panther's 'Community Property'.
There was much to enjoy in this Soto show but I thought it was a bit uneven overall and I left with the youthful enthusiasm and interesting songs of support act Bigfoot foremost in my mind. A good double bill for sure though.
Check out more of Ian Sutherland right here.