Review by Rob Billingham, photos by Lisa Billingham
The launch of the new Glassbullet EP Black Eyes brought together four West Midlands bands in a line up as good as you’ll get. Although scheduled to appear, Wolves band Tigerpunch were sadly missing.
Opening act My Great Affliction hit us with a seven song set, perfect for getting the as yet sparse crowd suitably warned up. Now performing as a three-piece, My Great Affliction play their music hard and heavy and generate a fair few decibels of raw rock sound. Although being influenced by a wide range of bands and music, My Great Affliction have a style that has brought them much recognition and with the promise of more to come later this year, it will be worth keeping an ear close to the ground.
Ste (Vox), Craig (Drums) and Daz (Bass) played a fantastic set which included Sick & Tired, Narcissus, Another Man, Demon Woman and Ace of Spades.
Next up were Cannock three-piece The Bad Flowers. A band new to me, these guys hit the stage and went straight for the jugular! Someone had lit the blue touch paper but declined to warn us of the explosion that was to follow. This incendiary device of a band emitted lightning bolts of thunderous rock and roll at a relentless pace. Just a little work is needed to engage more with the crowd between songs. Tom Leighton’s confidence vocals and assured guitar work, along with Dale Tonks’ pounding, driving bass and Karl Selickis’ amazing and extrovert stick work make The Bad Flowers a band to see again and with songs such as I’m a Man, Ten Feet Tall, Solitary Soul and Every Good Girl Should, they will impress.
Halfway through the evening our ears and bodies have been pummelled mercilessly, and now we have the mighty Piston to crank the whole thing up another cog or two. These guys are currently riding high in the accolade stakes and quite rightly so if recent performances have been anything to go by. By making their entrance to Slade’s “Cum On Feel The Noize”, were Piston making some sort of statement? If opening number “Watch You Fall” was the sighter, “Playing With Fire” from their recent EP release certainly hit the bullseye. With Steve Nunn’s excellent vocals leading the way through a further songs such as “My Time”, “Leave If You Dare” and “Misery”, culminating in a rocking interpretation of “Proud Mary”, there is no doubt Piston are a class live act, although tonight I would have to say that they didn’t quite reach the same dizzy heights as they did when supporting Toseland at the Asylum recently.
Piston are Steve Nunn (vox), Jack Edwards (guitar), Brad Newlands (drums), Stuart Egan (bass) and Luke Allatt (guitar).
And so to the reason for tonight’s cornucopia of top-drawer rock music. The launch of their latest EP Black Eyes by the excellent Glassbullet.
Fast gaining a reputation – Johnny Doom describes them as “brilliant” – for their unique, full on sound drawn from inspirations such as Black Stone Cherry, Soundgarden and Black Label Society, Glassbullet are yet another band in the seemingly never-ending troupes of rock and metal talent that the West Midlands has become famous for. With one EP Misguided under their belts and very well received, the time was right for a new release. Taking to the stage to a rapturous welcome from their many supporters, you can’t help but be impressed by the confidence they have in themselves and in each other. Opening with the title track from the EP, you can understand why they have had much praise. Whilst there is a grungy, raw edge to their music, the fine underlying tunes, melodies and sounds are never lost. “Pride & Pain”, “SID” and “Shot In the Dark” are the other offerings from Black Eyes and only serve to underline the potential this outfit has. Each band member played like this release could be a life-changing event – as good a live performance as I have seen in recent times.
The nine song set was full of individual performances that somehow gelled seamlessly into one dynamic whole. Lewis Ward’s superb vocals are, to me, the icing on this cake and barely faltered all set. Ben Evans provided some naggingly excellent guitar riffs and Tom Bushell’s bass playing was solid, heavy and energetic to say the least. Alex Caldicott, the most recent addition to the line-up, held it all together with some mighty fine stick work.
With Black Eyes, Glassbullet have set themselves a high bar which now will be hard, but not impossible, for these guys to raise.