About Me

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Born in the late 60's, Chesy hails from a Welsh mining village with a long name and was pretty glad when he got the Hell out of there. He got into Rock/Metal in about 1980, thanks to a TISWAS related incident (Rainbow video for All Night Long) and thankfully has never looked back. Chesy often sang solo in the school choir, but thanks to a puberty related incident his voice is now completely bolloxed, although in his own head Paul thinks he sounds like a blend of Coverdale and Dio (R.I.P). He was brought up on the classics - Deep Purple, Rainbow, Thin Lizzy, Rush, Whitesnake and loved melodic rock and the Hair Bands of the 80's. (Nowadays, he has progressed a little and prefers a more technical and/or progressive metal - Dream Theater, Rush, Symphony X, Porcupine Tree, Pain Of Salvation, Spock's Beard. He hates Black and Death Metal (can't stand the grunting) but for some unknown reason loves the magnificent Opeth! He wont stop this blog until his beloved FM finally play the likes of the NEC as a headlining act!!!

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Lords Of The Riff Tour - Monster Truck, Scorpion Child & Buffalo Summer, Roadhouse Manchester

Lords of The Riff Tour turns out to be the most aptly named tour since T.Y.R.s "Where the fuck are we tour'.

A Classic Rock/Metal Hammer sponsored tour, it brings together Scorpion Child (Texas), Monster Truck (Canada), and our very own emerging classic rock sounding Buffalo Summer (Wales).

The event was the last night of the UK tour held at Manchester's Roadhouse venue - not the best venue in the world. Fuck, its probably not the best venue in the street! It was completely oversold, with 275 in the venue, (capacity 250 max!), however, it's still a great place to get as close to your idols as you could possibly imagine. Only trouble is, unless you're in the first couple of rows, basically you're going to see four fiths of fuck-all!

Buffalo Summer came on to a small-ish crowd. These Zep influenced Welsh young guns have grown in stature since last years HRH AOR appearance. They dress as if they are in the 70s (my guess is that this is how its like in S Wales as its 30yrs behind the fashions in the north part of Cambria)
They play with the verve and vigour of a band wanting to grab you by the balls (and other lady parts) and make you listen. With songs such as 'Down To The River', 'A Horse Called Freedom', and new ones like 'Money', then its surely a matter of time before these guys are playing to much bigger audiences. Bring on album No.2!

  Monster Truck and Scorpion Child have been taking turns as to who finish the shows. Second on were The Truck. Having made the sound-check the last just went straight into album opener "old Train" with singer/bassist Jon Harvey looking like Blackfoot's Charley Hargrett (in his hey-day), and sounding like the bastard love child of Joe Cocker and James Brown! Nice!

Guitarist Jeremy Wiederman hops and jumps around the stage like a tazmanian devil, and the combined thunder of Harvey's bass, Steve Kiely's frantic drumming, and Brandon Bliss' organ (f'narr!), means that the energy given off could power their own amplification. A mix of their EP and 'Furiosity', the oustanding highlights were 'The Lion', 'Old Train', 'My Love is True', and the totally awesome 'For The Sun', a song that reminds me of Blackmore/Dio in their 70s magnificence.

Scorpion Child were a man down, but two in reality, due to the recent departure of a drummer and rhythm guitarist, but it did not detract one iota.

I mean this with no disrespect to Scorpion Child, but the audience seemed to thin out after Monster Truck. Well, shame on them! Where MT seem more of a man's band, I think a few of the lovely ladies were there solely for SC front man Aryn Jonathan Black. I think he dropped something just before he came on stage and it wasn't his keys! It's easy to point the Led Zep finger at SC and Black, but they still have enough in their locker to dispel this comparison.

I sense I bit of dress style going on; all had great shoes, and what looked like really comfortable trousers. Think Farah for the rock generation, that only a 47 yr old like me would notice! Black was doing a double denim look, but jacket and waistcoat, and looked all the rock star he was.

There was no warming up here folks, just....BOOM! In yer face right from the off. Scorpion Child have the swagger and confidence in their live shows that bands with 30 years of experience fail to muster up! Bassist Shaun Avants just strutted like a peacock with a bass, and what with Blacks interaction with the crowd, and stage presence, new drummer, Jon Rice's Muppet Animal style and Christopher Jay Cowarts lead guitar, I truly din not know who to keep my eyes on as it was all compelling. 'Kings Highway', 'Polygon Of Eyes' and 'Antioch' had the crowd buzzing.

Undoubtedly, Monster Truck definitely have the songs, but fuck me, Scorpion Child have the stage presence.

After a show like tonight, all I can say is that the SC album does not do this band justice. A decent album but a frigging lightning bolt-jolt of a gig from the Texans. I came as a fan mainly of The Truck, but also left with a place in my heart for Scorpion Child.

