Snakecharmer + Nightblade @ Kidderminster Town Hall – Friday 12th September 2014


Review and photos by Rich Ward

It’s good to see rock gigs making a comeback to Kidderminster Town Hall. Despite it’s location, it’s the first time I’ve been to the venue for a rock gig, and one that has in the past played host to the likes of AC/DC and Robert Plant.  It’s a decent sized venue, and Snakecharmer have pulled in a good crowd tonight. Deceptively quick to get to from the South side of Birmingham, I hope promoting such gigs remains viable so I can get to see more here in the future.


Opening act, Nightblade, are a local band playing heavily NWOBHM styled music. They have only been going a couple of years, although listening to them for the first time, they seemed familiar and I was left wondering whether I should be recognising the material. This is probably down to the fact that singer Mark Crosby and guitarist Dave Parrish have both been around a while, with the latter being a former member of NWOBHM band Scarab. The rhythm section are considerably younger, but they work well together and form a tight unit despite this being the bass player’s debut with the band. Close your eyes and the likes of ‘Jekyll And Hyde’ take you straight back to the early 80s I can’t help but make comparisons to bands like Cryer, which can only be a good thing. The songs could be criticised for sounding too dated, but I enjoyed their opening set and they’re a band I’d hope to see again soon.


Snakecharmer played this venue last summer, and they must have made a lasting impression as they are welcomed back by an enthusiastic crowd as they kick off their 90 minute set with ‘Guilty As Charged’. Neil Murray stays glued to the spot holding down the bass lines, while drummer Harry James is all but invisible behind his massive kit. Adam Wakeman suffers a similar problem, sat behind his keyboards at the back of the stage in a largely unlit area. This then draws most attention to the three at the front of the stage; the diminutive Laurie Wisefield has a sound as massive as his guitar looks on him, Micky Moody in his red and white shirt and black top hat cuts a striking figure and Chris Ousey moves about the stage delivering the goods on the new and old material effortlessly.

The band have benefited from producing a strong debut album with a surfeit of superb tracks, proving that they were never going to be criticised as merely a Whitesnake tribute band. In a live setting, however, those new songs really come to the fore and stand side by side with some real heavyweight Whitesnake classics. ‘Falling Leaves’ is a perfect example, from its acoustic intro it builds to a bombastic finale which simply oozes class throughout, and it sits well with one of Whitesnake’s finest tracks ‘Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues’. While I’m sure the album in itself hasn’t brought a new fanbase to the band, the cross section of the crowd is encouraging. There are the old rockers, but also a sizeable number of younger fans and those bringing their kids along, all of whom delight in equal measure of Wisefield’s tasteful licks and Moody’s signature slide work.


Of course, ‘Here I Go Again’ and ‘Fool For Your Loving’ are there to bring an end to what has been a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Hopefully, there are more songs in this band waiting to get out that will see another album and some new songs on future tours.


1. Guilty As Charged
2. A Little Rock & Roll
3. Ready And Willing
4. Cover Me In You
5. Accident Prone
6. Falling Leaves
7. Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues
8. My Angel
9. Moody’s Blues
10. Slow And Easy
11. Nothing To Lose
12. Here I Go Again

13. Take Me With You
14. Fool For Your Loving

See more of Rich’s photos here