The boys bring their Ride to Nowhere tour to Shepherds Bush Empire
It was a bleak mid-winter evening in London as I made my way to the Shepherds Bush Empire to witness first-hand the full power of the new Inglorious line-up. Many parts of the UK had been crippled by the snow, and it had continued to snow off and on throughout the day raising speculation about crowd turn-out for the gig. However by the time the show kicked off with its first opening act, Blind River, it was clear those concerns were unfounded, and it was going to be an excellent night.
Performing an uncharacteristic, but most certainly energetic, acoustic performance of their material, Blind River took to the stage and whipped the growing crowd up into a frenzy. This unexpected turn of events didn’t take away from the performance, but for anyone familiar with their typical sound, it was an interesting development to say the least. Still the band put on a brilliant performance, and no doubt recruited a new following of fans in the process.
Up next was London three-piece City of Thieves. With all the angst and swagger of an early GnR, the band is comprised of lead singer and bassist Jamie Lailey, guitarist Ben Austwick, and drummer Will Richards. Given extra time to play to the home crowd, the band played on for forty minutes, with Jamie giving Inglorious a heartfelt thank you for the support they’ve been given on the tour. Bursting through no less than nine songs, the lads from London gave it everything that had and more, and prepped the crowd for the main event in spectacular fashion.
To say the past few months have been a bit of a rollercoaster ride for Nathan James would be an understatement. It is almost impossible to discuss the band without mentioning the social media circus that transpired after the announcement of both the new album, but also the departure of three of the band members. However that should not overshadow what the band has achieved, nor the quality of the new line up. In a recent interview with our very own Robert Cavuoto, Nathan stated that he, “hopes that everyone is into us musically and like the songs with the best musicians playing them. It brings a new dynamic to the band, as they are hungrier and willing to prove that they deserve to be here.” This show would be for many, the first time they were experiencing Inglorious live with new band members Danny Dela Cruz (lead guitar), Vinnie Colla (bass), and Dan Stevens (rhythm guitar), and they were not about to be disappointed.
As the familiar riff of ‘Inglorious’ by Inglorious ripped out of the PA system, the lights dimmed, the smoke rose, and the crowd waited with bated breath for the spectacle that was about to unfold. Opening with ‘Where Are You Now?’ a visibly nervous James eased into a strong but controlled vocal, with the new band members flanking him on the stage. When it was clear that the audience not only accepted, but embraced the new line-up, everyone relaxed and Inglorious rocked the stage like their lives depended on it.
Powering through ‘Taking the Blame’, ‘High Flying Gypsy’, and ‘Read All About It’, the night took an interesting turn when Phil ‘The Beaver’ was introduced as a multi-instrumentalist as he joined Nathan, Danny, and Steve on stage with a 12-string guitar. The mesmerising performance was met with such enthusiasm as the crowd joined in, and Nathan’s vocals soared as they pealed through the room like the final cry that marked the end of the relationship that the song is about. It was one of the standout moments of the night.
Ratcheting things up once again, the band gave a high-octane performance on ‘Warning’ before Nathan paused to reflect on the last time the band had performed at Shepherds Bush – they were there supporting Steel Panther. Now they were the headliners and it was clearly a proud moment for the enigmatic front man. Before launching into ‘Make Me Pay’, ‘Freak Show’ and ‘Breakaway’, Nathan took a moment to praise the former members of the band and their contribution, before adding, “I don’t know what they’re up to, but it’s not this!”
Then we came to what was the most unexpected and unbelievable standout moment the night. Opening with a solo piano line, Nathan introduced their cover of Alanis Morissette’s ‘Uninvited’. This dark and brooding re-interpretation of the classic track lifted it into another dimension as the band made it their own. Nathan’s vocals were absolutely stunning and the crowd virtually fell silent in awe of this masterful performance. If that wasn’t enough, it led into a solo by 19 year old virtuoso Danny Dela Cruz. With a swagger that is equal parts Mark Bolan (T.Rex) and Prince, with a sprinkling of Slash, rolled up into a unique package, it will be an incredible journey watching him develop as an artist. If anyone had any doubts about his ability to handle his role as lead guitarist in Inglorious, they were put to bed in that singular moment.
After James returned to the stage, the band was in full swing. As Nathan recently told our Robert Cavuoto, everyone is “concentrating and working hard to bring these songs to life live which is actually exciting,” and this was evident when they broke into ‘Ride to Nowhere’ firmly cementing their place in Inglorious.
This was followed by a raucous performance of ‘Liar’, before Nathan discussed the challenges that he faced in the last year, with his move to Devon and the loss of his grandfather. Dedicating the song ‘Faraway’ to his memory, James delivered an emotional and powerful vocal as the band helped him create a poignant moment through song.
Wrapping up with ‘I Don’t Need Your Loving’ and ‘I Don’t Know You’, the crowd wasn’t aware of the treat that was just about to unfold for them during the encore. Exiting from a side entrance on the first tier, Nathan made his way through the throngs of adoring fans as he sung fan favourite ‘Holy Water’. By the time he got back down to the stage, the crowd was whipped up into an absolute frenzy. Exiting for the final time on ‘Until I Die’, this new Inglorious has made it clear that they are here to stay, and that is definitely a good thing.
They say change is a good thing, and with Inglorious that couldn’t be more true. The new line-up has lifted the band into a whole new league and it is clear that the new album hinted at by Nathan during the concert, could well turn out to be an absolute masterpiece. Having been a fan of Inglorious since their inception, and Nathan since his days with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, I was confident it was going to be a good show, but this was beyond my wildest expectations. This was a performance to be proud of, and I wish the new line-up every success. If you are looking for an incredible night out, then do yourself a favour and catch Inglorious while they are on tour!
1: Where are you now?
2: Taking the Blame
3: High Flying Gypsy
4: Read All About It
5: Glory Days
7: Making Me Pay
8: Freak Show
10: Uninvited (Alanis Morissette cover)
11: Ride to Nowhere
14: I Don’t Need your Loving
15: I Don’t know you
16: Holy Water
17: Until I Die
Written by: Erik De’Viking – Reviewer / Music Journalist
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Photos by: Adrian Hextall \MindHex Media