With the onset of February we are getting a little busier. 2nd, Protest The Hero, 6th Del Amitri, 9th Molly Hatchet, 14th Monster Magnet, 15th Dream Theater, 19th, Sons Of Icarus, 20th Skyclad, 25th Soulfly, 26th Cadillac Three

And maybe a couple more to be added.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

FM, Vega @ Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton 16/3/13

“We work on the principle that you can never have too many whoa’s whoa’s in a song,” so says Nick Workman. The Vega frontman used to be vocalist with Brit AOR merchants Kick many years ago, but seems to have fond a decent home here.

Tracks like “Saviour” have all the right melodic boxes ticked. Massive choruses abound, which combined some crunchy riffs supplied by guitarist Tom Martin they posses a sound that is not unlike mid-period Europe. This is a hometown show for Workman and one which is to be enjoyed immensely.

It is fair to say that The Slade Rooms is packed this evening. It is also on the warm side. But its also correct to assert that there is much anticipation for this show on FM’s first headline tour for ages.

Whether people are doing what RTM is doing is open to question. In our case they were a name we knew. When we were kids and buying Bon Jovi, Kiss and so on, we vaguely remember the debut album “Indiscreet” coming out to rave reviews in Kerrang and Raw, but we don’t recall actually buying a record.

All that changed, though, when we saw them support Thin Lizzy last December. In preparation we acquired a copy of the recent EP “Only Foolin’”. It’s title track is quite magnificent affair, of the type that people just don’t write anymore. They then preceded to give a stunning account of themselves at the Lizzy gig.

Happily that was no one off. Since December, FM have stuck out not one, but two records in the shape of the “Rockville” CD’s. Mighty fine slabs of Thunder-esque rock they are too. It is with “Tough Love” the opening track from one of these that they kick off this evening, before a delve back to the debut album for “I Belong To The Night” and the tone is set for a quite superb 90 minutes.

The aforementioned “….Foolin’” rears its spectacular head about halfway through, but might well have been eclipsed by “Let Love Be The Leader” which ends in a triple guitar solo, with keyboardsman Jem Davis joining singer Steve Overland and Jim Kirkpatrick in wielding the axe.

In microcosm that song shows just what is so good about the band. Excellent musicians, with choruses to die for, when topped off with Overland’s voice – which is as perfect for this type of music as you could get – it is a pretty formidable mix.

For the encore they choose to come air “Crosstown Train” nominally the first single from “Rockville” it is six minutes of catchiness that probably won’t be beaten in 2013 and proves why this band was so right to reform in 2008. A tumultuous gig ends with “Otherside of Midnight” and all you can say is “thank goodness they supported Lizzy.”

In a world where bands like Journey are supposed to rule the melodic rock roost, we are doing what we often do in this country and looking across the pond for stuff, when we might just have the best of the lot right here. FM proved that tonight.  

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