Review by Woody
Tonight’s local openers Hightale are a new name to me but they seem to have a loyal local following. The lead singer proudly wearing his Wolves FC shirt has a commanding stage presence and frequently bigs up his hometown and fires the crowd up to get on the pop, his mic stand is made up of empty beer cans so it’s a little bit obvious these guys like a little shandy every now and again.
Everything about these guys is soaked in beer from their lairy lads on stage presence to their raw rock sound. However, their songs seemed to lack definition and I found it hard to distinguish one song from the next, so whilst these guys obviously enjoy performing they just don’t have a strong enough song arsenal to make an impression on me.
I’ve been aware of Dudley based Soley Mourning for some time but never seen them live. As the backdrop for the previous band is replaced by the flag of the greatest country on earth, The Black Country, I’m quickly thinking that no matter what’s to come, these guys are pretty damn awesome!
When you go to see a local band you tend to expect a certain standard of performance so for the next couple of hours I’m totally jaw droopingly blown away by one of the slickest, professional and entertaining bands I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. Why these guys are not playing bigger stages is an absolute mystery to me and while the band have garnered lots of rave reviews from magazines such as Classic Rock they just keep missing that bit of luck which will boost them up into the mainstream.
Someone needs to get these guys playing up and down the country, and with bands like UFO, Uriah Heep and Black Star Riders, ’cause there is a multitude of Soley Mourning fans out there who just don’t yet know it. They have a truly energetic sound paired with a visually electric performance which energizes their loyal following. Definitely one the best live acts I’ve ever seen and I suppose this is only accentuated by the fact that I wasn’t expecting it to be just as good as this. They pair their groove driven classic rock sound with massive dollops of smooth melodies which makes the band stand out that little bit more for me; they have the rawness you’d expect from a blues influenced rock band but that smooth melodic edge makes them more commercial and far more appealing to my own personal tastes.
Most of the songs I heard tonight were new to me and it’s testament to how strong the song writing is within this band that the set as a whole invigorated and excited me without me being familiar with them beforehand. The only time I felt a little let down was during a couple of low key, laid back ballads which punctuated the energy levels and had me craving the next song. But this is a very minor grumble as on the whole the band was mightily impressive on every level.
The fans made their voices heard and frequently showed their love which added to an already enjoyable atmosphere. Soley Mourning make the most of their headline show and even treat their fans to a three track encore, amongst the set list we got ‘Easy Life’, ‘Accidental Enemies’, ‘Make It Shine’, ‘Going Down To Rio’ and ‘Dead Man’s Town’. For me one of my highlights was the highly melodic ‘Where You Are’ and if I caught lead vocalist Mat Partridge right this is taken from their debut album – which I now need to get a copy.
Soley Mourning are a band poised at the edge of greatness, one little nudge, one little break, and these guys will become household names! They are way too good to only ever be a Black Country band; we need to share them with the world!