A three band bill on a Tuesday night at The Robin meant an early start for Evyltyde. The London based quartet released their 3rd full length album, Singularity, only last month and we get to hear ‘Scars’ and ‘Never Fall’ which are both which are both fine additions to their cannon.
On the whole, their brief set is an enjoyable melodic metal romp impressing with ‘Bullet In The Head’ in particular.
Next up were The Jokers who proved to be a perfect example of a band working hard and winning over the crowd. Having been around for a decade I’m surprised I’ve never caught them live before. It didn’t take long for it to become apparent that they have an arsenal of great songs drawing on classic rock influences without being derivative. Their enthusiasm is infectious and with each song they draw more of the crowd to the front and get more participation as their stage time continues. ‘Run For Cover’ and ‘Rock N Roll Bones’ have great hooks and a cover of ‘Pinball Wizard’ fits right in. The groove of final song ‘Silver City’ hits the spot and they leave the stage having successfully expanded their fan base.
A few years ago in the same venue I was unfortunate enough to witness an under par Graham Bonnet struggle through a short set. At the time I thought that maybe time had caught up with him, however subsequent shows and his appearances with Michael Schenker Fest disproved this. Now at 72, and he reminds us of this frequently, Bonnet returned to the Robin, this time billed as Alcatrazz.
Bonnet walks on to the stage alone taking a stool and explaining that tonight was going to be a little different as due to pinched nerves in his spine, it’s less painful if he remains seated. He is shortly joined by the rest of the band as they launch into a rip roaring ‘Too Young To Die, Too Drunk To Live’. The 2019 incarnation of Alcatrazz features only Graham Bonnet and keyboard player Jimmy Waldo from the original band, with the rest of the line up being completed by Bonnet’s current band. With Bonnet in fine voice, they continue to explore the debut album with ‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’ and ‘Jet To Jet’ with guitarist proving to be a perfect addition.
It’s soon obvious though that the name change is a little misleading as while there are a few less frequently heard Alcatrazz songs into the set, the show quickly progresses to become a celebration of the best bits of Bonnet’s career as tracks from Impellitteri, Blackthorne, and his solo career are shoe horned in between the more obvious Schenker and Rainbow numbers. ‘Desert Song’, ‘Night Games’ and ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ are all present and correct and any ghosts of Bonnet’s prior visit are laid to rest as he sounds fabulous this evening.
As they close on ‘Lost In Hollywood’ Joe Stump pulls out all the Blackmore stage mannerisms; down on one knee with leg outstretched whipping his guitar with the lead and scraping it across the monitors and amps, but more importantly absolutely nailing the song with a blistering solo. Bonnet himself still sounds magnificent as he has done throughout the 100 minute set. We wish him well with his forthcoming surgery and hope to see him back here again in the near future.