Slade + Joan Ov Arc + 4Q @ The Robin 2, Bilston – Friday 21st June 2013


Review & photos by Rob Stanley

I have a personal dislike of cover bands as they lack any form of originality and when you add a bit of cheese, it’s just a generic blanket for not being very good, but I have seen 4Q a number of times now and they are starting to grow on me which, from my point of view, is fucking worrying.  Without question they are getting better with each gig, but they are still making the odd silly mistake. However, 4Q are bloody fun to watch.  Front man Joe has a pretty powerful voice and good stage presence which just edges the band above the usual cover band standard.  Cover band or not, there is no denying that they certainly worked some magic on the crowd at the Robin 2 and kicked the night off perfectly.

9266675011_005d7c9a0c_nNext up we have Joan Ov Arc, a London based four piece female rock/metal band, who certainly look the part and to be fair keep the night moving along at pace with a selection of their own material, which I have to say is exceptional. However, the obvious lack of original material in the bank means that a large section of the set comprises of covers, which sadly didn’t come across all that good.  A perfect example of this was their Freebird cover, weak vocals and diluted guitar work.  If you’re going to do a cover and be expected to be taken seriously, you can’t take short cuts.  You have to perform material as good, if not better than the original and this simply wasn’t the case.

Sam’s vocals are amazing and the likes of Joan Jet, Suzie Q and Mia Coldheart spring to mind, but for some unknown reason they feel the need to share vocals.. why?  No disrespect to the girls but neither Laura nor Shelly’s vocals are in the class as Sam’s so I am really finding it hard to understand the reasoning behind it? On the whole not a bad set, but I think they really need to spend more time planning a set list that works and includes more of their own material, decide on a front woman and stick to it.

By the time Slade came on stage the crowd were well up for some serious glam rockin’.  Powell came on first to a massive cheer to lead the band into the classic ‘Gudbuy T’ Jane’ and when Dave came bounding on the stage like an 18yr old on speed the crowd went absolutely ‘crazeee’ and it was like this throughout the whole set.

9269449656_6feda6094a_nThe set list, as was expected, comprised totally of material from their golden years and the crowd were singing and bouncing along throughout the whole set.   This was a good because it drowned out McNultys abysmal screaming vocals which sounded like his foreskin was caught in his zip and amplified with a little distortion for good effect.  Thankfully Mal is leaving the band as soon as they find a replacement.  They could do much worse than give young Joe Taster from 4Q a chance.

For the slower numbers John Berry took control of the vocals and quite surprisingly wasn’t that bad and about half hour into the set I wanted someone to kick McNulty off the stage and let Berry take full control.  I know Berry hasn’t got the gravelly voice of Holder, but better that than someone trying to emulate the ‘great one’ and failing!

If this had been a Sabbath gig you know that Ozzy is going to be shite, because he always has been and it doesn’t really matter because you go purely for the mystical atmosphere that he creates and I would have walked away happy.  But this was a Slade gig on home turf and for me, I wanted something a little more solid to remember other than a great atmosphere and whilst Hill, Powell and Berry performed faultlessly, McNuttys failure to deliver put a big dampener on the evening.


See more of Rob’s photos here;