Released on November 5th


DEAD MEN WALKING are back in November 2021 with 4 UK shows to promote their brand new debut studio album ‘FREEDOM – It Ain’t On The Rise’.

Founding DMW member Kirk Brandon (Spear of Destiny/Theatre of Hate) will once again be joined by heralded rhythm section Segs and Ruffy from The Ruts on acoustic bass, percussion & vocals, and completing the line up will be Jake Burns, legendary frontman of Stiff Little Fingers, who will bring his guitar, songs and stories.

With a massive catalogue of songs to choose from this amazing DMW line up intend to deliver a raw stripped back interpretation of a whole host of classic tracks from their respective iconic albums and singles.

A few surprise cover versions and even a brand new song or two from the new album are also threatening to make their way into the set.
All in all, the ‘Soundtrack of a Generation’ will be on show every night.

See Dead Men Walking Live in Glasgow, Gosforth, Fleetwood & London. November 11th to 14th 2021.
The debut DEAD MEN WALKING studio album ‘FREEDOM – It Ain’t On The Rise’ is released on Guy Fawkes night 2021.



11th- GLASGOW, Oran Mor
12th- GOSFORTH, Civic Theatre
13th- FLEETWOOD, Marine Hall
14th- LONDON, 229 Club




Rufus Publications and Ross Halfin are proud to present a huge, new, limited edition book ‘The Black Crowes’ featuring thousands of unseen images from Ross’s extensive library.

Produced alongside Chris and Rich Robinson the book is a huge photographic essay on the band, formed in Marietta Georgia in 1984. The book features introductions from both brothers and as Chris Robinson says in his introduction, “To say that The Black Crowes & Mr. Halfin have a long history together is most definitely an understatement. Here in these photographs you will see & feel.”

As Ross remembers. “Could I tell you stories about this band? I could probably tell you a hundred, and one of the highlights was seeing them opening for The Rolling Stones at Wembley Stadium and whilst doing an hour’s set they did a 25-minute version of ‘Thorn in My Pride’. In hindsight, perhaps not the best idea to warm up 90,000 people, although I did think it would be funny if they put it out as a single and called it the “Radio edit” – but that’s not really the point to this, it’s something I remembered which made me laugh, then again I saw them at The Forum in London when they did a really succinct and great rendition of the Joe Tex song Hush made famous by Deep Purple”.


Two editions of the book will be available:

A huge 600 page plus edition, numbered and signed by Chris and Rich Robinson complete with a luxury slipcase and lenticular print and a stripped down 300 page version, unsigned.

Both books measure 245mm x 345mm. The Deluxe version will cost £300 and the Standard Edition will cost £89 plus delivery worldwide.

The book will go on pre-sale at 3pm UK time on Friday October 29th and will ship in March 2022.

We all know about the first incarnation of the legendary Brazilian thrash metal band Sepultura. Even though this new boxset covers the second phase of the band’s long history, I will be delving back into the Max Cavalera era to tell the full story of this fantastic new remastered set so please bear with me!


I’ll be honest with you, I’m one of the original Sepultura fans whose love affair with the band began with the legendary Beneath the Remains album (I struggled with the Bestial Devastation, Morbid Visions and Schizophrenia albums).  I saw the video for Inner Self on an episode of Headbangers Ball that coincided with a gig they played at London’s Marquee club and I bought the album the next day. The Scott Burns produced album blew me away and the next album Arise was even better.


I got to see them with Sacred Reich supporting at Newport Centre in 91 and they were superb! 1993 saw the band release my favourite Sepultura album Chaos AD, this was the first time the band started experimenting with Brazilian rhythms and acoustic guitars and it brought a whole new element to their sound. I even forgave them for the album’s liner notes stating that they recorded the album in Rockfield Studios, Wales……England!! Arghhh lol. A fantastic set at Donington in 1994 cemented them into this metalheads all-time favourite bands.


