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  STREETWISE ROCKERS WALKWAY PERFORM DEBUT GLASGOW SHOW (PLUS A REVIEW OF THEIR NEW ALBUM)

johnny main
Words: Johnny Main, Pictures: Carlan Braid


walkway

Have you heard of Walkway? If not, then simply put they're a hard rocking quartet from Diss in Norfolk who seem to have a never-ending list of tour dates, making them one of Britain's hardest working young bands that are making huge in-roads with their career.

Formed back in 2007, the band have recently celebrated not only their tenth year anniversary but also their 1000th gig – no mean feat these days, and during the course of the decade they've supported some of the biggest names in rock including Status Quo, The Darkness, Black Stone Cherry, Slade, Bernie Marsden (Whitesnake) and Graham Bonnet (Rainbow).

With the distinctive vocals of frontman Chris Ready and the jaw dropping guitar solos of his brother James, along with the solid drumming of Andy Burlace keeping things going at the back, there's no doubt that this band are destined for greatness.

Walkway released their debut album, 'Top Shelf Content', in December 2012 and this was followed up by 'Streetwise' in September 2014 and as their fan base grew through relentless gigging, so did the bands confidence and flair. This month sees album number three, simply titled 'Walkway III', released and it shows that the band are moving forwards all the time not only on stage but also in the studio.

The album was recorded earlier this year at Sonic One Studio, Wales and mastered at the legendary Abbey Road Studios by Sean Magee, a Grammy winner for his work on the 2009 Beatles re-masters who has also worked with Pink Floyd, Deep Purple, John Lennon, Gary Moore, and U2 among others, and contains twelve brand new Walkway songs, plus a couple of extra bonus tracks at the end, ensuring the listener gets value for money.

The anthemic 'Stutter' kicks things off and this lays the bands cards out on the table – if you don't like this number then there's probably little else here for you to enjoy. The strong drums from Burlace and great guitar sit well before the shouty chorus just takes hold – there's no frills and no gimmicks here, just straight ahead rock'n'roll.

'Same Old Situation' is another case in point whilst 'Modern Day' has all the hallmarks of a classic Walkway song. A slightly more laid back effort, the harmony vocals (from all the members) are blended together perfectly showing another skill of the band. Burlace really drives the song and after the first listen it supplanted itself as one of my favourite tracks, and my opinion hasn't changed after numerous other listens.

'Get A Grip' turns the wick up because it's a faster paced rocker with James Ready really showing off his guitar skills with the solo which is, simply put, incredible. Stick in another catchy chorus and you have to ask yourself – "What's not to like?"

Things continue in the same vein with hard rocker 'Leap Of Faith' which has Chris Ready really stretching his voice while 'Right Here Right Now' is bound to get the foot tapping and the audience singing along at live shows thanks to the catchy chorus. Following that is the groove laden 'Something Bout You' which could very well be the most Heavy Metal sounding of the songs featured with its titanic sounding drums and guitar riff making this another strong song in the Walkway arsenal.

The band have a chance to show their softer side however, with the slower paced 'Casey' and it's another track with a memorable guitar hook. The guitar solo from James Ready may be less showy than some of the other solos, but it's still a very accomplished effort. Quite who 'Casey' is, isn't made clear but she's obviously missed although the song has a more upbeat than melancholic mood to it.

'Holding On To Letting Go' features an acoustic intro and soulful vocals from Chris Ready, showing this band are far more than bluff and bluster. Simple guitar and vocals along with some of those excellent harmony vocals once again give this track a different feel to the others and nothing feels like it's out of place. Even when the drums finally come in, the pace doesn't alter much and you're a good three and a half minutes in before an electric guitar creeps in for the solo and subsequently steals the show – a true masterpiece from start to finish.

The band have added a trio of bonus tracks on at the end and if you're a Status Quo fan or collector then this record really is a must-buy for you as one of the bonus tracks is a version of the Quo classic 'Rain' which was recorded by the band as a tribute to the late Status Quo guitarist/vocalist Rick Parfitt. The bonus here is that the rip-roaring recording features none other than original Status Quo Drummer John Coghlan on drums which gives the song extra credibility and I'm sure Parfiit would be chuffed to bit with the Walkway version.

