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.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

FM, Toby Jepson @ The River Rooms, Stourbridge 28/7/13

It’s almost like finding out Father Christmas doesn’t exist.

You remember that moment? That moment that ensured your life was never quite as good again? Well RTM had a flashback to that revelation when we pulled up at The River Rooms tonight and did so at the same time as Toby Jepson.

Jepson (the now sadly former, again) singer in the Little Angels – one of our very favourite bands no less – the ex-singer in Gun, now producer of bands as diverse (but superb) as The Virginmarys and Saxon, should not be getting out of a Renault….!!

Dammit, if countless biographies have taught us anything it’s that rock stars should live like a combination of Lemmy, Keith Richards and Slash. At no point have those three got out of Renault.

Anyway, Jepson is here to support his old friends, FM (and most probably left his Ferrari at home…) and is doing so acoustically, with a mix of Angels material, stuff from his criminally underrated solo EP’s and others. There is “Deliver Me” from the album he made with Fastway a couple of years back. He even invites a local man, Ross Graham onstage with him to sing “Womankind” after he got in contact with a touching story, and any set that ends with a medley of “Young Gods” and “Back Door Man” is better than one that doesn’t. Excellent stuff, but did you expect anything less?

Seldom has a band passed us by for so long at RTM and ended up being such a favourite as FM. Regular readers will know that we didn’t know a great deal about the band until they opened for Thin Lizzy last Christmas. And so good were they we went to see them again in March and couldn’t pass up the chance to do it again tonight.

The set they play tonight is more reliant on older material than the latter show a few months back, but does begin with “Tough Love” – the opening track on stellar new album “Rockville.”

That album appears to have put the band on an upward curve, with Planet Rock getting behind it – indeed tonight’s show comes in the same weekend that they played the station’s Steelhouse Festival with a host of other big names in the hard rock world. “I Belong To The Night” follows, and proves that this is timeless music that doesn’t belong in a “scene” and doesn’t need the word “core” to be suffixed anywhere near it.

Other highlights include “Wildside” from the 2010 comeback record “Metropolis,” “Burning My Heart Down,” with all its Bon Jovi-isms and the quite superb “Crosstown Train,” which was the first single from the new CD. The latter is complete, like so many other songs tonight, with some fine guitar work from Jim Kirkpatrick, proving that, unfortunately for  bands of this type, musicianship often gets overlooked. Singer Steve Overland, for example, has a voice that is almost perfect for this sort of music.

What FM have proved tonight is two-fold. First there is an audience out there for good quality melodic hard rock (the show is a sell out) and second that in this country we do melodic hard rock better than anyone else does. And almost no one does it better than FM. 

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