Review of ‘How The Darkness Doubled’ Here

Formed in the underbelly of the Vancouver punk music scene in 1994, the band was a sneering, snotty, slap in the face to the Seattle grunge scene. Their raucous live shows, particularly an electrifying performance at Seattle’s Rock Candy, garnered the attention of Sub Pop’s Jonathan Poneman, and they promptly signed to Sub Pop imprint Die Young Stay Pretty. They began touring relentlessly with label mates The Murder City Devils, and soon were sharing stages with big names like The Damned, DOA, L7, The Offspring, Social Distortion, and many more. Within a year of recording their self-titled debut album with Jack Endino (Nirvana, Soundgarden), the band was back in the studio with the legendary producer to record their seminal second album, The Violent Years. Released on Sub Pop in 2001, the album saw them reach new heights in sales and radio play, including a Top 20 single in Canada with “Some Things Never Fall”; the accompanying video saw regular rotation on both MTV in the United States and Much Music in Canada, helping push the album to the top of Canada’s Earshot Campus Radio Charts. With The Darkness Doubled, The Black Halos are set to reclaim their crown as Canada’s premiere export of high octane punk and glam.

Canada’s legendary punk ‘n’ rollers The Black Halos have just released their anticipated new LP How the Darkness Doubled (November 25th on Stomp Records). How the Darkness doubled is the unofficial follow-up album to The Black Halos’ acclaimed 2001 release, The Violent Years. Original songwriting team Billy Hopeless, Rich Jones (guitarist with Michael Monroe, Ginger Wildheart, AMEN), and Jay Millette, have reunited, bringing new members John Kerns (The Age Of Electric) and Danni Action (ACIIDZ) into the fold. The album, recorded in Toronto and mixed by Dave Draper (The Wildhearts, The Professionals), is a return to form for the band. Guitarist Rich Jones explains “Reuniting with Billy and Jay for this new album brought my focus back to writing with a mindset that was pure, uncompromising Halos – as far as I’m concerned we’ve really achieved it. Having our friends John and Danni on board makes this feel like the strongest lineup that we’ve ever had and you can really hear it on this record. Additionally, Billy and I had always planned to call the third album How The Darkness Doubled. So it seemed natural to use that title now, 20 years later, for what I consider to be a spiritual follow-up to The Violent Years.” Following jammed-to-the-rafters shows at the Bovine during Toronto’s Canadian Music Week and two sold out nights in their hometown of Vancouver at the Rickshaw Theatre, the band is ready to win over a new generation of rock ‘n’ roll fans with their brand new album, ‘How the Darkness Doubled’

Buy from Bandcamp Here / Stream Here

The Black Halos were known for being tireless road warriors, playing to ever-growing audiences in clubs as they crisscrossed North America in a van (actually a series of nine vans) at festivals like Warped Tour, Edgefest, SXSW, CMJ, and The Kerrang Awards in the UK. Line-up changes followed as the band released two more albums on Century Media, touring Canada, the United States, and Europe extensively before coming to an abrupt end when their van, trailer, and equipment were stolen in Montreal at the start of their 2008 tour. With their latest release, How the Darkness Doubled, The Black Halos will be back on the road with tours across North America and Europe planned for 2023 and beyond. 







Wingmen, the new band formed in Lockdown anxiety and boredom by Baz Warne (The Stranglers), Paul Gray (The Damned), Leigh Heggarty (Ruts DC) and Marty Love (Johnny Moped) have managed to fit in a set of UK dates around their other many bands schedules and will tour the UK in January 2023.

Written and recorded in that dark Lockdown period between 2020 and 2021, despite having never played together in the same room, the creative results sound very much like a band with the influences from all of their respective bands shining through and the debut album will be released January 27th via Cadiz Music.

