Wayward Sons, live at the O2 Academy, Islington, London, April 26 2018

As much as Toby would like to put a little of the past to bed these days, they were obliged to add a few extra numbers in to fill...

Words and Pictures: Adrian Hextall / MindHex Media

Taking a few words from the Wayward Sons official site, the band began life early in 2016 after Italian Record label Frontiers approached Toby Jepson with the idea of making a solo album. This was not something that initially rang true with Toby having spent most of his career as a British Rock musician in bands. From the early days of Little Angels, through Toby and The Whole Truth, The Toby Jepson band in the early noughties, into GUN, Fastway and Dio’s Disciples, it had always been about bands, groups of people joining together to say something, to create together, to perform together.

The answer, at first, was ‘thanks, but no thanks’

Thankfully for us, the fans, Frontiers will chase the prize until they have it and as a result, Toby relented and Wayward Sons as a concept was born. The end result which sees the line up cemented by Nic Wastell (Chrome Molly) on Bass, the Treason Kings’ Sam Wood on lead guitar, Phil Martini (Joe Elliott and The Down and Outz) on drums and long time collaborator Dave Kemp on keys.

They currently survive on the London underground (not the underground but the underground) and if no one else can play the music you love and if you can find them (they are on tour at the moment to be fair) maybe you can hire the Wayward Sons….. and cue the music. 

Pete K Mally & The Wayward Sons Movie

Named after the old Little Angels track ‘Kickin Up Dust’ which later got a long overdue live airing in the set at the Academy, Wayward Sons were preceded by a slightly different opening act.

TV screens were turned on, heads were turned to watch and we got a 30 minute movie containing all of the music videos recorded to date with a few between song set pieces that felt like part Monty Python’s Spanish Inquisition, part The Sweeney and part The Walking Dead. The characters all playing to perfect stereotype for those movies including The Don and The Vicar all seemed to go down well as people enjoyed a pint, some chat and a chuckle. 

The chuckles continued once the movie had finished as the stage was then taken over by rock n roll comic Pete K Mally who delighted us with his amusing tales about rock n roll greats including one about Gene Simmons which for the purposes of legality and factual accuracy shall remain unpublished on these pages. Check out Pete’s site on the link below. 


Wayward Sons

And so to our heroic band of warriors, last seen battling hordes of extras  the undead as they drove around a deserted factory set a post apocalyptic wasteland in an old Rover 3500 (ask your Dad!). 

They arrived on stage to a rapturous cheer from the sold out crowd and then proceeded to play everything off the new album. Now as much as Toby would like to put a little of the past to bed these days, they were obliged to add a few extra numbers in to fill out a decent length set so the dust was kicked off a few of the classic Little Angels tracks much to the joy of the crowd. 

A solitary spot light on the middle of the stage left Nic and Dave in darkness for most of the set, a shame as far as Nic was concerned as visually he is by far the most animated. Clearly a tub of itching power goes down the underpants before he hits the stage and boy does it make a difference. Twisting twirling, jumping, lunging, bouncing, you name it, Nic threw the shapes all night long. Ably supported on the other side of Toby by Sam who in a similar fashion wrung every ounce of emotion out of his guitar during the 80 minute set. 

With Phil also in the shadows thumping the biscuit tins for all he was worth, it was of course left to Toby, front and centre, illuminated, as the photos will prove, perfectly by the solitary spotlight, to carry the show to the crowd. If ever one man looked happy to be back on stage doing what he does so well, it’s Toby Jepson. Whether it’s performing tracks that are destined to become crowd favourites as much as those from his old band or whether it’s the acknowledgement that people still adore his older material and always will, his enthusiasm just continues to shine through. Tracks like ‘Ghost’, ‘Crush’ or the phenomenal ‘Until The End’ which for me is the highlight of the new album stand up on their own with ease and slot neatly amongst the few tracks from Little Angels back catalogue. 

‘Kickin’ Up Dust’ was an unexpected bonus and got a huge cheer from the crowd and ‘Young Gods’ did of course generate a huge sing along with happy sweaty faces showing their appreciation. 

All in all, a show to have been at! Kick yourself if you weren’t. If you’re undecided about ‘new’ music, then give this lot a go. Their experience shines through and the songs represent a band that knows modern rock music perfectly. It would have been easy to dismiss them as the ghosts of what has gone but as the album suggests, they are the Ghosts of Yet To Come. 


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Photo Credit: Ange Cobham / Cobspix Photography

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