The great and the good of the West Midlands hard rock and metal scene descended on Wolverhampton last night for what promised to be a huge night for one of its favourite bands.
There has been a serious buzz around the Stone Broken camp ever since they announced the release of their debut album next year, and the hype going into last night’s album launch show was at fever pitch. So, the question is, did the night deliver? Oh you’re damn right it did.
Things started out in pretty low-key fashion as Cause To Effect took to the stage in front of quite a sparse crowd as many were still arriving. The Wolverhampton based quartet got off to a bit of a slow start but certainly warmed to the task as their set went on. It must also be said that they weren’t always helped by the sound as some of the guitar solos were left way down in the mix. This was a feature on and off throughout the night and while not any of the band’s fault I can’t not mention it. Their repertoire ranged from slow, rangy slow builders to moments of all out hard hitting and hard rocking chaos. Each song was greeted more warmly than the last and by the time the band had made their exit they had firmly set the tone for the rest of the evening.
‘Heavy as hell.’ That’s the first note that I scribbled down after My Great Affliction had been on the stage for barely a minute, and I think that that sums the trio up quite nicely. Their set was just relentless, summed up by Mountain (Out Of A Molehill) opening with a classic metal riff before descending into a mega chorus and soaring guitar solo. In short, it’s an absolute brute of a track. Demon Woman continued the onslaught before frontman Ste urged the rapidly growing crowd to ‘grab your bollocks’ and sing for the finale Narcissist.
In all honesty I’m finding it hard to find the words to sum up what was an utterly breathless affair. There was passion and energy by the bucket load and you couldn’t help but notice that the band was having a great time up on the stage. If they’re ever in your town then I’d definitely recommend that you go and check them out.
It had been over a year since I had seen Lightfire play live so I was really interested to see if they were as good as I remembered. To answer my own question, yes they were. The guys on stage had fully embraced the classic Christmas jumper and the results were frankly spectacular. I’ve never heard a band introduce their first song with the line ‘Here’s some racket’ before but I guess there’s a first time for everything. In any event to describe what followed as just a ‘racket’ would be doing the intrepid men from Cannock a grave disservice. Make no mistake, this was a headline worthy performance.
The band hit their straps straight from the off, with slow building choruses leading towards bursts of almost frenetic intensity as they poured everything they had into their performance. I’m also now going to lobby for a ‘whisky break’ to become a regular thing at gig after watching its greatness here. Performers and audience members alike will pause to take a swig of God’s water. (It’s the future I’m telling you) Heavily bearded frontman Scott has a kind of Mike Skinner style level of self-depreciation that was demonstrated loud and proud as the band fled into a rendition of Merry Christmas Everybody which he described as ‘busking.’ It was a great, fun moment nestled in amongst moments of ear-splitting hard rock in the form of original material such as I am Giant and closer FBFOD.
I’m not ashamed to nail my colours to the mast with these guys. I love their intensity, their energy and most importantly they’ve got the songs to match. Again, go check them out and if you get the chance to see them live just make sure you take it.
The anticipation around the room as Stone Broken began to set up was incredible. I’ve not felt a buzz like that at a ‘local’ show for some time. It’s been a great privilege on my part to be able to watch the foursome grow and develop over the last year or so, and you could just sense that we were going to be treated to something special.
The cheers that greeted the opening strains of Not Your Enemy were as loud as anything that I had heard at any gig of this size and by the chorus of 2nd song Better a singalong was well underway. The best way in which I can summarise the performance is by saying that the band nailed everything. If there were any slips on stage they were invisible to those of us on the floor. Let Me Go was hammered out in all of its hard hitting glory as in contrast Wait For You and Another Day provided those big grandstand ballad moments, after which frontman Rich Moss caught proper sight of the crowd for the first time offering up ‘Wow… there’s a lot of you..’ slightly off mic.
Latest single Stay All Night was everything that I hoped it would be while a rendition of Backstreet Boys Larger Than Life put nostalgic smiles on more than a few faces. Although Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) will always be their best tune…
The band left the stage to chants of ‘One more song!’ after the powerful Fall Back Down but we all knew they would be back. The now traditional Stone Broken mash-up featuring Breed, Are You Gonna Go My Way, Back In Black, Sad But True and a monster drum solo from Robyn Haycock among other things further hyped up an already rapturous audience before This Life closed out proceedings.
I could go on and on about that headline performance but for once in my life I’ll try and keep it short and sweet. Last night was something special. I genuinely feel proud to say that I was there. The band’s performance was nigh on flawless, and with the release of debut album All In Time just around the corner they have the world at their feet.
On one hand those in attendance watched the results of months and probably years of hard work but on the other the door to the wider world and bigger and better stages was just opening, but one thing last night was made startlingly clear…
Stone Broken are a force to be reckoned with, and man; they’re just getting started.