Pre Order the album Here

Wingmen, the new band formed in pandemic lockdown isolation by Baz Warne (The Stranglers), Paul Gray (The Damned), Leigh Heggarty (Ruts DC) and Marty Love (Johnny Moped), are excited to finally take their studio bound creations out on the road and have announced a UK tour for January 2023.

“It’s funny how these things turn out,” explains Paul Gray. “We had no idea where this project might take us; an idea born out of frustration became a full band within 24 hours, words and riffs and much tuneage followed, beers and jolly banter ensued when we finally met up to mix the results, a record company said “yes please!” and now we find ourselves taking the results off on tour! And we’ll be joined by Rob Coombes from Supergrass on keys – it’s gonna be an absolute blast!”

“I just can’t wait for this line up to hit the stage and play these songs to the public,” continues drummer Marty. “It’s all about getting your hard work heard and getting a real live reaction. And having Rob Coombes onboard will make this band sparkle.”

Due to be released January 27th via Cadiz Music, although Wingmen’s debut album was crafted in seclusion, there’s no doubting that the album’s ten songs, chock full of dynamic songwriting and performances, sound like a band, despite the unconventional way the album was fashioned.

“Although we’d recorded various parts at our homes for our respective bands before, none of us had employed this process to make a complete album! Only Marty and I had worked together before, so it was a complete leap into the unknown,” says Paul. “We all had loads of ideas to throw into the pot – some songs arrived completely fully formed that we simply added our own parts to, and others were more akin to musical sketches that ended up as co-writes. The album is a true collaboration inasmuch as none of us knew what parts or melodies or lyrics might be added by anyone else – it was an immensely exciting process! No rehearsals, no pre-production, just us winging ideas to and fro, with the drums going on last of all in the studio – which is completely the opposite of how things are usually done, of course.”

‘Wingmen’ will be released January 27th, 2023, via Cadiz Music.

Pre-order the album HERE:

Follow Wingmen on Facebook HERE:

Continuing the fine reissue of Classic Slade albums on various splatter vinyl the fantastic ‘Sladest’ is the latest hot off the pressing plant to be reissued on splatter vinyl and for many it’s one of the band’s finest records. Not content with being one of the decade’s biggest-selling bands and giving possibly the most iconic Christmas office party banger Slade released 6 hit albums, including three UK No-1s, a run of 17 consecutive Top 20 singles and their hits are synonymous with the glam era.

This album was first released in 1973, ‘Sladest’ belched out some of the band’s most iconic songs including the barnstorming ‘Cum On Feel The Noize’, ‘Mama Weer All Crazee Now’ and ‘Coz I Luv You’. It was possibly the album that Noddy came into his own with that iconic rasping voice that has been revered ever since and spawned many cover versions.

Many of these songs still stand up today as groundbreaking and iconic, even casual fans can sing along to the chorus of the classic singles that have stood the test of time. Having these albums repressed means you can retire your crackly copies or the ones handed down by your big brothers or dads and get your thumbs in those belt loops grab your girl and get wild wild wild again. Personal favourite Slade songs have both been included on this record the magnificent ‘Gudbuy T’Jane’ and ‘Coz I Love You’ showing that they weren’t just a hell-raising rowdy Rock band, well, not all the time and they could mix it up. If you only put one of these reissues on your Christmas list make it this one and if you’ve been particularly good you could add that live box set we reviewed last month just for good measure. Oh and just buy it for those haircuts, they don’t make em like that anymore that’s for sure!

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Author: Dom Daley

limited edition coloured vinyl 12” ‘Merry Xmas Everybody ’ on 25th  November plus continue official deluxe vinyl album reissues series   with ‘Crackers – The Christmas Party Album

As the bell tolls an eerie deathly silence is about to be shattered with some diabolical grunting bass and a shimmering blast of Garage Rock and Roll as it spews forth from the speakers with a creepy crawly menace as ‘Ms. Understanding’ hits the speakers. What a fantastic sounding opener that got an air of controlled chaos about it with the thumping Bass piercing through the guitars to grab the listener as it lurches with menace.

