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The Nics + Sciattica + My Brother, The Wolf + A Born Disaster + Chris Wheeler Live @ The Wheatsheaf Walsall – 9th April 2016

Last Saturday I ventured over to Walsall for the first time in a hell of a long time to sink a few drinks in The Wheatsheaf and take in some live music along the way.

This review has in the last hour or so taken a bit of twist as The Nics who invited me to go down to the show and who I have featured many times on this site have announced an ‘indefinite hiatus.’ So as it stands this may be have been the last time that the band took the stage together.

I’ll hold my hands up and admit that this won’t be the most in-depth review that I have ever written; it will be more of an overview of the night. I’ll just skip through all of the artists and throw out the highs and lows.

Chris Wheeler got the night underway in fine style with a great acoustic set with a mix of original material and covers. Everyone was still filing into the pub, the sun was shining through the windows and there was a really laid back feeling in the room, there was just a great vibe. Wheeler was there to set everything on the way and lay the foundation for the rest of the night and with his laid back style, gentle interaction with the audience and quality vocals he did that really well.

To say that the contrast between Wheeler and A Born Disaster was stark would be the mother of all understatements. For all of the openers laid back charm A Born Disaster are all about intensity. Their music is heavier than the stuff that I usually cover so it’s hard for me to critique it properly. (I just don’t get the ‘scream’ vocal in this kind of metal. It’s no reflection on the band, it’s just a personal preference on a style of music) That being said, the band definitely brought the intensity, brought the aggression and a whole load of noise. All I can say is that the heavy metal fans in the audience had fun, and enjoyed what they saw, so it’s hard to argue that the band didn’t deliver.

My Brother, The Wolf aren’t a band that I had come across before last Saturday but the band certainly grabbed my attention. They just make no frills, straight from the gut metal and produced a really enjoyable set. I was a big fan of the guitar work; some of the towering solos were just awesome. The vocals were bang on point, and the guy’s cover of For Whom The Bell Tolls was one of the highlights of the entire night.

Speaking of covers, heavy rock and metal covers band Sciattica were just immense. Their appearance saw nearly-birthday boy Adam Vickers pulling the 2nd part of his triple duty for the evening as he wielded his guitar for the first and not last time on the night. (Vickers acted as promotor, as well as hitting the stage with Sciattica as well as the Nics) In short the band tore the place down; it was incredibly good hard rocking fun. Their renditions of Mr Crowley, NIB, War Pigs and Here Comes The Rain were all fantastic and heartily received by those in attendance.

The main reason for the night however was to launch the new and as it stands at the moment, the final EP Temporal from The Nics. The band launched into their set with the traditionally mega sounding Woman and it set the tone for what followed in beautifully heard-hitting style. The band’s older material has got a kind of Black Sabbath style feel to it and that definitely helps the band sound as heavy as hell. The almost schizophrenic and wildly energetic vocal from front man Mac Smith helps give the band their own unique style and grabs each song by the scruff of the neck and tonight was no exception.

The trio’s older material was of course received really well but the new songs from the new record also got a great response. With the heavy yet smooth as silk groove that runs through Kill Em All probably being the standout moment. Rob Skitt’s drums absolutely hammered the band through their set only slowing for a brief and incredibly random 4-line rendition of the Elvis Presley classic Heartbreak Hotel. Stone Cold Killer has always been a personal favourite of mine it was a pleasure to hear it thunder around the room for what turned out to be the final time.

The only real negative I had on the night was the sound, it really wasn’t that clear at all. I don’t know what it was like right down the front on top of the bands but even 20 feet back it really wasn’t all that sharp. It was also a really long night, the first act hit the stage at 7 and The Nics finished playing at half past midnight, so I must confess I felt a bit jaded towards the end. However, it was a pub gig and also to celebrate Mr Vickers’ birthday so you can forgive the ‘loose’ feel at times.

The long and short of it was that a good night was had by all. Each act did their thing and did it well. It really was a damn good way to spend a Saturday night.

I might still put out my review of the new Nics record Temporal but I’m not sure yet. Although it’s a shame to see the band walk away from the stage as I think they had plenty more to offer, it was great to seem go out at the top of their game.

Mac, Adam and Rob; it’s been a pleasure gentlemen.

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