Toseland Live at Stereo, Glasgow
It’s been pretty hard to miss the big stooshie surrounding Axl Rose’s potential appointment as temporary lead singer for AC/DC. Not only has cyberspace been filled with it, now I’ve just gone and brought it up! But I mention the Aussie behemoths because the way I see it, the next five years will see them, and other bands like them finally deciding, or being forced to call it quits after filling stadiums around the world for decades. And there doesn’t seem to be many bands queueing up behind them capable of filling that arena-rocking headliner void. But is that necessarily such a bad thing?
Over the last few months decibelROGUE has been lucky enough to cover shows of all sizes, but often the most memorable ones have been staged in smaller, intimate venues. So when former World Superbike Champion Jamie Toseland brought his band to Stereo in Glasgow on Friday night we jumped at the chance to go along. Why the enthusiasm? If you read our review of Toseland’s recently released second album Cradle The Rage, you’ll know we like it a lot, and felt there was plenty material from it which would work brilliantly in a live setting. And Stereo is just that kind of small, intimate venue decibelROGUE loves. Oh, and just for good measure, Colour Of Noise was main support.
When we arrived at the venue, openers Mason Hill were already blasting their way through a very impressive set of songs. Originally from Glasgow, the band released their debut self-titled EP back in December and have since been gigging around the country garnering great reviews and radio airplay. And even though the headliners weren’t due on stage for over an hour and a half, Scott Taylor and his band had the (already busy) venue absolutely bouncing.
The last time we saw Colour Of Noise they supported the awesome Dead Daisies at what was our favourite rock gig of 2015. Colour Of Noise are a properly old school rock band. And although they’ve been gigging together for less than two years, they sound and perform like they’ve been around for much longer. Mind you, having guys like former Little Angels guitarist Bruce John Dickinson aboard certainly helps (cheers for the guitar pick by the way fella!). One man don’t make a band though. Wherever you looked onstage, whether it be frontman Matt Mitchell, Ben Daniel on bass, Dan Electro on rhythm guitar, Randy Nixon on drums or Dickinson himself, there was a seriously good performer to catch the eye. Friday’s set contained songs from their recently released self-titled debut album. Highlights included ‘Drive It Like You Stole It’, ‘You Only Call Me’ and the brilliant, anthemic ‘Rock Bottom’. This was another awesome live performance by – to our minds at least – one of the best British rock bands to emerge in recent times. Fingers crossed there will be a headline tour in the near future. We’ll be first in the queue when there is!
As I mentioned earlier, we really like Toseland‘s new album Cradle The Rage. As we all know however, it’s one thing to record something in a studio, but another thing entirely to take it on the road to perform live. Happily, if Friday night’s performance is anything to go by, Toseland are every bit as good live as they sound on their album.
The band consists of Jamie Toseland (vocals and piano), Zurab Melua (guitar), Ed Bamford (guitar), Roger Davis (bass) and Joe Yoshida (drums). Friday’s setlist consisted mainly of songs from Cradle The Rage, although a couple of tracks from debut album Renegade also featured. Coming from the high-octane world of World Superbikes and MotoGP, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Jamie Toseland’s music is of a similarly fast-paced, high-energy nature. There is a definite Little Angels vibe to it, which is no coincidence because Toby Jepson has been involved in both songwriting and production. So for little Angels fans such as decibelROGUE, it makes the process of warming to Toseland’s music very easy indeed.
During our original review of the album, we predicted that songs such as ‘Puppet On A Chain’ and ‘Living In A Moment’ would blow the roof off any live venue. And we were right – the roof didn’t stand a chance! In the hour and fifteen minutes the band were onstage, they filled the little basement venue with the kind of big sounding, anthemic rock music you’d expect to hear at much, much larger venues. Toseland himself turned in a superb performance on vocals. I have to admit that before the gig I was kinda sceptical whether he could replicate the demanding vocals from the album, in a live setting. How wrong I was! He nailed each and every song brilliantly. The same can be said for the rest of the band, who were flat-out awesome. Roger Davis and Ed Bamford were particularly brilliant on bass and guitar respectively, and both clearly enjoyed playing to the crowd with plenty of guitar hero-style posing.
So, what we have here is a band who can bring the sound and feel of an arena concert to a small venue. I know we are less than a quarter of the way through 2016 and there are many more gigs to take in between now and the end of the year, but this will surely be one of the best rock gigs we’ll see. And if Toseland are heading your way you should go see them too. Just don’t ask to arm wrestle Jamie. Have you seen the size of his arms? Jeez… 😉