With eleven tracks packed onto this album, you better strap yourself in for a rocket ride of power and controlled aggression but with an overwhelming whiff of Garage rock n roll. ‘Bad Connection’ kicks ass right out of the blocks and I like this a lot already. The thrust and adrenalin continue at pace as ‘Shake You Down’ thunders in. ‘Inbred Respect’ has the beating heart of the Damned era ‘Machine Gun Ettiquete’ on its harder more punchy tunes like ‘Love Song’.

With a spoken intro ‘Action Volume’ turns up a bastardised ‘Iron Man’ on a fuzzed-out distorted electric guitar. The song sounds like a hell of a night out with its rolling rhythm before smashing out on the chorus. ‘Born To Die In 73’ is straight out 77 punk rock. Its the snotty distant cousin of early Damned, UK Subs and SLF and a real fist-pumping thumper. Guitars being rinsed, snare getting a thrashing and full-bodied rhythm – nice!

‘The Revolution Is Dead’ tells the story of Lennon’s assassination and why the future is/was bleak, but pop culture is alive and kicking and The Revolution might well be around the next corner who knows? Signing off with the super fuzz of ‘Lone Astronaut’ this has been a treat on the ears and brain food for the Garage Rock connoisseur.

There has always been great music and this DC Spectres album is a fantastic offering tipping the hat to what’s gone before and picking up that torch and running into the future with it hopefully inspiring others to play Rock n Roll – loud, hard, fast and with this much passion and a love of the fine art of the Garage band and what it means. Play on my friends Vol 4 is a mighty fine album that is worthy of being classed as All Killer no Filler! Buy it!

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Split System, the Aussie group featuring Jackson Reid Briggs (Jackson Reid Briggs & The Heaters) on vocals and Arron Mawson (Stiff Richards) on guitar, are something of a down-under super group to those in the know. I ordered this record before I’d heard a single song off the back of their debut release and the fact that the likes of Stiff Richards can do no wrong anyway it was what you and I would call a no-brainer.

Once the crystal clear guitar chimed in on the opening track a smug smile was drawn across my face knowing that I’d made another excellent choice. The beginning is entitled ‘The End’ (of course it is) and is a slice of fantastic sharp Aussie punk rock and the sum of its parts are welded together to make a most fantastic din.

the second track is a sprightly jaunt entitled ‘It Aint You’ and this record sounds as comfortable as a pair of well-worn slippers that these guys sport. The songs have melody, power and an air of excitement even if they’re flying by the seat of their pants it sounds deliberate and exciting. You just know that regardless of what mood you might be in prior to dropping the needle by the end of the album you’ll be on cloud nine. It exhilarating like ‘Demolition’ and the thrashing about on ‘Ringing In My Heart’ is so carefree and classic.

It’s all about the song and the moment for Split System With Jackson Reid Briggs possesses a warm punk rock vocal that is like the morning after the best night out and marries the like of The Saints and Radio Birdman from the old school with the bands currently ruling the world from the newer school of Aussie punk rock n roll.

The songs from the first EP fit in perfectly on this album that is a rollercoaster ride of the good and the great and a record that will just get better and better after each play , ‘Ringing In My Head’ is a real earworm with a lead hook that has barbs and will not be shaken once its burrowed into your ear.

Sometimes it sounds like these side projects are a bit thrown together just to pass the time whilst the day job bands piece their albums together or book a tour which if true makes you sick how fuckin good they are. You’ll slam dance for one song to the next and the quality is relentless ‘Hit Me’ is very different in sound and style to ‘Grip’ but they both have the same DNA and are both relentlessly good with the grunt on ‘Grip’ rattling along bouncing off the guitar lick – genius stuff and so so good.

Quite easily one of the finest albums I’ve had the pleasure of all year and that a lot of fuckin albums. Split System is indeed an essential purchase and will knock your socks off. Just buy the fuckin record!