By the time Roots came along in 96, the Latin influences and huge down tuned metal riffs combined to make a sonic assault that had never been heard before. They really were a game changing band even recording with Brazilian tribes in the rain forest. Incredible stuff…


Max left the band after the tragic death of his stepson Dana Wells in a car accident, and the bands relationship was left in tatters after the other three members including his brother Iggor, decided that they wanted to fire manager Gloria Bujnowski (also Max’s wife). This prompted Cavalera’s exit and led to him forming the successful Soulfly.


Sepultura recruited new vocalist Derrick Green and released the first album in this boxset – Against which was released in 1998. There are some moments of brilliance here, Choke is full assault that highlights Green’s vocal prowess and his presence on the album is a powerful one. The album wasn’t received too well critically at the time with it selling less than Soulfly’s debut. There were certainly enough glimpses of the old Sepultura with an inkling of what the future could bring.


Nation was released in 2001 and was the last Sepultura album recorded for Roadrunner records. The album sold poorly, and while re visiting it for this review, I don’t know why. There are some fantastic moments here with Green really stamping his authority as a vocalist. The pummelling Revolt being a standout track. After Revolusongs, an EP of covers, (included in the box set) was released in 2002, the bands ninth studio album Roorback was their debut on SPV records. Another strong release with some strong song writing and a sound not too dissimilar to the Roots album. Iggor Cavalera plays an absolute blinder on this album (as usual) and tracks like Godless and Urge showcase a band that really are firing on all cylinders.


Their tenth album Dante XXI came out in 2006. It’s a concept album based on Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy. It was to prove the last Sepultura album featuring Igor Cavalera. He reconciled with Max and they formed Cavalera Conspiracy. The album is another well-rounded effort highlighting the fact that later Sepultura hold their own as a band. False, Dark Wood of Error and Ostia are superb. Green spits out the words with gusto while the riffs chug along like freight trains.


2009s A- Lex was the first Sepultura album without both Cavalera brothers. Jean Dolabella took over on the drum stool, thus leaving bass player Paulo Jr as the only surviving member from the original line up. A – Lex is another concept album, this time based on the book A Clockwork Orange. The personnel changes didn’t seem to have a negative effect on the band, in fact they delivered one of their strongest albums since Roots with A – Lex.


This box set is an easy way for anyone who never dipped their toes into the Sepultura pool after Max Cavalera’s departure to get acquainted with some underrated and overlooked material. These albums should be mentioned in the same breath as any of the ‘classic’ line ups work. The set is available as an 8 LP vinyl or a 5 CD collection and looks fantastic. Go and get your hands on a copy!



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Author: Kenny Kendrick

10 years ago, I was banging on to anyone who would listen about this great new band from L.A. called Vintage Trouble who dressed suited and booted, like they meant business, and played the kind of dirty, pelvis pushin’ rock n’ soul music usually reserved for whiskey drinking, juke joint jivers.



They gained friends in high places and toured the world on stages opening for the likes of Bon Jovi, The Who and AC/DC. In between they played clubs and sweaty dives across the UK and Europe gaining a live reputation and a following affectionately known as Troublemakers.


Their management had an agenda and it seemed to be paying off. They were, and I don’t say this lightly, probably the best live band on the planet at that time. Singer Ty Taylor possessed a voice raw like James Brown but as controlled and powerful as Freddie Mercury, and he could work a crowd as well as both of them. The band were as tight as any band I have ever seen. The Zep meets James Brown comparisons came thick and fast in the press and with a killer debut album called ‘The Bomb Shelter Sessions’ up their sleeves, they seemed to have the world at their feet.


Many of the songs they were playing live back then were already recorded for album number two, but it was ultimately shelved by the powers that be for whatever crazy reason, and the band went in a different direction, releasing the critically acclaimed, yet disappointing ‘One Hopeful Road’ 4 years later. Fast forward a decade and these ‘lost’ songs have finally surfaced under the moniker ‘Juke Joint Gems’, with no fanfare, no press coverage and as yet, no physical release.


Opener ‘The World’s Gonna Have To Take A Turn Around’ is probably their finest moment, previously available on the UK double CD version of ‘TBSS’ back in 2011. A perfectly executed protest song pure and simple, it’s a fitting soundtrack for these troubled times of BLM, Climate change and Covid. This song straddles genres and would have mass appeal if played in all the right places. Soulful, mournful and bluesy, yet as uplifting as singing hymns in church at Christmas. A sublime introduction.


