Words and Pictures: Adrian Hextall \ Sophie Hextall \ MindHex Media
You might think that a show that kick starts in the middle of the afternoon and is, frankly, in the tail pipe of nowhere would be poorly attended. If you did think that, you’d be wrong. Leo’s Red Lion truly is ‘remote’. It used to be surrounded by a wealth of industrial estates and was the go to pub for the workers and music fans a like thanks to the adjourning purpose built music venue. Sadly times have changed, the majority of the area is a bit of a wasteland and then there’s Leo’s, standing proud like a beacon in the night for all traveler’s wishing to seek refuge, drink, company and of course music.
Whilst that might paint a far too romantic picture of the venue, the reality is more akin to The Slaughtered Lamb pub in An American Werewolf in London nothing quite sums up remote like that and I swear I heard a howl in the distance as I crossed the road to get in.
Thankfully, at 4:30pm prompt, the venue is well over half full and Ramsgate based band, Collateral who I’d seen live with Q5 only a couple of weeks earlier hit the stage. Prior to the gig they’d expressed concern that they’d be playing to the bartender, sound man and little more. They needn’t have worried. Those in attendance got one of the best new local bands opening for Bad Touch and the crowd made them feel more than welcome, cheering along to every song played, even entering into the audience participation requests from front man Angelo Tristan who can’t seem to believe how well the band have gone down. It’s simple, play great music, put on a great show and the crowd will respond. Collateral did both with a mix of both original numbers including current single Midnight Queen and some great covers as well. As time progresses and the band head towards their debut album release, the covers will drop and the originals increase as there’s definitely a fantastic British rock band waiting to be unleashed on bigger and bigger crowds.
One of the neat things about this gig which cost a mere £10 a ticket was the number of bands on the bill. Yes it was an early start but when that meant we got a band for £2.50 each, almost unheard of in this day and age so fair play to the promoters who must have taken a huge gamble on a Saturday afternoon in the hope that if they booked the bands, the people would come.
Well come they did and in their droves. By the time Black Whiskey hit the stage the venue was probably well on the way to 2/3 capacity and with the welcome addition of a food van outside selling top end award winning chili (bloody hot by all accounts) burgers and hot dogs, this was beginning to feel more like a festival than just another rock gig.
It’s clear listening to Black Whiskey that they’ve got the capability to play across multiple genres. Their pedigree proven by the history of the band members. Simon Gordon (Vocals, ex- Xentrix, Hellfighter), Kev Ingles (Guitar, ex- 3 State Blues, Swampsnake), Craig Nabbs (Bass, ex –Slaughtered) and Rich Bannister (Drums, ex -Nakedium) could clearly have gone in any direction but the four chose classic rock which makes for a good fit to the night’s proceedings.
They certainly hit the heavier end of classic rock, those old influences from former bands seeping into the music. Proficient, tight and containing a nice slice of blues-soaked guitar thanks to Kev Ingles, it made for an interesting show and the first time I’d managed to see the band live. Special mention to Simon Gordon, perfect front man, looks and sounds the part.. just what the band needs!
Burnt Out Wreck
With Burnt Out Wreck now offering their own whiskey , thanks to a deal with a distiller who loved the name and asked Gary and Co if he could work with them to put the brand on the shelves. It’s very good I’m told and with two small sample bottles sitting in the cupboard at home just waiting for the appropriate time to have a tasting session. There’s also a wine available so even if you’re not a major spirit drinker, there’s really no excuse not to have a go.
When the lads set up on stage, lead singer Gary Moat makes reference to a gig played only a night or two earlier where the band performed to only 12 people. It has to be soul destroying to perform to only a handful of people but, knowing that they’ve paid to be there, you still give it your all and I’ve no doubt that’s just what BOW did.
Thankfully by the time they come on, the room is packed, close to capacity and there’s no chance of going through the motions, the crowd demand a show and BOW give them one.
It’s soulful classy blues rock and after the hard rock sound of Collateral and the heavier sound of Black Whiskey, this is the perfect lead into to the final set of the night , the retro blues rock styling of Bad Touch.
And so to the final set of the night. With a ferry to France beckoning the following day, the promoters, Steve and Leo, pulled one out of the hat by suggesting to Bad Touch that “If you’re going past Gravesend on the way to Dover, why not play a warm up show before the tour starts?” A stroke of genius as everyone agreed, signed on the dotted line and at 9:00pm they descend on the stage and the following 90 minutes allows the audience at The Red Lion the privileged opportunity to hear some of the new material from Shake A Leg, due for release on October 5th.
With some choice covers included in the set including Free’s ‘Wishing Well’ which feels like a song that was written for Bad Touch to perform live. It also reminds us that Bad Touch represent a particular era of music and whilst in no way shape or form should be considered nostalgic or a tribute band, they do bring out the best of rock music that rose in popularity in the late 1960s early 1970s. The Free \ Bad Company feel is strong throughout the band’s set and in Stevie Westwood they have an awesome front man and vocalist. With a band as tight as the clasp on my boss’s wallet when we go down to the pub after work, the upcoming tour (for details CLICK HERE) will be one too look out for.
The people of Gravesend and surrounding towns got the opportunity to see something pretty special at The Red Lion. These intimate gigs with a band on the verge of making it big are few and far between. There’s a spotlight on Bad Touch right now and we managed to catch them right under it for just a moment.
Show Me What It Means / Lift your head up / Movin’ On Up / Good On Me / Hammerfall / Tussle / Heartbreaker, Soulshaker / Take Me Away / Believe In Me / Sweet Little Secret / My Mother Told Me / Skyman (segue into Still Of The Night-Whitesnake) / Wishing Well
(Free cover) Outlaw / Down / Dressed to Kill / 99%