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Author: Dom Daley

The band will be hitting the road with a clutch of dates in December to promote & celebrate the release of their new single ‘The NeverEnding Story’.

“Without a shred of tiresome irony, Slyder Smith and the Oblivion Kids boldly reimagine Giorgio Morodor’s 80s cult classic ‘NeverEnding Story’. Whilst staying true to the original, the power trio bring a dynamic commercial rock feel to Limahl’s electronic pop hit. The end result is another thrilling chapter in The NeverEnding Story worthy of chart success alongside the likes of 80s rock giants Def Leppard and Van Halen. The song features guest vocals from Nina Courson of Healthy Junkies.

The track will be accompanied by a promotional music video, with band performance filmed by Wills Audio at the famous Buckley Tivoli theatre and transformed into a fun concept video with additional footage & editing by producer Darren Stockford paying homage to the era of the original 80s hit.

The song will be available to stream plus released on Limited Edition numbered casssette which is FREE with ‘early bird. ticket sales for the special London Show! (See below).


First up Nancy Boy performs a cover of the lost classic “Rosies are coming to town” by the band ROSIE. Check em out on Facebook / Instagram they rock!

Next up we have the new single from The Empty Page. ‘Dry Ice’ is the first single from their upcoming second album. It’s a disco goth banger. Dry Ice was inspired by the alluring stench that pours out the back door of a club, beckoning you in as you walk past. The chorus celebrates ‘the crush of the warm crowd’ – the joy of moving as one to loud music in a roomful of people. It’s about writing together unselfconsciously. Get an earful on the bands Bandcamp page Here

The +1 is our South Wales friends Deathtraps with a video for the ‘Still Fucked Up’ tune lifted from their latest long player ‘Appetite For Prescription’ Which you can purchase Here – Its potty-mouthed punk n roll and its bloody good. Check it out

No other hard rock band in the world today knows how to celebrate (and some might say “exploit”) their heritage quite like the New York Godfathers of shock rock, KISS.

I suppose the flood of modern-day ephemera all started with the release of their epic KISSTORY book around the time that the initially shelved ‘Carnival Of Souls’ album saw mainstays Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley reach out to their old band mates Peter Criss and Ace Frehley to set up the reunion tour to end all reunion tours.  During that record breaking worldwide adventure a bazillion and one merch ties ins hit the KISS Army from all angles with perhaps the series of truly excellent KISSOLOGY DVD box sets being the highlight of that era for yours truly. There have of course been many “End Of The Road” tours by the band since then, but as the rescheduled post-Covid shows made their way around the globe for one final time, up popped a series of (to date) four ‘From The Soundboard’ official bootlegs that have seen some career defining concerts from the band finally getting a general release. Even if the packaging on those releases leaves a lot to be desired.

Which is something you really cannot level at the Super Deluxe Edition box set the band released in 2021 to celebrate the 45th Anniversary of their ‘Destroyer’ album. Spread across multiple formats, it is the 73 track, 3CD and Blu-ray Audio version that really set the bar at an all new high for these kinds of releases. Packed full of exclusive posters, trading cards, plus a whole host of interesting nick-nacks all topped off by a fantastic 68-page book, what had most KISS fans reaching for their credit cards to acquire this bad boy, was the fact 48 of the 73 tracks were previously unreleased and ‘Destroyer’ itself had been newly remastered at Abbey Road Mastering Studios.

Releases like this obviously command a hefty price tag, but when it came to the ‘Destroyer’ box, I honestly think it was worth every penny of the £120 I paid for it. Something you sadly can’t always say these days when purchasing Deluxe Editions of albums (I’m looking at you Seal).