A live version of ‘Love With Me’ appeared on that same CD, the studio version here is more polished around the edges but still retains that electrifying spark that the band possess live. The following ‘24-7-365 Satisfaction Man’ was a Troublemaker live favourite back in the early days. One of their trademark, deep soulful love songs, it builds on a killer, slow beat rhythm courtesy of drummer Richard Danielson and bassist Rick Barrio Dill. The understated guitars by Nalle Colt are there just enough to accentuate things and leave space for Ty to work his magic.


Three songs in and already I have been transported back 10 years to those magical early gigs, watching a killer live band prove themselves to a new audience night after night. The songs sound just as I remember them live, and while they benefit from the studio treatment, they lose none of their fire. ‘Red Handed’ is a deep cut for sure, that guitar intro is insane, I had to give it a rewind! The added, soulful backing vocals and stabs of piano bring it to life and the scratchy wah-wah solo gives a New York 70’s vibe to proceedings, and it’s a dirty groove for sure. Things get dirtier with ‘Low Down Dirty Dog’, and it sounds just as the title suggests. A foot-stomping, backstreet anthem that retains the live feel of the band and showcases the more edgy, rock n’ roll side that they are more than capable of. This is where those Zep meets James Brown comparisons are justified.



‘Let It Not Be So’ on the other hand takes thing in a completely different direction. Coming on like a Nat King Cole seasonal ballad, this is Ty’s soulful upbringing and musical influences coming to the fore. Chilled acoustic guitars and a laid-back, perfectly executed rhythm are there creating space for the vocal melody to shine. Elsewhere, ‘Twisted Together’ and ‘Lover Let Me Be’ have a Jackie Wilson, 50’s soulful pop feel, coming on like classic 45’s spinning at a Northern Soul club.



Then we get to my favourite of the whole damn bunch. ‘You Saved Me’ is hands down my favourite tune by these suited and booted dudes, yet I have only had live versions going around in my head for the last 10 years. I love the dynamics of this song, the little stop-starts, and the lyrics are delivered just as I remember. The way Ty accentuates the hook in the chorus each time, it’s just sublime and gives me goosebumps just as it did when I saw them play it live. For me, it is one of those songs that was instant the first time I heard it, like it has been in my head forever.



Album closer ‘Get It’ was only previously available on the Japanese edition of ‘One Hopeful Road’. Again, an early live favourite that has an Ike & Tina Turner vibe. A killer beat, kudos Richard here, as he gets to shine on that kit. It’s a pumping, juke joint jive of a tune with a killer bassline and a gang vocal chorus you can’t help but sing.


Personally, I feel ‘Juke Joint Gems’ should’ve been the follow up to ‘TBSS’. These songs showcase the live energy of a band rich in soul and rock n’ roll, who can deliver the goods live night after night. For those who were there, these songs are heaped with nostalgia and will take you back to those early, sweaty gigs. For the uninitiated, this is a testament to what you missed out on and hopefully it will make you buy a ticket the next time they return to these shores.

It’s been a long time coming, and even though it should’ve been released years ago, Vintage Trouble have probably just bagged the album of the year.


Author: Ben Hughes


Sickeningly good power-pop from the tried and tested Cheap Trick formula.  With harmonies that are sweet and backing vocals to die for whilst the overdriven guitars are summer fresh like driving around town with the roof down and the stereo on loud and the prettiest girl on your arm.  The band sport the coolest feather cuts and all sport converse with a switchblade comb for good measure.  Yes? No?  I’m not fussed it’s like driving to Coney Island as ‘Radio Signal’ blasts on the stereo because it’s the smash hit of the summer.


There’s also a bit of snot happening here as well it’s not all power pop rock n roll as ‘Shivers And Scars’ reminds me of The Cry when they were about.  Focussing on a strong melody and then the music be it jangly power pop or some overdriven punk rock it’s all gravy and groovy.


