Spread Eagle + Daylight Robbery + Broken Wolf at Subside Bar, Birmingham on 19th September 2023


It’s our first visit to Subside Bar, and I have to say we’re quite impressed. An elongated room is tailor made for a great sound, and it is the perfect venue for getting up close and personal to those on stage. Of course, the fact that Broken Wolf are blasting out a rather nice line in heavy metal doesn’t hurt, and their brand of good time rock, just like the beer on tap, is going down rather well. With a set compiled from original tunes and choice covers, they’re an extremely likeable bunch, and my only (minor) complaint is the excess banter between songs. When time is of the essence, a support band should hit the crowd with a succession of quick blows, and Broken Wolf certainly have enough in their arsenal to leave the audience battered and bruised (but in the nicest possible way). However, all that is forgotten as they mash up ‘Granted’ with Fleetwood Mac’s ‘The Chain’ for a closer that ensures this West Midlands crew won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

A power trio in its purest definition, Daylight Robbery create a sound that’s far bigger than their constituent parts. There’s something about this three-piece that’s distilled into its purest form and, subsequently, every song makes a beeline to your cranium. In fact, this combo remind me of classic Van Halen, and not only because of their virtuoso guitarist (and vocalist) who’s all over the fretboard like a rash, but their exquisite three-point harmonies that give cuts like ‘Stand Up’ rich texture. Such is the energy that Daylight Robbery omit, you can almost see the sparks flying from the stage as they blast through a crowd-pleasing set that includes ‘Masquerade’, which cloaks complexity in simplicity, and ‘Fallen Star’, a cut that flies through Subside like a comet and leaves a sparkling trail in its wake, which is exactly what Daylight Robbery do.

Spread Eagle – Subside, Birmingham – 21st September 2023

On to the main event and it’s a pleasure to welcome back New York’s Spread Eagle. Their latest album, Subway To The Stars, is now already four years old but Covid put the brakes on promoting it in Europe after its release. What is impressive is that they’ve been taking their New York Street Metal out on the road at real grass roots level planning, booking and organising every aspect of this tour themselves. For all the hard work and stress that this may involve you certainly wouldn’t know it by the time they hit the stage opening with the title track of the new album it’s clear that they’re a well oiled machine, tight, heavy and hard hitting. The stage may be small but you’re under no illusion that you’re watching some high class rock n roll. Frontman Ray West is loquacious and energetic, his between song banter being both entertaining and infectious. Rob De Luca too seems equally into the groove, smiling, throwing shapes and making the most of it. New songs continue with a belting ‘Sound Of Speed’ which races along to Rik De Luca’s tour de force drumming and sits comfortably next to the older classics of ‘Devil’s Road’ and ‘Suzy Suicide’. It’s hard to believe that Hunter Peterson has only just joined the band on guitar for this tour. He slots in seamlessly and none more so than on ‘Broken City’ from its monstrous opening riff through to its spine tingling solo.

We get the ballad ‘Through These Eyes’ and a novel take on the drum solo sees Ray joining in for much of making it a drum duo if you will. There’s even a nod to Rob’s tenure in UFO with a cover of ‘Pushed To The Limit’. To bring the proceeding to a close its back to the debut album for a raucous ‘Switchblade Serenade’ and ‘Scratch Like A Cat’. Spread Eagle have served up a perfect tonic of Rock N Roll, and we can only hope that they’re good to their word when Ray says they’ll be back soon.