The Rock City Basement had a makeover not that long ago which means that Crosslight open up proceedings on a compact stage that benefits from great sound and decent light but is missing a barrier that surely ought to be there given the capacity. It’s an early start but there’s already a good crowd in and they’re not disappointed. Charlotte Eastwood and co don’t sound like an opening act, soon they probably won’t be. They’ve progressed rapidly and with a few more gigs like this under their belts they’ll be ready to step up to a larger platform.
Sister Shotgun are have the kind of sound that makes you realise instantly that Gene Simmon’s proclamation that rock is dead is mightily premature. What the Kiss bass slapper fails to grasp is that young and hungry bands like this are quite content forging their own path ta very much. In this case that path is a highway, not to hell, but possibly to greatness. The music is played fast, tight and with a professionalism belying the age and relative experience on offer. Sister Shotgun blow a hole in Rock City’s Basement a mile wide and march through it waving hard rock’s flag proudly ahead of them. Remember the name, you’ll be hearing it a lot in the future.
Local lads Fahran obviously have quite a bit of support in tonight. You get the sense through the pre-show banter that this will be something special and they don’t disappoint. As far as hard rock goes this is a set right at the technical end of the spectrum. Fahran not only play it right on the button, they also make it sound so easy. It’s that show stopping blend of laid back persona combined with faultless craftsmanship that shows, like the bands that have preceded them, that music is in safe hands. The other plus is Matt Black’s memorable vocal which is more direct than you’d expect. The local boys have done good, now for the main course.
What does it take to make a band really make that leap from perennial supports to genuine headline regulars? In the case of Skarlett Riot it’s time, effort, blood, sweat and no doubt a few tears. The Basement is rammed. In fact the whole tour has played to sell out or near sell out venues, even on mid-week shows. That’s impressive at any level. The reason can be found in how the band have found themselves, they now have their sound, their signature and this is no longer a countdown, this is lift off. Danny, Luke and Martin are a well oiled music machine blasting out a rock/metal fusion that is irresistible. Skarlett conducts the performance, singing her heart out and offering the mic to the audience so that they can do the same. Her voice has got so much stronger over the years and tonight it’s not just the power that is impressive it’s the maturity. The little nuances that separate the good from the great are now there, both for singer and for band. Skarlett Riot have earned this success the old fashioned way, now watch them fly.