Casino + Raven Vandelle + Jamie Clayton @ The Asylum, Birmingham – 14 December 2012


Casino 2012Review and photos by Rich Ward

With two of the Midlands finest young bands sharing a bill at the Asylum, the venue should be packed out. However, it’s a week before Christmas, the goose is getting fat, the wallets are getting thinner and Christmas parties will have all taken their toll on the attendance tonight. Still, it’s a comfortable turnout and it makes getting served at the bar a little easier. Jamie Clayton started the evening off with a solo acoustic set that was neither remarkable nor disappointing, but a pleasant enough way to warm up.

Raven Vandelle have now been going for a few years with their brand of hard rock forged in the same furnaces as Zeppelin, Sabbath and Slade but with more modern influences also evident. Comparisons to the likes of Soundgarden spring to mind with Dave Taylor’s strong vocals driving the songs. Their set features numbers from last years’ RV8 release such as ‘Not The Same As You’ and ‘Revolution’, but songs written since are more prevalent. New single ‘Take You Away’ gets an airing and receives a good reception, but ‘Better Man’ sounds absolutely stunning. ‘Stay Awake’ rounds off a relatively short but well received set. On the evidence of tonight, their impending album promises to be an absolute cracker.

I first caught Casino back in 2006 when they were opening for a tribute band and they blew me away, they soon became darlings of Kerrang Radio and their future seemed assured. With Adam Zindani being poached by the Stereophonics, name changes and an abortive album have all hindered their momentum. 2012 has, however, seen a flourish of activity for the band with regular gigs in Birmingham and London and lots of new material. They take to the stage with ‘ Got No Place ’, a good choice for an opening song; it’s well known and gets the crowd going from the off. Unfortunately, some technical gremlins rear their head before the second song which stalls the flow somewhat. Recovery is swift and they soon hit their stride again during a rousing version of ‘Heavy Metal Machine’, complete with female backing vocals.

New single ‘Runaway’ is a radio friendly slab of melodic rock with its insistent bass line and jangly guitar that wouldn’t be out of place on an early Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers album. It’s a welcome addition to the Casino canon.

New songs like ‘Heavy Fever’ and ‘Coming For You’ sit comfortably with familiar favourites ‘Sadie Malone’ and ‘Where Did Our Love Go Wrong’. You come to realise that there isn’t a let up in the quality of any of the songs all night and the set is perfectly paced. Their other new release ‘Rise And Fall’ and the anthemic ‘Lose Myself’ end the main set on a high. What it takes these days for a band to break through to the big time is anybody’s guess, but a little bit of luck is now overdue for Casino. They really are too good to be kept a secret any longer.

And you can see more shots from the show here:


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