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'Walkway III' tracklist:
Stutter
Best I Ever Had
Get A Grip
Casey
Kiss Me Hard
Modern Day
Same Old Situation
Holding On To Letting Go
Leap Of Faith
Right Here Right Now
Something Bout You
Rain
Mission Impossible
Holding On To Letting Go (acoustic)

walkway

Just over a week after the release of the 'Walkway III' album we caught up with the band at Ivory Black's in Glasgow during their first ever headlining tour of Scotland and they were on fine form.

As the evening was a special tribute to Quo's Rick Parfitt, Backwater (Scotland's Ultimate Status Quo tribute band, so it says here!) were the support act, and they set the tone for the evening with a blast through (the mighty) Quo's back-catalogue. Well, anything that was between 1971 and 1979 so those looking for latter day chart hits like 'Burning Bridges' or 'In The Army Now' may have been disappointed.

walkway


Backwater obviously know the score and you don't become one of the best bands in your field without knowing exactly what you're doing and these guys didn't put a foot wrong. Scintillating versions of 'Hold You Back', 'Roll Over Lay Down' and, a personal favourite of mine, 'Softer Ride', went down a storm whilst 'Lonely Man' from 1974s 'Quo' album was something of an unexpected addition to the set, bearing in mind that Status Quo themselves have never played it live.

A mid-set rendition of 'Roadhouse Blues' included 'the jig' and kept the crowd down the front with their air guitars out, but unfortunately the band had to drop three songs from later in their set (amongst them 'Down Down' and the ubiquitous 'Rocking All Over The World') due to time constraints. Still, the audience loved them and if you love Quo, then Backwater is a band who should be on your 'To See' list. MetalTalk generally don't do cover bands when the original act is still active, but when they're as good as Backwater are they deserve all the column inches they can get.

walkway

By the time Walkway took to the stage at just after 9:15pm, the audience were suitably refreshed and ready to rock again. With the bands new album selling well throughout their tour, the band were eager to show what it had to offer for those yet to buy it, however, they understood that some of the audience would be less familiar with their own material so they decided to mix up their regular original set with a carefullly curated selection of covers alongside their own material.

Of the cover songs played, it was Aerosmith's 'Dude Looks Like A Lady' that got the audience grooving with a slower and heavier paced version than the original whilst an astonishing blast through Rush's 'Spirit Of Radio' had some of the audience grabbing their air guitars once again. It was drummer Andy Burlace who really shone here though, with an exceptional performance on a significantly smaller drum kit that Rush's Neil Peart, whilst frontman Chris Ready gave everything to his vocal performance.

walkway

As Chris Ready explained during the evening, Walkway were hoping to work with Rick Parfitt on his solo record that he was planning to record in 2017, but unfortunately as we know, they didn't get that chance but they absolutely had to include a couple of Quo covers in their set here. The most notable inclusion was, as you'd expect, 'Rain' which they recorded for their new album as mentioned above, and the track was very warmly received but it was their wild version of 'Caroline' that stole the show.

In all the years I've been hearing 'Caroline' played live, I've never heard this song sounding so rock'n'roll, at times even verging on Heavy Metal, as guitarist James Ready made it a performance to remember for all the right reasons – an untamed guitar display that left quite a few jaws on the floor.

walkway

Of course, the show was really about their new album, and they treated the audience to a hearty selection of new tracks including 'Same Old Situation' which is great on record but a hundred times better live and it certainly had the audience's feet tapping. James Ready used the track to showcase his incredible guitar skills once again during the solo section. Later in the set, Kiss Me Hard' had the headbangers out in front of the stage while those more self conscious (or maybe just less drunk) were happy to nod along to the beat. Again the song comes alive more than on the record and you can see how much effort the whole band put into their performance.