Fast forward to the summer of 2022 then, and whispers started to circulate of KISS doing something similar for the 40th Anniversary of their tenth studio album ‘Creatures Of The Night’. Expanded to 5CDs and once again with Blu-ray Audio, when the price point of the Super Deluxe Edition initially broke via KISS Online however it was enough to make even the most die-hard of fans take a deep breathe. BUT, with 103 tracks in total and with 75 tracks being unreleased, plus all the usual fare KISS excel in producing, I finally settled on securing a copy for around £230, which was far, far less than that original jaw dropping price point.  Of course, as always with KISS there are versions to fit every KISS Army member’s budget, and along with the Super Deluxe Edition there are also a 3 LP Deluxe, 2 CD Deluxe, 1 LP 180gm Half-Speed Master, 1 CD Remaster, as well as a 5 CD Super Deluxe Edition digital download and streaming plus a 2 CD digital download only version, oh and let’s not forget there’s also a colour vinyl exclusive too. Phew!

So, what’s all the fuss about? Well, ‘Creatures Of The Night’ really was the pivotal record that saw KISS once again reconnect with their core hard/heavy rock fanbase following a series of forays into such musical genres as disco, powerpop and indeed progressive-tinged concept rock. I remember hearing a couple of tracks from the album being previewed on Tommy Vance’s Friday Night Rock Show back in the day and even on my old beat-up ghetto blaster those tracks sounded HUGE, not least due to the pounding drums by the band’s newly acquired sticksfox Eric Carr. It is a testament to that infamous Michael James Jackson production job that it is that monstrous drum sound that immediately greets me like some long-lost friend as I sit back and play the album in full for the first time in ages. And, whilst Ace Frehley would feature on the original album cover and in the video to the album’s lead single ‘I Love It Loud’ it’s worth remembering that ‘Creatures’ the album is very much the sound of one Vinnie Vincent, working alongside Simmons and Stanley with the (by then) usual array of guest players, ranging from blues guitarist Robben Ford to Mr. Mister guitarist Steve Farris, to produce the heaviest KISS record to that point.

I’d honestly forgotten just how much of an impact this album (and the album that would follow it ‘Lick It Up’) had made on the fifteen-year-old me and hearing the likes of ‘Rock And Roll Hell’, ‘Saint and Sinner’ and ‘War Machine’ (a track the band have had on and off in their live set right up until the end) it’s great to hear Gene Simmons really at the top of his game before he then decided to become an actor, leaving Paul Stanley to run the band pretty much single-handedly through what would be commercially successful if the somewhat creatively sterile period during the mid to late 80s. Here on ‘Creatures’ though the Starchild turns in nothing short of a stellar performance on tracks like ‘Danger’ and ‘Keep Me Comin’ along with the band’s live showstopper for many years to follow, the emotional roller coaster that is, ‘I Still Love You’.

On the Super Deluxe Edition of ‘Creatures’ the original studio album is immediately followed by the four tracks the band had released earlier in 1982 as part of the ‘Killers’ compilation set, with all the tracks coming with Stanley lead vocals and ‘Nowhere To Run’ and ‘I’m A Legend Tonight’ perhaps being the standouts, it makes me wonder now why the post ‘Asylum’ years were perhaps such a big surprise to me when the early signs of what would become Stanley’s dominance of the KISS brand just a few years later were there all along.

It’s the previously unreleased tracks that many of you will be interested in within this set though, and like pretty much every other Super Deluxe Edition box set the 2 CDs included here are a bit of a mixed bag. When they are great, like the 3 Penny Lane demos of ‘Deadly Weapon’,  ‘Nowhere to Run’ and the funktastic ‘Feel Like Heaven’ (which sees Gene channelling his inner Freddie Mercury via song he would later gift to Peter Criss for his ‘Let Me Rock You’ album) then these curios really do excel, but by contrast there’s only so many “Takes” and “Alternative Mixes” that I can stomach, especially when you know just how good the finished product turned out to be.