Sure there are many exponents of this strain of Rock and Roll but Beluga doesn’t get it wrong and in my experience, the endorsement is enough to get me interested and as soon as the needle drops I’m sold.  The title track is punchy and then the album veers from power pop with dreamy vocals al a ‘Carry On’ then hitting up the more uptempo Teenage Fan club sound of ‘Fade Away’  whilst ‘Fade Away’ is more gutsy and raw in sound and delivery.


You do wonder if the token ballad might arrive but it doesn’t and the band just carry on punching out punky power pop with the sugar-sweet vocals til the end.  Eleven tracks will see the most energetic power pop fan get their fill and another fantastic band is prepared to go into the big wide world and mix it up with some top tunes.

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Eel Men – ‘Are You There God Its Me’ (NFT Records) Jangly jarring guitars over a good melody is always going to be a single to grab the attention. This one is backed by a metronomic robotic backbeat and guitar lick that is part Devo and part Kraftwerk and a spoonful of Buzzcocks for good measure.   There that’s the yardstick to aim for three classic bands thrown into the punk rock melting pot and out pops the Eel Men


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Kurt Baker – ‘Keep It Tight’ (Wicked Cool Records) It’s fair to say that this cover of the Single Bullet theory song is held dear by Mr Baker so much so he burnt a cdr of the song from vinyl and ended up covering it here.  Coolest song in the world by underground garage sounds about right. Kurt Baker should be huge I guess those of us in the know will just have to hold on to that secret until the rest of the world catch up with us and Bakers genius.  until then Keep it tight kids

Get it here



Delusions Of Grandeur – ‘Self Titled’ (Self Released)  Lockdown blues got to some Hip Priests and a couple of Bitch Queens and out birthed Delusions Of Grandeur.  A noisy (obviously) chug through four blistering tracks of tunes that if the backyard Babies wanted to get back into the groove they should listen to.  With guitar licks sparking off the wheels of this Punk and Roll beauty as the EP opens with the bashful ‘Drinking My Life Away’  with some gang vocals on the chorus as these gents trade licks.  Sing-a-long drinkathon.  Nice.  ‘Shits Fucked’ is sped-up snarled punk n roll that just about summed up the past 18 months rather nicely.


If you ever loved the really early ‘Get some Action Now’ era Hellacopters and hankered after some Dragons meets a healthy dose of Gluecifer then this is a no-brainer. With a nod to some spicey Motorhead on the closing track which is never a bad place to be.   Excellent EP from top to bottom. Four track 7″ available on gold, white or black vinyl – Buy It Here


Steve Conte – ‘Flyin’ (Wicked Cool Record) with a cool acoustic song Conte is Flyin.  The latest track off the upcoming album, ‘Bronx Cheer’ its a song in the mould of The Faces balladeering meets classic early Black Crowes.  Steve says of ‘Flyin’, “This one goes back to 1994. We jammed on this in my rehearsal studio very organically and I came up with the lyrics later. I did a few demos of it over the years and it never left my consciousness.”  The lyrics focus on perseverance and how, “in the face of adversity, disappointment and trauma, a person of strong will can keep going for their dreams.”  Whilst the track has a wonderful sound from the acoustic to the earthy Drum sound and the snap of the snare it showcases Conte’s vocals really well and the track has a really earthy sound.  It’s all about light and shade it doesn’t always have t be full-tilt rock and roll.  Great tune.   You can pre order the album Here



Billy Idol – ‘The Roadside’ EP (Dark Horse Records) Four tracks of vital idol with opener ‘Rita Hayworth’ with his familiar snarl and curled lip vocal it’s glossy and has that Idol pound on the rhythm and slick gang vocals on the chorus.  What’s not to like?  it is what it is.

Seconds out and the King Rocker cranks up the laid-back acoustic guitar for ‘Bitter Taste’ it’s a reflective side of Idol and one he’s used to good effect on his last couple of records. ‘U Don’t Have To Kiss Me Like That’ sees a pop beat and some female vocals puncturing the wall of sound It’s a big sound and made for the American market and another side of Idol he’s used to great effect throughout his career.   To be fair he could write this stuff in his sleep. Drum machine at the ready as he goes for the reflective cool sound on the EP closer which to be fair is a decent tune and his vocals sound really good but I’d have prefered an album please Billy rather than an EP.