'Leap Of Faith' as a song just gets better and better after repeated listens to the album but live it's a different beast because it translates so well to the stage – a future staple of the Walkway live set I'm sure, as is album opener 'Stutter' which was a stomping performance with the audience catching on quickly to the easy to remember chorus.

walkway

'Streetwise' was the title of the bands second album, released in 2015, and was the sole track aired form the opus. It's a slow and steady paced track but has a chunky guitar riff courtesy of the James Ready which keeps the song driving the song whilst Burlace kept the drum beat solid and powerful at the back. A popular number it seems, as the air guitarists make another appearance down in front of the stage.

A couple of tracks taken from their 2012 debut album 'Top Shelf Content', 'Overrated' and One Touch Too Much', with the former laying out a heavy groove whilst Chris Ready once again spared nothing in his vocal performance giving it everything he's got despite the occasionally high octave notes. The latter closed things off for the evening in fine fashion and it's a great rocking number that once again pulled some of the crowd forwards and had the air guitars out one final time.

walkway

With a heavy duty live schedule for the rest of the year (a full list of tour dates can be seen below!), it's certainly worth checking out this band if they're playing near you and if not you can always pick up a copy of the new album in the meantime. It's young bands like this that need your support because Walkway really do have all the tools and all the talent to go all the way to the top.

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Walkway setlist:
Sanctuary
Step One
Dude Looks Like A Lady
Baba O'''Riley
Overrated
Same Old Situation
Spirit Of Radio
Kiss Me Hard
Leap Of Faith
Tie Your Mother Down
Streetwise
Go Your Own
Stutter
Best I Ever Had
Voodoo Chile
Rain
One Touch Too Much

You can see Walkway live here:
Friday 21st July: Sphere Bar, Lancaster
Saturday 22nd July: The Durham Ox, Bishop Auckland
Friday 28th July: Broad Farm, Fleggburgh
Saturday 29th July: British Touring Cars At Snetterton Racetrack, Norwich
Friday 4th August: Black Horse, Ipswich
Saturday 5th August: Social Club, Stanwick
Friday 11th August: Charters, Peterborough
Saturday 12th August: Reepham Festival, Norwich
Friday 18th August: Rock The Lakes Festival 2017, Southport
Friday 25th August: Rock Dock 2017, Ramsgate
Saturday 26th August: Gillingham, Beccles Swan Beer Festival, Chedgrave
Sunday 27th August: Caister Kings Arms, Great Yarmouth
Friday 1st September: VW Action 2017 At Santa Pod Raceway, Wellingborough
Sunday 3rd September: Pakefield Ale Festival, Lowestoft
Friday 8th September: Duck & Drake, Leeds
Saturday 9th September: The Rigger, Stoke
Friday 15th September: Fat Lil's, Witney
Saturday 16th September: Iron Road, Evesham
Friday 22nd September: Mulberry Tree, Ipswich
Saturday 30th September: Home Guard Club, Leiston
Sunday 1st October: Pakefield Jolly Sailors, Lowestoft
Friday 6th October: Kings Arms, Ludham
Saturday 7th October: Social Club, Saxmundham
Friday 13th October: Kaiser Bill 3 At Ramsgate Music Hall, Ramsgate
Saturday 14th October: The Windmill, Ashford
Sunday 15th October: Ramsgate Queens Head, Ramsgate
Friday 20th October: Lock Vaults, Chester
Saturday 21st October: Barlborough Dusty Miller, Clowne
Sunday 22nd October: Live & Let Live, Downham Market
Friday 27th October: Oulton Broad Flying Dutchman, Lowestoft
Saturday 28th October: The Rock Den, Hatfield
Friday 10th November: The Pickerel, Stowmarket
Friday 17th November: Gardeners Arms, Ipswich
Saturday 18th November: Queens Head, Thurlton
Saturday 25th November: The Grapes, Stafford
Sunday 26th November: Burnley Talbot, Burnley
Friday 1st December: The Brickmakers, Norwich
Saturday 2nd December: Bar Red, King's Lynn
Friday 15th December: King Billy, Northampton
Saturday 16th December: The Unicorn, Aylsham
Friday 22nd December: Black Horse, Ipswich
Sunday 31st December: Mildenhall Social Club, Bury Saint Edmunds

Walkway are:
Chris Ready – vocals/guitar
James Ready – lead guitar/backing vocals
Andy Burlace – drums/backing vocals





 


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