One Last Run first appeared on my radar when I pretty much lost my mind reviewing their debut EP back last December. Turns out I wasn’t the only one as that record received pretty much universal acclaim.
Ever since then I have watched from afar as the band picked up more and more fans and more and more accolades from people like me. I needed to see them live though, being able to put together a great record is one thing but you also need to be able to kick ass live; if you can’t your band isn’t going to go very far. So the venue was set, Scruffy Murphys (Awesome, proper hard rock/metal pub and venue) in deepest, darkest Birmingham, what were the band really made of?
I’m not going to lie I went into this one with really high expectations, purely because that EP was so good, and I’m pleased to report that I wasn’t disappointed.
There was no warming up, no feeling their way into the performance; straight from the off One Last Run absolutely dominated the stage. Opening song Rise (Or Fall) wasn’t just a way to kick off the set it was a signal of intent. This band are all about doing things in the biggest way possible. The riffs are huge, the rhythm section doesn’t wander, it thunders and the vocals are beyond powerful. All of that was demonstrated in fine style in that opening track and the audience just drank it all in. (With obligatory head nodding thrown in of course)
Generally speaking I hate watching bands cover songs I like because I get absolutely terrified that they are going to destroy it and I can’t stop them! That being said I kind of knew that Alter Bridge’s Come To Life was in safe hands, and my God I wasn’t wrong. The performance of this track completely sold me probably for life on Becky Roberts as a frontwoman. She stood on her own improvised podium like a preacher at the pulpit roaring her hard rock gospel out over a captivated congregation. I mentioned above the power of her vocal and it is really impressive but what sold me was her arrogance. Not arrogance in a bad way, but in that classic rock star ‘I know full well that I’m killing this shit’ kind of way. That kind of stage presence is rarely seen at a local level so that was hugely impressive.
House Of Cards was one of my favourite tracks from that EP that I keep mentioning and I loved it live. It’s just simple straight from the heart Velvet Revolver style hard rock. There were lots of crashing drums and even more flailing hair from those on stage whose energy was starting to look limitless. The room downstairs at Scruffys really isn’t the biggest which just amplified everything by about a thousand which in turn meant that this track sounded like it was going to bring down the walls. Following tune Breathe may have been a slower affair but there was no drop in intensity. The guitar solo which opens the track shows off the brilliant guitar work which was present throughout the performance and the song just built to a powerful crescendo from there.
There was no let up as the swirling guitars and the thrashing, hard rocking mayhem of Close My Eyes picked up the musical baton. There are sections of this one which are seriously Alter Bridge-esque and I doubt that even Mr Kennedy and co could have rocked the crowd harder. It bears repeating that this wasn’t a band playing on home turf so to get the reactions from the audience which they were says everything about how their music and how good their performance was. The penultimate track of the set Tell Me was a new one and it will eventually serve as the lead single from the band’s upcoming album. The verses are pretty stripped back with all roads leading towards a monster chorus. The guitar solo is totally on the money and as a single this track will undoubtedly do great things.
The curtain was brought down on the chaos by Bring The Pain a track with a main riff as dirty as the mind which came up with the song’s lyrics. Rock music was built for that kind of overt sexuality and me and everyone else in the very sweaty crowd last night loved it.
Before I ventured into Birmingham last night I knew that One Last Run were good but I really wasn’t expecting them to be that good. Every member of the band performs their role with an energy and passion which means that they will surely grace bigger stages than this in the years to come. They’ve got great songs, a great live show and a killer look. I’m not in the business of making predictions but I wouldn’t be surprised if very important people are taking lots of notice of these guys in the coming years. Whatever the magic formula is which attracted me to rock music in the first place all of those years ago it’s coursing these 5 guys’ veins. They really are. That. Damn. Good.