Where their/my T-shirt states 'Don't fuck with the truck' I urge the people at CR/MH not to fuck with this tour either. Bring it back later in the year, same bands, but bigger and better venues. You cant fuck with perfection!!


Saturday, 22 March 2014

John Wesley - 'Disconnect' Album Review

Most recently, John Wesley has performed as sideman, guitarist/vocalist for critically acclaimed UK based recording act Porcupine Tree, during the 'In Absentia', 'Deadwing', 'Fear of a Blank Planet', and 'The Incident' world tours. He has performed in the band for nine years, culminating in 2010 with sold out performances at Radio City Music Hall and the Royal Albert Hall.

 John Wesley's professional music career began in the early 1980's in the Tampa, Florida area where he founded 1991 Southwestern Music Conference's showcase act Autodrive. The following year Wesley embarked on a solo career and became the premier opening act for British progressive rockers Marillion on seven consecutive tour legs around the world — especially North and South America, the UK and Europe — where he played for hundreds of thousands of fans. In 1998, Wesley embarked with White Lion frontman Mike Tramp on an extensive tour as premier opening act for the prestigious Peter Frampton/Lynryd Skynyrd tour.

Following this was several world tours as lead guitarist for Scottish neo-prog legend Fish. In 2001, John Wesley was the primary co-writer of Fish’s 'Fellini Days' album. He began touring as guitarist and backing vocalist for Porcupine Tree in 2002, and has continued his role with the band through four album cycles and over 450 shows. In 2011 he performed guitar during Steven Wilson's North 'American Grace for Drowning' tour. In 2013, Wesley toured as lead guitarist with Simon Collin's 'Sound of Contact' to support the 'Dimensionaut' album. Wesley has also toured the U.S. and Europe extensively to support his independent releases – performing as opening act for Marillion, Fish, Porcupine Tree, Sister Hazel, and Blackfield. I emplore you to dig out a copy of an album John appeared on in 2009 by 'Tilt – Million Dollar Wound', review is still knocking around somewhere!

'Disconnect' is the opening track and single from the album. The concept behind the video was to touch upon a sci-fi story about a man who was ‘overdrawn’ at the Memory Bank, a place you could go to when you had to ‘disconnect’ from a painful memory, but at the risk of losing your mind…

It has all the ethereal qualities of the like of the now defunct Porcupine Tree, and 'Disconnect' fits nicely in this genre. But, think more in the creative vein of Rush and Pink Floyd, than the likes of Genesis, Yes and Tull. Wesley is certainly one hell of a capable guitarist and his solo's just ebb and flow like the oncoming tide in Somerset!!! (British humour, as you can tell by the correct spelling of humour!)

'Any Old Saint' is just an immense slice of rock proficiency. Wesley wrings some sweet notes on what I can only describe as a quite monstrous and delightful guitar solo. His voice isn’t the strongest, but he's no slouch either. Sing to your strengths? Absolutely!

Wesley managed to rope in Rush legend Alex Lifeson for ‘Once A Warrior’. The guitar refrain reminds me slightly of ‘Spoonman’ by Soundgarden, mixed together with Rush era 'Hemispheres', and the result as one classy affair. Lifeson is definitely at his best when he has his rock hat on! ‘Window’ is as likely a radio friendly poppier song as youre likely to get on Disconnect and shows another side to Wesley. As you can tell, ‘Disconnect’ is ‘white hot’. Wesley has had a musical epiphany, not worrying about what is prog and what isn’t, if it feels right, do it, and ‘do it’ he has, with bells and with knobs on! It’s just one consistent belter after another. Mary Will has that kind on film soundtrack feel it, a broody darker piece that would enhance any cinematic mood.

John Wesley has surpassed anything he has done previously, a remarkable album with some truly excellent guitarwork at the forefront, with experimental textures and arrangements that will make Disconnect stand out from the bunch. Why use one effects pedal, when you can use them all…!

I cant wait to see what he will do next time around as this will take some beating!

Definitely a must for fans or The Tree, Floyd and Von Herzen Bros.

