Words and Pictures: Adrian Hextall \ MindHex Media
If acronyms are a thing and they certainly seem to be given the number we hear in conversation at the office, then we can begin by mentioning NWOCR [or EN-WOKKA as no one ever calls it!]. The New Wave Of Classic Rock however does seem to be a movement growing in strength and numbers. One only has to look at the number of new bands on the scene, all vying for similar crowds thanks to their ability to tease out thumping hard rock tracks that capture the minds of people that have either heard what their parents listened to growing up or did indeed grow up with the likes of The Who, The Stones, The Kinks and all manner of ‘The’ bands who made their names with rock music and electrifying live shows.
For those people who are really digging the NWOCR scene at the moment, this was a dream bill. Three of the best, rated by fans and critics alike on the same stage for the price of a single ticket. All different enough make the night varied enough without losing the audience to the bar because one act has been placed on the tour by the label to help promote them to fans who don’t necessarily like their type of music.
First us we have Swiss born but London based [check out out upcoming interview in the next few days] Daxx & Roxane or to follow the NWOCR naming convention ‘The Daxx & Roxane” or T’DAR [said no one ever!]
Daxx & Roxane
Hot off the back of their 4×4 e.p. and debut album Ticket To Rock, Daxx & Roxane have worked tirelessly playing clubs, tour support slots, festivals like Camden Rocks and more to establish their name both in their local stomping ground (London) as well as the wider UK music scene.
Honed on a work ethic that sees the four piece sharing a house together enabling them to work rest and play as a single unit their performance on stage is nigh on flawless. Razor sharp playing, micro-second perfect timing and enough moves to fill an arena let alone the oddly circular stage at ULU all goes to compliment the important thing, the songs. With more than enough material to keep the crowd happy during their short set, they did exactly what the opening act should do and warmed everyone up (on a cold very rainy night it was the perfect antidote).
Here’s a fun fact for you. The band were joined on stage by harmonica player from Alabama 3, Nick Reynolds. Now Nick, as well as playing a mean harmonica in the band where he is known as Harpo Strangelove, is also well known for making death masks. People whose death mask he has created include Pat Castange, Lord Jago Elliot and George “Taters” Chatham, once the best-known thief in Britain. Having also been in the Royal Navy and served in the Falklands conflict, Nick is also the son of Bruce Reynolds, the mastermind behind the great train robbery. At the show, he simply needed to play some of the meanest harmonica going and that’s just what we got!
With new material on the way and working with the producer who helped bring ‘Permission To Land’ to the masses [that turned out OK I recall!] their latest single from earlier this year ‘Junk Food Hangover’ gave us a sense of what’s to come and the future definitely looks rosy for Daxx & Roxane. Roll on 2019, bigger venues, bigger slots and a second album all of which will help them stand out from their NWOCR peers.
Aaron Buchanan & The Cult Classics
A typical set from NWOCR heavyweights ABATCC [continuing a theme here] will usually involve solid riffs, great grooves and Aaron, with white shirt, skinny jeans, winkle picker boots and braces pulling out all of the moves we’ve come to expect from a front man of his standing. We also expect that part in the set where he climbs over the heads of the crowd and does a handstand supported just by fans and people who just happened [were unlucky enough] to be in the right place at the right time.
All of that and more was delivered in a tight set raising a smile and a fair few cheers from the crowd as well. It’s a great band who always put on a great performance. Both sister Laurie Buchanan and Tom McCarthy did amazing work on the guitar with Mart Trail and Paul White acting like a two man demolition squad such is the intensity with which they play their bass guitar and drum kits respectively.
The new bit that stood out in this performance was Aaron taking time [Michael McIntyre style] to read out some texts \ tweets he’d either read or received about other shows on the tour from people who may have favoured one or more of the other acts on the bill. Sitting on the barrier in front of the stage he proceeded to then laugh [albeit it’s clearly nagging at him] about comments like ‘skipping the band ‘cos I don’t like that punk sound.’ Now even I have to laugh at that one. If there’s one thing these guys aren’t it’s a punk band. Classic rock yes, hard rock, sure… punk. No. Totally different style with the only common denominator possibly being Mart’s haircut that does make him look more like a member of The Exploited. Either way, a word of advice for Aaron;
“Don’t listen to the dismissive comments… it’s too easy to obsess on social media comments and nothing good comes of it! Keep doing what you do because you do it well. If you play, they will come!”
Headlining and touring in support of latest album Shake A Leg, rising NWOCR stars Bad Touch [BT – although this moniker may have been taken] bring a well honed show to London thanks to some European dates in advance of this night that commenced with a pre-tour show in Gravesend at Leo’s Red Lion, a performance we at MyGlobalMind were very lucky to have been able to attend. Click the link below to read that review.
There was never any doubt that the guys from Bad Touch would bring it home [even if home for them is Norfolk] and it was an excellent way to end the evening. In Stevie Westwood, the band have the perfect frontman. He’s got the voice, the looks and a not inconsiderable amount of facial hair that probably eats up any profits the band makes from their gigs in beard oils and other assorted products. It’s a work of art, so much so that the recent gig at Leo’s Red Lion saw Stevie becoming the new poster boy for the venue!
The new album being promoted, Shake A Leg, has seen the band step up a gear. In a scene where there are so many like minded bands to push against to make your own space and create your own fanbase and vibe, Shake A Leg has given BT the leg up they needed. A reasonable debut release that generated some interest, a follow up that kept it going in ‘Truth Be Told’ some live work that had definitely been a profile raiser an now an album that knocks the spots off some of the competition.
Almost apologetically Stevie introduced many many songs off the new album during the set yet he had no need to. The reception was great, many fans have clearly heard copies of it already judging by the smiling faces from people lapping up every note. It’s really a cracking release and the band should rightly be proud of it. No need to apologise and when the three outfits go out on the road for the next leg of the tour, BT should introduce the songs with pride not nerves!
The still take time to add a little spice with covers \ blending of songs from acts that have clearly inspired them over the years and Good On Me gets mashed up with ZZ Top’s Sharp Dressed Man and Skyman is mixed in with Whitesnake’s Still of the Night. It’s a neat touch [not a bad one!] and encourages a quick singalong from the crowd to keep them on their toes.
The set flies past culminating in a great night out for all in attendance. If only all tours could be like this, music for the fans played by fans of the music. We can but hope!
If you’ve missed them on the tour so far, a few dates remain. Details in the link below: