Live Review and Photos credit: Reg Richardson
Tonight the Wulfrun Hall was hosting US rockers W.A.S.P. who were headlining a sold out show but before they made an appearance we had The Cruel Knives up on stage. This band has a Heavens Basement core of Sid Glover & Rob Ellershaw and along with Tom Harris and Al Junior, they make up a lively outfit playing some pretty decent rock music. The band has not long come off a tour with The Pretty Reckless and then had their debut EP, Side One, released so it’s been a busy year so far for this bunch of young lads.
The Cruel Knives
They lead in straight away with ‘The World We Were Sold’ from the EP and which has also been released as a single. As you might expect the band are full of energy and deliver good quality music. There’s nothing gimmicky here just plenty of raw entertainment guaranteed to warm up the audience. In quick succession, we had ‘Maybe I Should Know’ followed by ‘On A Fucking Leash’ before they return to the EP for ‘Kill The Messenger’, ‘Itch’ and ‘The Promised Land’. All good stuff so far; there’s not an awful lot to distinguish the band at the moment from a host of similar bands knocking around the circuit but they haven’t been together too long so maybe that distinction has yet to make itself visible. Frontman, Tom Harris, took time out to wish his old man a happy birthday for today (October 21st) so ‘Happy Birthday’ to Tom’s dad! The set closes with ‘Crawl’. All in all a pretty solid performance.
Clear the stage a W.A.S.P. invasion is on its way.
Formed in 1982 the band has one constant, founding member Blackie Lawless, the rest of the line-up changing regularly over the intervening 35 years up to tonight. The band may have had a shorter lifetime had Lawless been accepted to play a role in the Terminator 2 movie, but that’s another story.
This is the Re-Idolized (or Re-Idolised if you’re British) Tour which provides a revisiting of the 1992 album The Crimson Idol, a concept album about fictional rock star Jonathan Aaron Steel; the songs telling the story of the rise and fall of Steel. On this tour, the shows all take the same 2-part format, with Part 1 being a faithful replaying of The Crimson Idol and Part 2, a shorter set of past hits. The album was supposed to have a supporting movie but this was never released…until this tour and as the band rocks out, the movie is projected onto 3 screens behind them.
Lawless doesn’t say anything between the songs, instead, there are a series of monologues that form part of the movie sequences that provide the links between tracks. The album is due to be re-released, with the accompanying movie, early next year. A trailer for the movie can be seen at the bottom of the article:
As the band comes on stage the movie starts and the clock is ticking meaning the first part of the show is scheduled for about 50 minutes, the films running time. True to form, the band plays The Crimson Idol from start to finish kicking off with The ‘Titanic Overture’ and ending with ‘The Great Misconceptions of Me’. Great work from Doug Blair with his ESP guitar, complete with buzz-saw scratchplate and his 6/6 Mutant Twin. I clocked this part at a shade over 55 minutes in total meaning the band had also kept to the timing on the original album. Bathed in red light, a photographers dream….not, Blackie Lawless gives a very decent performance, his voice remaining strong throughout the show. The one downside was that some of the audience thought the sound quality as a whole was poor. The typical 1980’s/90’s rock sound was familiar and delivered with energy, really very entertaining. A bonus, for some perhaps, was the rear view of Lawless showing the tight Spandex pants disappear up the crack of his ar….oh, never mind, I’m sure you get the picture! New retinas, please.
The band disappeared off stage for 5 or 10 minutes before coming back for a rather short Part 2. This second part got underway with ‘The Real Me’ a cover of a song by The Who. This was followed by ‘Love Machine’ and ‘Golgotha’, the title track from their most recent album. The show finished with ‘I Wanna Be Somebody’ complete with very generous audience participation.
The sound quality, for some, spoiled the evening, for others it was simply the length of the show with maybe 70 minutes of music at best and with tickets at £25 a head, there was a feeling of being a little short-changed.
If you’re a fan, look out for the Re-Idolized CD/vinyl/DVD/Blu-Ray early in 2018.