Also worthy of your interest here though are four Gene demo(n)s ranging from the MOR/AOR pop of ‘Something Seems To Happen At Night’ through to the anthemic ‘It’s My Life’, a song which would initially go on to feature on the Simmons produced Wendy O Williams’ ‘WOW’ album recorded in 1984. I’m guessing some of these must have featured in Simmons ‘Vault’ set too, but that mammoth collector’s piece was way too expensive for me to ever consider buying it.  What I did buy though (pretty much on the day of release) was the ‘Lick It Up’ album, and the demo of ‘Not For The Innocent’ included here is one that is markedly different to the album version, containing a different opening, and a Simmons/Stanley duel vocal rather than a Simmons solo vocal, which unlike the multiple takes/mixes etc is the kind of thing I do find very interesting indeed.

With the aforementioned Soundboard series of releases that KISS have been releasing over the past year or so, CDs 4 and 5 of this Super Deluxe Edition feature the Creatures Tour Live ‘82/’83 set pulled together from three shows recorded in Sioux City, Rockford and Houston and are very much in keeping with the spirit of those soundboard quality releases. So, if you’ve enjoyed those, the chance to finally own an officially approved Vinnie Vincent line up live show must be a bit of a no-brainer really. There are 20 choice cuts contained within the main set with 5 blistering versions of songs from ‘Creatures Of The Night’ standing proud alongside older fan favourites like ‘Strutter’, Gold Gin’, the amazing ‘I Want You’ and perhaps the best set closing song ever written, ‘Rock And Roll All Nite’. There are 6 additional live cuts too, which are basically 5 songs from the main set captured on different nights plus a version of ‘King Of The Night Time World’ recorded in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, all making for a very compelling live listening experience indeed. And if you like KISS sounding red raw and just a little rough around the edges then this set really is for you. Plus, if you fancy staging your own version of the set at home (dressed up as your favourite KISS member of course) there’s the 7 sound effects used during the tour to excite the inner nerd in you.

I just wish my inner nerd could have been reviewing the full finished box set for you though, but as this release has been delayed until the 25th of November, and I’m having to review this from a stream sent to me by UMC.

Look, I’m not grizzling here, far from it, I’ve really enjoyed listening to this deep dive into one of my all-time favourite KISS albums, I just can’t wait to get hold of my pre-ordered copy now and hear the Blu-ray Audio disc in all its glory, as it not only showcases the first-ever Atmos and 5.1 surround mixes from the original album multi-tracks, but also a high-resolution newly remastered 1982 stereo mix of the original album.

I still love you ‘Creatures Of The Night’, I really bloody do.

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Author: Johnny Hayward




Today, post-hardcore dream team – Fake Names – announce their second studio album, ‘Expendables’for release on March 3rd, 2023 via Epitaph Records.

The band is comprised of members Brian Baker (Minor Threat, Bad Religion, Dag Nasty), Michael Hampton (S.O.A., Embrace), Dennis Lyxzén (Refused, INVSN, The [International] Noise Conspiracy), Johnny Temple (Girls Against Boys, Soulside) and newest addition Brendan Canty (Fugazi, Rites of Spring). It’s the latest exchange in a musical conversation that spans four decades, but instead of rehashing the past, ‘Expendables’ is a reinvention that sees the band dialing back the distortion and leaning into the melodies.

Today they share lead single “Delete Myself,” a high energy craft cocktail comprised of Punk and Garage, finished with unforgettable riffs.


Forming in 2016, Brian Baker describes Fake Names as a “mutual admiration society,” saying that once the five members got in the same room together, it felt as if they had already been in the band together for years. “There’s this intangible energy, a clairvoyance that comes from our shared experience,” he explains. On ‘Expendables,’ the result pairs their unparalleled pedigree with a pop sensibility that’s slightly unexpected and wholly satisfying.

