We all remember a time when hard rockin’ guys walked the earth and MTV was happy to have programmes dedicated to genres of rock outside of Led Zep or AC/DC and then Grunge was alleged to have almost made a whole scene extinct apart from a few outposts that kept the faith well, 2019 and some of those people who remained true to their roots have come crawling out of the ashes of the past and are once again proud to drape a scarf over their mic stand and wear their attire like they were born to rock rather than some work clothes and sneakers like they’ve just walked in from working on their car.  Babylon Shakes are one of those bands – no not work clothes and oily clothes but a band who remember when Tyler and Perry rocked or when Faster Pussycat had the strut on Sunset Blvd.

 

Without a hint of irony, ‘Exile To The Velveteen Lounge’ can and will be compared to that Debut Faster Pussycat album or pre MTV Aerosmith because that’s where they are coming from or strutting from.  Take the second song ‘Sunset Striptease’ its certainly got that sleazy Joe Perry riff happening and the song is a rollicking good time and the fact they are happy to hit that cowbell like its going out of fashion is marvellous. It’s sleazy, loud and a bloody good time and it keeps it rock n rolling and not falling into that cheesy metal field.  I think the fact they are wearing their influences on their sleeves and its stretching back into the ’70s for inspiration rather than the 80’s makes this record authentic and above all the songs whilst often have cliched lyrics are pretty decent.

 

The production is big but it’s not Bon Jovi big and they keep it real without the temptation to add studio trickery or lush keyboards ‘No Pictures Please’ could be The Sweet and it’s impossible not to reference classic Faster Pussycat on songs like ‘Velveteen Liberteen’ and possibly add to that a hint of the Dogs D’Amour swagger.

Similar themes crop up throughout the rest of this album and they don’t stray from their tried and tested comfort zone and there’s nothing wrong with that being a loud sleazy Rock ‘n’ Roll band is alright with us and I thought I’d got away without there being the big soft ballad but then ‘Star In Your Eye’ crawled out of the speakers like it’s 7 am and they’ve just got in. It’s a decent arrangement but I’m not convinced it was needed but hey that’s one opinion.

Leaving just ‘Motel Lights’ to rock this bad boy home and with a great rumbling bass line, it certainly does that. I like Babylon Shakes and this album is a very decent affair now if they along with label mates the Prophets Of Addiction can kickstart more bands to follow suit then we might be in for a resurgence of a genre people said was gone forever but we know better folks and on this evidence so do Babylon Kicks.  Good Work fellas good work!

Buy Exile To The Velveteen Lounge Here

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Author: Dom Daley

Ben Hughes

 

I wear my Junkyard t-shirt with pride. I saw them back in the day and I saw them last year at Hull Hair Metal Heaven, albeit with a 26-year gap. Now I get to see them do an actual headline set at my local venue, just a short walk from my house, 27 years since first seeing them open for The Almighty.

Over here as support to Blackberry Smoke by personal request of singer Charlie Starr shows the respect these Hollywood veterans have in certain circles and rightly so. Lumped in with the late 80’s glam scene, they were always more Steve Earl than Motley Crue. Times may have changed, styles may have changed but Junkyard will always be Junkyard. Bowing to no trends or fads, they play rock ‘n’ roll like they always have, honest songs with dirty riffs and sleazy vocals that get under the fingernails and refuse to budge.

 

First up we have The Jokers. I’ve not seen or heard The Jokers before tonight and to be fair the Northern band were highly impressive. I guess you could put them right in the Classic Rock category, think Bad Company meets Shortino-era Quiet Riot. You can’t knock their energy and enthusiasm for starters and I think they turned it up to 11, maybe a bit too loud for the sparse turnout at Fibbers tonight.

Singer Wane Parry looks like a young Dave King in his Fastway days with Bolans’ corkscrew hair and what a damn fine set of pipes he has. Diminutive guitarist Paul Hurst is a poundshop Warner E Hodges and an excellent player who gives his all, pulling off massive riffs and licks aplenty. Several times he downs his Les Paul and comes out into the audience to beckon people to come to the front. He partly succeeded by pulling forward some birds who were probably wives and girlfriends of the band to be honest.

They played like the room was packed and they deserve bigger audiences. If they play in your town I strongly urge you to go see them.

 

Vintage Trouble’s ‘Run Like The River’ blats from the PA as an introduction for Junkyard’s set tonight. With the cover of last year’s excellent ‘High Water’ album emblazoned on the screens behind them, they launch straight into ‘Life Sentence’. It’s been the opener every time I have seen them, no wonder, it’s a killer introduction. “That’s my life, that’s my way…that’s my life sentence”  shouts Roach as he swings his mic stand around the stage, no truer words have been sung with such conviction.

Dressed in their obligatory matching denim cut-offs, Junkyard are a gang who wear their colours proudly on their backs and their brand of biker blues is for real. The raw, punk rock delivery of David Roach is the perfect match for the bluesy twin guitars of Jimmy James and Tim Mosher. Uber cool Quireboys bassist Gary Ivin, standing in for the absent Todd Muscat, is a fine replacement and keeps a perfect rhythm with original drummer Pat Muzingo.

New songs such as ‘Faded’ and the punky ‘W.F.L.W.F.’ fit perfectly with the old standards and it’s as great to hear these new songs live as it is the classics. The ever cool ‘Back On The Streets’ and the bluesy ‘Long Way Home’ are played early and sound sublime.  

Jimmy James breaks a string midway through ‘Blooze’, so as the pair of guitarists dart off stage together to re-string (they didn’t even bring a spare?), the rhythm section keeps the song going, bassist Gaz keeps the rumbling bassline jamming stage front as David returns with an extended vocal rap. A fine rock ‘n’ roll moment to savor.

‘Hands Off’ remains one of my favourite Junkyard songs and tonight, as Tim picks those classic chords and Jimmy rips out that bluesy lead, it sends shivers up the back of my spine.

Of course, they close with the obligatory ‘Hollywood’ their biggest hit, but not their greatest song by far.

 

No encore’s, no surprises and a no-frills approach that delivered just what you expect from a Junkyard show. There is talk of them returning to these shores in the not so distant future, and while I’m sure the packed out shows with Blackberry Smoke have been rewarding for the band, I do hope the not so packed club shows don’t put them off coming back for more. Until they return, I still wear my Junkyard t-shirt with pride.

Buy Junkyard Here

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