Cutters – ‘Midnight Bus’ (Self Release) A cover of Betty McQuade’s 1961 hit ‘Midnight Bus’ sees Australian Punks give the tune a bloody good tuning to be fair.  There is no question in my mind that the most impressive new records are coming from down under where there seems to be a hell of a lot of great bands currently kicking the shit out of instruments all over the continent.


Cutters are right up there with the finest exports from Oz now get over to Bandcamp and check em out you might just fall in love with these punks.  Their mini lp ‘Australian War Crimes’ is a fuckin belter!  Here



Junkyard – ‘Lifer’ (Acetate Records) ‘Lifer’ backed by ‘Last Of A Dying Breed’ sees these Californian Rockers come out swinging. It’s hard-rocking licks with a thumping great rhythm section what were you expecting? If this was a new AC/DC track people would be hailing it as the second coming.  These guys are veterans of the hard rock scene and still have energy and a pocket full of tunes that cut it.  Never meant to reinvent the wheel just borrow it for the Hog their riding with this as the theme tune for burning rubber on the highway.

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The Professionals – ‘Spike Me Baby’ lifted from the new album  ‘SNAFU’ is Tom Spencer throwing his Loyalties tip into the Professionals jar and knocking out the best of both worlds.  Sure it’s not Jonesy but it has his blessing and once you’re over that it’s a really good song and why wouldn’t it be.  Its familiar has a rock-solid beat courtesy of Mr. Cook and a decent melody with some sweet guitar licks to boot.  If you’re wondering yes the album is rather good as well some excellent tunes on offer


Jackson Reid Briggs – ‘Fear/Move’ (Legless Records) Jackson Reid Briggs is back with a 4 track EP of punk/soul belters. Jackson got together with two mates a few days after the initial lockdown in Melbourne, Australia ended in November 2020. Noone except Jackson had heard the tracks yet but they smashed them out in a few hours in a storage unit.  Coming on like a ragged US Bombs its class punk rock n Roll.


From the opener ‘Fear’ through ‘The Chase’ which happens to be the pick of the four on offer here. ‘Move’ is a blast of ‘on the hoof’ punk rock with a swirling keyboard mixing up some great gang vocals and spat out lyrics. ‘Monster’ closes off this EP in grand style with a great thumping beat and chanted chorus with a cool guitar lick and some splendid handclaps.  Fantastic four to be fair and well worth checking out.    Buy Here

Malmös First Boy On The Moon was formed back in 2019 it seems like another age ago now and the band’s spaceman logo seems apt Singer-songwriter Dave Pedroza who is a Huntington Beach California kid who uprooted and ended up in Sweden but stayed true to his alternative punk rock roots sure there’s a very early new wave edge to proceedings with bands like U2 when they started out but the influences reach far and wide. ‘Drown It Out’ eases the listener in gently with a good pop tune that’s well produced but rooted in new wave and alternative stylings.


‘Straight Up With You’ is a sprightly number with a melodic edge and straightforward guitars, bass, and drum set up it’s unfussy and the band lets the song do their talking which is refreshing. Some Placebo in the delivery with the punch of the bass piercing through the walking guitar riff.  There’s enough suss in the songwriting to have a massive appeal in the melody of ‘The Truth’ and the album’s title track.  Sure there is some U2 DNA in there on the melodies but its more than just that and at times they spread their wings and rough the sound up and it makes for a more vibrant less polished sound and that alright with me.


Side one is wrapped up nicely with ‘All Right Already’ as the band strays into some Ryan Hamilton territory and the synth playing the lead is a change that adds texture to proceedings.  The album has nine songs which is a change from bands cramming as many tunes on a record as possible it’s nice to get an old-school record with less than ten songs.  ‘Grim Reaper’ rolls around a throbbing bassline and the guitar sitting behind in the mix is reminding me of something Gary Numan likes to use at times which is never a bad thing.


Initially, this record was due last year but held back for obvious reasons and it’s been worth the wait from the single we first heard in the RPM singles club certainly whetted the appetite for the album.  All you Bunnymen, cure, and early U2 fans should check this out.