Melding 70’s U.K. punk with power-pop and classic rock, the Fake Names’ self-titled debut album (2020) was actually a demo that Epitaph founder and Baker’s Bad Religion bandmate, Brett Gurewitz, wanted to release as is. After releasing a three-track EP in 2021, the band enlisted producer Adam “Atom” Greenspan (IDLES, Yeah Yeah Yeahs) who helmed a surprisingly cleaner sound for Expendables. Baker says, “The pop influences are a little more out front on this one and the production really helps it shine. It sounds more direct, more urgent.”

There’s also an economy to these songs that’s rooted in the fact that they were recorded in the span of a week, eliminating the option to add excess instrumentation or arrangements. What ensues is an album that retains the members’ purity of vision in a strikingly refreshing way.

Speaking to lyrical themes, Baker discloses, “In general, Dennis writes about revolution, and Michael and I write pop songs. I’m amazed at how it works, but somehow it strikes the right balance of salty and sweet.” This imagery is paralleled in the album artwork which Baker describes as “70’s dystopian” and features an eerie army of mannequins set against a cold urban backdrop. That dichotomy of lively music and bleak imagery is an important thematic element of Expendables because the album is more than just a collection of catchy songs: it’s an artistic statement about our own impermanence.

For more information on Fake Names, visit:


Fake Names – Press Photo by Danny Clinch

After being moved from The Marble Factory to the more compact and cozy confines of The Fleece this had all the makings of one of those nights. Upon entering the Jam-packed venue on a school night Everclear were just entering the stage armed and ready to rock and for the next hour they rocked, amused and generally dished out a value-for-money support set where they packed in fifteen songs from all corners of their catalogue. Sure Alex sounded a little horse and rough around the edges vocally but the energy was evident from the opening of ‘So Much For The Afterglow’ through ‘Father Of Mine’ and the bulk of the set featured tracks from ‘The Afterglow’ album. Live there is less of the studio sheen and the band just rock out and are happy to wing it and jam out The ‘Sparkle And Fade’ tracks like ‘Strawberries’ and ‘Heartspark Dollar sign’ sounded great and suitable deep into the setlist when the band had warmed up and were really cooking. By the time they reached the encore cover of The Vaselines ‘Mollys Lips’ it was done and they lapped up the very generous and deserved applause from the packed audience.

It still blows my mind this is their 30th Anniversary tour They’re looking good and sounding great I hope Art was telling the truth when he said see you in two years, it’s a date!

Its been a while between seeing Soul Asylum and when the change of venue was announced I was a little worried it might never happen but being in the thick of a packed-out Fleece on a school night filled me with excitement and joy – feelings I’ve had from my teen when going to a Rock and Roll show and still have in adulthood (cough cough) ‘Ambling onto the tight Fleece stage the band waste no time kicking into ‘Somebody To Shove’ off the excellent big breakthrough album ‘Grave Dancers Union’. Sure the “Big Hit” albums featured heavily and I’m good with that because I loved and still do love those records even the radio-friendly hits and tonight they still sounded excellent with Pirner telling jokes and looking like he was having a great time delivering these songs with as much passion and joy as he did thirty years ago.

The earlier albums were represented and a fantastic rendition of ‘Made To Be Broken’ and ‘Never Really Been’ peppered the air mid-set which was as far back as the band ventured. ‘Got It Pretty Good’ from their last studio album snuck in the early set and sounded excellent with its stomping tempo and punch-the-air chorus. Their excellent version of ‘Summer Of Drugs’ was a set high point even if Dave’s stand-up jokes were not but you can’t have everything can you?

I thought Pirners vocals sounded excellent and he still oozed class throughout what was a fantastic set – there can’t have been anyone leaving the venue disappointed with that setlist sure old school fans always want more of the early tunes but there’s a balance to be struck for a band who’ve been at this for decades the band displayed fantastic energy and the balance of being a credible, relevant band was struck Memories of the early to mid-90s came flooding back like it was yesterday and the songs are still as good and the band has still got it. Til the next time, this will more than do – An excellent night of Rock and Roll from two great bands. Now that’s value for money right there.

Author: Dom Daley