Score 90/100

JOHN WESLEY - Disconnect
1. Disconnect (05:20)

2. Any Old Saint (07:43)

3. Once A Warrior (06:51)

4. Window (03:32)

5. Gets You Everytime (03:33)
6. Mary Will (05:12)

7. Take What You Need (05:20)
8. How Goes The War (03:34)
9. New Life Old Sweat (05:03)
10. Satellite (05:32)

John Wesley online
john-wesley.com facebook.com/johnwesleyofficial twitter.com/johnwesleymusic www.youtube.com/johnwesleymusic instagram.com/johnwesley johnwesleymusic.tumblr.com/ pinterest.com/johnwesleymusic/

John Wesley - vocals, backing vocals, and guitars Dean Tidey - guitars, Disconnect (1st guitar solo), Any Old Saint (1st guitar solo), Cafe Bustelo Shaker
Patrick Bettison - bass guitar
Mark Prator - Drums and percussion

Under the Red and White Sky (1994) The Closing of the Pale Blue Eyes (1995) The Emperor Falls (1998)
Chasing Monsters (2002)
Shiver (2005)
The Lilypad Suite (2011)
Disconnect (2014)

Saturday, 8 March 2014

L.R.S. - Down To The Core album review

L.R.S. started initially as a way to bring back to the public the amazing vocal talent of Tommy La Verdi, a singer which came to the attention of the fans on the fabulous 21 GUNS debut album "Salute" way back in what seemed an eternity in 1992, the whole project morphed into a power band trio when two other well known musicians: guitar player Josh Ramos and drummer Michael Shotton were brought into the picture by the album producer and busiest guy in AOR, Alessandro Del Vecchio (HARDLINE).

The writing sessions were fast and steady, with Del Vecchio managing all contributions from the band members – who lived in different places - and offering a number of his own writings and co-writings to the band, which was anyway able to develop a distinct sound in the tradition of JOURNEY / THE STORM, with hints of Canadian AOR – and do you know what…they’ve bloody well nailed it!

“I felt honored when Serafino Perugino, Frontiers Records President, offered me the opportunity to return to the homeland of my family and to work with people I respect artistically”, says Tommy La Verdi. “My only complaint is that it went by so fast. I will be happy to continue making many records with Alessandro and Frontiers Records in the future! One the songs on the album is called "I Will Find My Way" and when I got lost while going for a fast little walk in the forest of Somma Lombardo before going into the studio, that song was suddenly my favorite… 8 hours later, it was nice to know that Alessandro and Josh were actually worried about me. We all became friends so quickly, it was very sad to leave each other after we finished recording and filming the videos. I really would love to get this band on the road and play these songs in front of a live audience. We just need to make sure that Frontiers doesn't book any of the shows close to the forest!”
Serafino Perugino is a guy who knows what he wants and I expect he has little issue in getting what he wants done. A fan first and foremost, he is responsible for getting some pretty decent bands formed and RE-formed and in the main for the right reasons. Here with L.R.S. he has gone and put a gem of a line-up together, and I really doubt if anyone else out there could do this

L.R.S. have been formed in the image of some of the great melodic rock bands of the 80s, namely the Bay Area giants that are Journey.  A perfect example of this is the opening track ‘Our Love To Stay’. It’s a song that would fit in with any Journey opus of the 80s, and a song that Journey only wish they could muster up in the 21st Century.

‘Livin 4 A Dream’ is a straight out of the box ‘get under your skin’ number. ‘Never Surrender’ has all the opening hallmarks of Journeys ‘Be Good To Yourself’, and is a definite summer feel good anthem that the AOR fans will lap up in their droves. Theres the inevitable power ballads, ‘To Be Your Man’ being one, which gives LaVerdi the opportunity so show off his chops; and the obligatory harder edge song ‘Down To The Core’ to give Ramos’ fingers a flexing, and potential FM/ Internet radio friendly ‘Waiting For Love’, and final epic closer in ‘Not One way To Give’.

 I could be a little critical and say that some of the songs are formulaic, but…so are 90% of songs that are out there, and some bands have lived on the same formula for 30 years, so its not that bad to work to a formula! Despite that, it’s a very well produced, above average album, especially when there a tendency for projects like this to get in, get out and bank some money. L.R.S. are definitely 'not guilty' of passing go and heading straight to their nearest ‘Bank Of America’ branch.

The resulting album promises to be a shining example of today's AOR music with soaring vocals from a superb vocalist who comes back into the well deserved spotlight and some exquisite guitar playing from Ramos. This is an album not to be missed and an AOR highlight for early 2014!

LRS will also play as a live unit which is great news, and I for one will see you at Frontiers Fest in Milan at the beginning of May

SCORE 85/100
Our Love To Stay; Livin’ 4 A Dream; I Can Take You There; Never Surrender; Almost Over You; Shadow Of A Man; Universal Cry; To Be Your Man; Down To The Core; I Will Find My Way; Waiting For Love; Not One Way To Give.

Tommy La Verdi - lead vocals
Josh Ramos - guitars
Michael Shotton – drums, backing vocals

Alessandro Del Vecchio keyboards, hammond organ, backing vocals
Nicola Mazzucconi bass, fretless bass
Anna Portalupi bass, fretless bass
Jamie Browne bass