Buy FBOTM Here


author: Dom Daley

Remember when the post-Pistols band put together by Paul Cook and Steve Jones returned with the glorious ‘What In The World’, their first new music for 35 years? That was 4 years ago now, and while they have lost former 3 Colours Red guitarist Chris McCormack and bassist Paul Meyers from the line-up along the way, drummer Cook and Jonesy replacement Tom Spencer have kept themselves busy during these crazy times by enlisting everyone’s favourite go-to back up bassist Toshi JC Ogawa to the fold. They have released a trio of lockdown EP’s and recorded a spanking new album entitled ‘SNAFU’ with contributions from the likes of Billy Duffy and Phil Collen.


‘What In The World’ could be classed as a debut album really. With Jonesy only there in spirit (give or take a few guitar licks) and former Loyalties/Yo-Yo’s frontman Tom Spencer at the helm, it was a modern twist on The Professionals of old, yet it still contained a good deal of rock n’ roll swagger, and more importantly some good fucking songs. A handful of tours and festival dates helped established the band as frontrunners and The Professionals took the sound of ‘77 crashing into the 21st century.

So, now it comes to the tricky second album syndrome, and it’s time to see if the boys have the minerals. ‘SNAFU’ is an old army term that stands for ‘situation normal, all fucked up’. This is a term that not only fits with these tumultuous times we live in, but also sums up the dark humour and the tongue-in-cheek lyrical content of this album. Take recent single ‘Spike Me Baby’ for example. A song written about Cookie’s high times after accidently eating some of his daughter’s pot-laced chocolate. With urgent drums, a high energy feel and a radio friendly melody, it’s a surefire winner. Tom’s raspy voice is perfectly matched by some killer gang vocals in a chorus that sticks to the brain like punk rock toffee. And then there’s ‘M’Ashes’  a tale of the time Cookie transported the ashes Of Jonesy’s mother from London to L.A. All delivered in the best possible taste to a pop punk, post-Pistols rock n’ roll soundtrack.


With a top-notch production from go-to guy Dave Draper, these songs straddle a modern, punk rock approach, the style that the likes of the Michael Monroe band and Towers Of London took to heart. But most of all, and probably due to Spencer’s raspy vocals, it’s his former band The Loyalties that come to mind more than anybody else. The cheeky London charm, the low slung riffage and the power house drums of the man who was the backbeat for the Sex Pistols, this is a strong mix ladies and gents, and the songs are up to scratch.

The singles are obvious highlights, but the glorious ‘Never Say Never’ and ‘So Go No’ are full of the sort of punky attitude that will make you keep coming back for more. Elsewhere, ‘The Elegant Art (Of Falling Apart)’ could be a Michael Monroe album cut, the simple chord progression, the killer verse that builds to a memorable and overly cool gang vocal chorus, what’s not to like here? Then there’s ‘Only Human’, a song that has to be a future live favourite. Upbeat and euphoric, with a killer hook you will be repeating long after the song has faded. This is without doubt my favourite tune on the goddamn record.


I don’t think anyone expected The Professionals would be ‘a thing’ after they reunited for a celebratory show 6 years ago. Turns out Paul Cook and Tom Spencer are a great writing partnership, but surely even they couldn’t have imagined they would have two quality albums under their belts 6 years later. ‘SNAFU’ is a quality release that seals the deal for this modern incarnation of The Professionals. Not riding on the past or claiming to reinvent the wheel, Cook and Spencer have crafted 11 honest rock n’ roll songs that sit well in the discography and seal the legacy of the band.


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Author: Ben Hughes


The last time I saw Roger Taylor play live was 37 years ago (it was with Queen at Wembley Arena on The Works tour) and he was 35 years old! The fourteen date England and Wales tour he announced in support of his ‘Outsider’ album is also his first solo outing in twenty plus years, and that last time around I still greatly regret not going to see him in Cardiff’s now long-lost Coal Exchange venue.

