Wayward Sons Live in Edinburgh
Date: 22 April
Venue: The Mash House, Edinburgh
Support: Pete K Mally
Wayward Sons rolled into Edinburgh on Sunday for their first – and much anticipated – headline show in Scotland. And thanks to a very good friend of this site, in addition to covering the gig itself, decibelROGUE also had access to the pre-show meet and greet and soundcheck. So this feature is gonna be slightly different from our regular reviews. Cheers once again to Andy Richardson for making it possible!
As you’ll no doubt already know, Wayward Sons is a band that was brought together by Toby Jepson. Their debut album Ghosts Of Yet To Come was without question one of the very best rock albums of 2017 and reaffirmed that even though it’s been nearly 30 years since he made his breakthrough with Little Angels, Jepson remains a songwriting force to be reckoned with. Since GOYTC hit the shelves, Wayward Sons have been tour support for Inglorious and Steel Panther, then last week hit the road once again on this, their debut headline tour.
If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a VIP pass for this tour, you’ll not only get the chance to meet the band, but also get a fascinating glimpse into some of the work that goes into making one of their shows happen. Soundchecks are one of those things that bands can find tedious and frustrating, but as an outsider looking in, it’s a really interesting process. Sunday’s soundcheck certainly had it’s challenges, but one by one the wrinkles were gradually ironed out. The band then gave us a taste of yet to come by blasting through a couple of songs to confirm everything was dialled in nicely.
Soundcheck complete, it was time to meet the band. And the first thing which immediately shone through was how genuinely pleased and grateful Jepson and the guys are for the support of their fans. More than happy to chat, sign merch and pose for photographs, they couldn’t have been any nicer. In fact, when I think about it, in the five hours I was in the venue, I never once saw the band’s keyboard player Dave Kemp with anything other than a big smile on his face! There is just such a positive vibe among these guys.
One last photo opportunity in the bar later and the band headed backstage for their final pre-show preparations.
One of the interesting aspects of this tour is that Wayward Sons are defying the usual convention of having a support band. Instead, their show begins with a montage of the band’s videos, after which rock comedian – and avid Wayward Sons fan – Pete K Mally warms the audience up before Jepson and company hit the stage. I must admit that before the show I was kinda sceptical about this idea, but in actual fact it worked very well indeed. Mally’s enthusiasm was infectious, and by the end of his slot the audience was well and truly ready to rock. Job done!
So, to the business end of the evening. And straight off the bat I have to say that this was one of those gigs which proves that you don’t always have to head to a big arena to enjoy the best in live rock music. Sometimes smaller is definitely better. And, as Phil Martini’s punchy drum intro led the band into first song Alive, it became very clear, very quickly, that Wayward Sons were intent on blowing the roof off the joint.
The majority of Sunday’s set naturally came from the band’s brilliant debut album. But here’s the thing – as good as the album sounds when it’s blasting out of a stereo or an iPod, here in a live setting, each and every one of the songs just sounded bigger, badder and more intense.
Whichever part of the stage you looked at, there was a musician at the top of their game. Jepson is the obvious focal point of the band, but not even he can do absolutely everything on his own! Bassist Nic Wastell has got to be one of the most dynamic players in the business. Although limited by the size of the stage, it didn’t stop him from jumping, spinning and bombing around what little space he had. Guitarist Sam Wood may be the youngest member of the band, but from what I saw of him here he can hold his own with anyone I’ve seen in recent times. Phil Martini is someone who I’ve seen in a couple of different bands over the years and he was his usual, powerful, dynamic self on Sunday. And last but not least we have the smiling Dave Kemp who just added that little bit of class on keys. Individually brilliant, collectively just about as good as it gets.
Three songs in and the band were already dripping with sweat. The power Wayward Sons generated had their PA system literally rocking back and forth. And by the time they rounded out the evening with the Little Angels classic Young Gods, Jepson looked like he was about to collapse – such was the energy he put into this performance. And the same can be said for the rest of the band, because they left absolutely nothing on the stage.
Someone tell me what’s not to love about a band like that???
Alive – Ghost – Don’t Wanna Go – Give It Away – Killing Time – Crush – Small Talk – Standby Heart – Be Still – Radio Denial – Something Wrong – Kicking Up Dust – Until The End – Backslide – Young Gods