Considering the 6.30 start and with it being Easter Sunday, there is a decent crowd in the Academy 3 when Staffordshire’s Piston take the stage. The first thing you notice is the top shape-throwing from lead guitarist Jack, who in addition to having all the moves, is extremely good. Actually, the band as a whole deserve great credit for being ostensibly a twin-guitar group, but sounding nothing like either Thin Lizzy or Iron Maiden, which must be quite hard to do.
They are in possession of a couple of fine songs. “Roaming Around” ticks the boxes, but best of all, perhaps, is “Playing With Fire” which grooves along very nicely indeed. And afforded the luxury of a 40 minute set, they augment with a couple of covers, “Whole Lotta Rosie” is a fairly bog-standard affair (although a million times superior to the version of the song that Guns n Roses murdered at the NEC a few years back) but CCRs “Proud Mary” which they gave their own stamp to, is much, much better.
Resin have come up from Leicester for this show and appear to have brought a healthy entourage with them too. This includes the youngest audience member at RTM has ever seen, but bless them, they enjoyed themselves.
The band are highly rated too and are clearly fine musicians. Boy, they write an opening riff. The problem to RTM – who it must be said in mitigation have never been huge fans of alternative metal – is that once the riffs are over there is very little else. The lyrics are rooted in the mid-90s stuff of Live and Candlebox and arguably their best song the Alice In Chains-esque “Fake” goes on slightly too long. In fairness, though, they do deserve immense credit for getting the word “procrastinating” into a rock song.
Strangely, the crowd is at its lowest when Voodoo Six hit the stage. But after the Great Escape theme tune finishes they are launching straight into “Like The Others Did” from 2010’s fantastic “Fluke?” album. A track that encapsulates the band at their best, meaty riffs and a decent chorus, it is followed by “Aint No Friend Of Mine” from their debut 2008s “First Hit For Free” and “Falling Knives” from last year’s EP. So far so good.
Then things go a touch awry. This lengthy UK tour is in advance of album number three “Music To Invade Countries To” and the songs they air from that – on first listen – don’t quite match up. One of these (which appears to be called “Don’t Lead Me On”) is a little dull, and while “Ship Goes Down” is much better, it does lack a chorus.
On stage for 80 minutes the band play magnificent “Fluke” trio “Take The Blame,” “Take Aim” and “Something For You” maybe a little too early in the set, which means a lot of new songs that no one has heard yet, in one go.
After “Long Way From Home” ends things, they are called back for an encore of “Live Again” with frontman Luke Purdie joking they don’t have enough material for any more songs.
Throwaway remark, maybe, but it perhaps rings true. The band are about to go all around Europe with Iron Maiden, by virtue of, let’s be frank about this, the fact that bass player Tony Newton is Maiden’s soundman and Steve Harris’s mate and that is perhaps where they shine. A superb support band, stick them in front of anyone for 45 minutes and they would win a crowd over, but given the chance to headline they perhaps lack the material at this stage for a full set.
That might change in the future, but with the new songs failing to initially convince, they might be stuck in British metals lower leagues.