Oli and the chaps keep it raw
Hailing from the West Midlands, Gin Annie are – considering their Twitter account is private anyway – men of mystery. There is, however nothing too tricky about fathoming out their sound. Unashamed of and completely comfortable with the fact that they rock hard, they do just that for half an hour. Let’s not kid ourselves that there’s anything too original going on here, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. Songs like current single “Falling” with its machine gun drumming, and “Damage Is Done”, which chugs pleasingly, are a cut above the normal local opening band. They have a sleazy side too, but actually, the key to it all is in the closing track. “I Was Born To Rock And Roll” they sing, and for Gin Annie, it’s in the blood.
Skam are fast rising beyond being openers. They stand on the cusp of a breakthrough. They are already very good and they keep getting better each time we see them. Perhaps because their new album “The Amazing Memoirs Of Geoffrey Goddard” is such a fine collection, and perhaps because its songs are road tested now, but there aren’t many better. They start with a couple from “…Goddard”. “Between The Eyes” and “The Iron Cross”, but they find room too for older material like “No Lies” and the thumping “The Holy City.” The fact is whatever they do, it is shot through with a confidence and a class. The single “Take It Or Leave It” is a real highlight, but they finish with “Massacre” which they splice with a snippet of “War Pigs” and after it finishes they have won another set of fans over. That’s Skam. One crowd at a time, one gig after another, they are becoming a real force.
There is one of those moments in the middle of RavenEye’s set as they play “Madeline”. That split second where you look at the stage and go: “how the hell does a three piece make such a humungous sound.”
Like Motorhead, Rush and whoever else before them, RavenEye are a three-piece that rocks loud. They are also a band that has paid their dues (tours with Kiss and Bush last year for example) and are now primed and ready to reap their rewards.
It helps that they look like they are never happier than playing on a stage – and dare we suggest that frontman Oli Brown looks more at home playing these songs than the blues he played as a kid when first we saw him.
Here – in front of a very decent crowd considering the filthy Sunday weather – they start with the Audioslave flavoured “Hate”, and the slamming bass of “Come With Me” but perhaps it is the next two that give an insight into their huge potential.
First, the funky, sassy “Get It Started” allows Brown to play a stunning solo, but they follow it up with a new song – one of two they play here – and “You’re A Lie” is destined to be a real favourite in times to come. It also sees bass man Aaron Spiers and drummer Adam Breeze really driving things in a Royal Blood type way.
Brown is a natural frontman, playing “Hey Hey Yeah” from the crowd, and when coupled with his ebullient bandmates, it is absolutely true to say that RavenEye belong right here and not in the studio.
Mercifully free of rock star bullshit too – there are no encores – this is all about music and a connection between band and audience. Talent, too, given that they all play acoustic on “Eternity” as if to provide a real contrast, because the rest of it is anything but stripped back. Rather the ending pair if “Hero” and the wild abandon of “You Got It” underline that RavenEye are probably going to be very big indeed.
In a world of wonderful rock trio’s we might just have another.