Review by Paul Davis, photos by Russ Powney
It was a somewhat belated gig tonight at Wolverhampton’s Slade Rooms, after The Union’s tour was cut short in February due to illness. The band had been three songs into their set in London when it was decided Peter Shoulder couldn’t continue. Supporting The Union were up and coming Bristolians BlackWolf.
BlackWolf play an energetic set and soon have the Wolverhampton crowd on side, playing songs from their Taking Root EP and their forthcoming album, which like tonight’s headliners, will be released through a Pledge campaign. Their influences cover a wide range from AC/DC and Zeppelin through to Guns n’ Roses and modern rockers like Black Stone Cherry, while at times in Scott Sharp’s vocals there is more than a hint of Myles Kennedy. BlackWolf look capable of replicating the success that fellow hard rockers The Treatment and Heaven’s Basement are achieving right now and they have made a number of new fans by the time they close with ‘Stairway Ticket’ from the debut EP. Now, a few of those mega support slots that The Treatment have benefitted from would appear to be the way forward for BlackWolf.
The Union, featuring Thunder’s Luke Morley on lead guitar and Peter Shoulder (ex-Winterville) on vocals and guitar, open their set by going back to their very first single from the debut album ‘Step Up To The Plate’, it’s one of their more upbeat songs and a gets the Wolverhampton crowd in the mood. After last year’s co-headlining trip with The Answer and an appearance at the Wulfrun, this time The Union are out as headliners in their own right and as such, the venues are a little more intimate.
‘You’re My Jesus’ is the first song to be played from the new album The World is Yours but is surpassed by the feel-good vibe of ‘Tonight I’m Alive’. Rockers of a certain age will be more than aware of Morley’s songwriting talents but what of Shoulder? Well, in 2006 he won a W.C. Handy award for writing the blues song of the year, one of only three Brits to win the award. The others were Eric Clapton and Peter Green, not bad company to be keeping.
To add to his writing talents, Shoulder’s voice is incredible tonight, showing no adverse effects from his recent illness. It’s on ‘Cut The Line’ and ‘Saviour’ that his vocals are really showcased but the big crowd favourites are ‘Black Monday’ and ‘Obsession’. The main set comes to an end with the always impressive ‘Siren’s Song’ before an encore of ‘Come Rain Come Shine’ and ‘Watch The River Flow’
Another great night with The Union, and as each album and tour arrives they continue to produce blues-roc k of the highest quality, while tonight’s support band BlackWolf also made a huge impression on those present.