As a result, when it was announced that Roger would be playing St David’s Hall as part of this intimate (well by Queen’s standards anyway) run of dates, I didn’t really have to think too hard before snapping up my very reasonably priced ticket mid lockdown, not really knowing if tonight would ever really happen. Covid protocols aside though by the time Roger takes to the stage with his band tonight you could almost imagine the last eighteen months hadn’t happened at all. Such are the restorative qualities of live music as the band ease themselves into their two hour set with the title track from Roger’s 1985 album ‘Strange Frontier’.


Promising to play a mix of solo and Queen songs it’s not long before I get to hear my favourite singer in Queen play one of my all-time favourite Queen songs in the shape of ‘Tenement Funster’, a song which unveils Roger’s gravelly vocals in all their glory. Granted he may not have the full range he once possessed but with the band’s secret weapon (Tyler Warren) tucked away behind the drum stool if you close your eyes, you can almost believe it’s 1974 Queen giving us all an early set (sheer) heart attack.


As it stands Roger’s touring band is actually a lot closer to the 2021 Queen (with added Adam Lambert) lineup than you might first think, as the aforementioned Tyler Warren on drums, bassist Neil Fairclough and long term Queen keyboardist Spike Edney are all very much a part of both bands. Add in the unbelievable talents of multi-instrumentalist Tina Hizon and guitarist Christian Mendoza (who at times reminds me of the hugely underrated Robbie Blunt) and you really do have a very special musical unit indeed. The understated tunes from the new album like ‘We’re All Just Trying To Get By’ and ‘Gangsters Are Running This World’ in particular sounding truly wonderful with added Hizon and Mendoza.

It’s of course the prospect of hearing some Queen songs which will have lured many out tonight, and it’s a delight to hear ‘A Kind Of Magic’, ‘Under Pressure’ and ‘These Are The Days Of Our Lives’ all resonating with the audience. However, having glanced at the setlist beforehand (naughty boy) it was the prospect of a mid-set run-through of ‘Rock It (Prime Jive)’ from ‘The Game’ that had really piqued my interest. Pity then that the version aired tonight is the one Warren and Fairclough put together to celebrate Roger’s recent 72nd birthday and is performed minus Taylor and Edney. It’s still a mighty fine version though especially with Warren doing a bang on Freddie Mercury on the vocal intro, plus they more than makeup for any initial disappointment I might have felt with an immense ‘I’m In Love With My Car’ complete with Roger on vocals later on in the set.


Of Roger’s solo tracks ‘Up’ from 2013’s ‘Fun On Earth’, ‘Surrender’ from 1998’s ‘Electric Fire’ and ‘Man On Fire’ from ‘Strange Frontier’ are all given a 2021 makeover and sound astounding as a result, whilst the likes of ‘Absolutely Anything’, ‘Foreign Sands’ and ‘Outsider’ (but oddly no ‘Tides’) all from the new album can’t help me but draw comparisons to latter day David Bowie, each one being a delicate work of art very close to Roger Taylor’s heart.


‘More Kicks’ is one of Outsider’s rare rocking moments and tonight it sounds positively Zeppelin-esque as Taylor takes his place behind the vacant drum kit set up next to Warren for what is a most welcome drum battle, and for once at a gig it’s a drum solo that sees not a single person leaving for a quick comfort break.


There can only be one song to end tonight (no not ‘Drowse’, ‘Fun It’ or ‘Action this Day’ that would have just been too surreal), which is of course ‘Radio Ga Ga’, easily Queen’s most famous Taylor penned song and this track is finally enough to get everyone up out of their seats to partake in the mandatory clap-a-long and thus making the foundations of St David’s Hall shudder for the first time in a wee while.

Encore time gives us a fantastic take on Led Zeppelin’s ‘Rock n Roll’ that has Roger sounding vocally just like a twenty something Robert Plant whilst the version of David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ which sends us out into the night owes (not unlike ‘Outsider’ itself) a lot to the Thin White Duke’s latter day take on his Berlin period anthem.


I left tonight totally thrilled by what I had just witnessed, and whilst I would have perhaps liked to have heard a track or two from ‘Fun In Space’ or by Roger’s ‘90s side project The Cross this is only a very small gripe during what turned out to be one of the most cathartic gig experiences I’ve had post lockdown. Fantastic stuff!


Author:Johnny Hayward