Live Review: The Answer and The Dead Daisies in Sheffield, 14/11/16

Date: 14th November 2016
Venue: Corporation

Rock fans came out in their hoards to a packed Corporation in Sheffield to see the unusual combination of one of Ireland’s prominent blues rock bands and American/ Australian rock super-group, The Dead Daisies.

The double-header concert started with Cormac The Answer taking to the stage opening with the title track from their latest album Solas. Lead singer, Cormac Neeson’s voice soared high above the gritty blues undercurrent creating a haunting atmosphere throughout the venue.

Continuing with the powerful rock ballad, Beautiful World, there was no mistaking it, the boys were back.

Whilst most of this tour focused on their latest release, the band threw in New Horizon from 2013’s album of the same name and Waste Your Tears from the Revival record. The audience appreciated the nostalgia.

After a spell of pure driven rock in their set, the band swapped their overdriven, electric guitars for bouzoukis and mandolins for an impromptu, chilled out, acoustic set.

In This Land and Thief of Light really showed a different side to the band, their variety as musicians and strength as writers with beautiful close harmony and stripped down arrangements. A real hit with fans who sang along at the tops of their voices.

It wasn’t long before the volume and pace picked up with inviting special guest vocalist Lynne Jackaman to the stage for a duet, as per the original recording on Nowhere Freeway.

The boys finished up with a rousing rendition of Battle Cry, leaving the audience shouting out for more as singer Neeson remembered his last gig in Sheffield.

He recalled that he had been in a bad place personally on the last tour with family illness taking it’s toll, but said he felt he had made so many new friends on this visit.

It was certainly a hard act to follow, though rockers The Dead Daisies were the men for the job. Entering to a screams and cries from the audience as one by one, Doug Aldrich, Brian Tichy, David Lowy, Marco Mendoza and John Corabi arrived and kicked off their set with Long Way To Go.

Made up of previous band members of Mötley Crüe, Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy, Dio and Foreigner to name a few, their musical CV reads like something out of rock n roll history. There have been many band member changes including the introduction of Corabi in 2015 and most recently lead guitarist, Aldrich.

This tour is promoting their latest release Make Some Noise and the title track of that album sure enough features right at the beginning of their set. In true classic rock style, it packed a punch but it was not treading new ground for the band.

Covers of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Fortunate Son, The Who’s Join Together, The Beatles’ Helter Skelter and Midnight Moses from The Sensational Alex Harvey Band. All great covers, which saw the crowd joining in from the first note to the last chord.

As entertainers, you can’t fault these guys. They’ve earned their stripes with some of the most prolific rock groups in the business. Their musicianship is reflected in the plethora of flamboyant, intricate solos, yet somehow musically I felt a longing for a variety in pace, to see something more musically exposed.

An unusual mixture, but nonetheless the crowd left exhausted having sung along and danced all night. It had been energetic and impressive evening from some of rock’s finest musicians.

– Charlie Barker

View full set of live gig images: click here.

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Interview with John Corabi from The Dead Daisies

Rock group, The Dead Daisies released their latest album Make Some Noise earlier this year and saw it reach number 35 in the UK album charts. Since then it’s been non-stop for the band who are about to embark on their November UK tour co-headlining with Irish band The Answer, stopping at Sheffield’s Corporation on November 14th.

The Dead Daisies frontman and ex-Mötley Crüe singer, John Corabi talks about what in store for the band and their fans.

dead-daisies

Given the varied groups you have all played in before, how did The 

Dead Daisies come about? Do you feel like a Rock Supergroup?

John: Well The Daisies was started in 2012, by David and a singer named Jon Stevens in Australia and I personally wasn’t there in the beginning, and don’t really know what happened before I got here but, I’ve been told that they wrote a bunch of material, and recorded with a bunch of session players, and decided to put a “band” together to tour. It was kind of “ass backwards” actually, cause most bands get together and write for a while, then try to get a deal, record an album, then go on tour. So I guess there were a couple of members that didn’t quite work out along the way. I don’t exactly know the time frame on when Marco and Brian got involved but they been involved for a few years now. I’ve been with the band since last January, as Jon Stevens left the band to do some solo recording. We’ve recorded 2 albums since I’ve joined (Revolucion, and Make Some Noise) and things have been steadily getting better with each tour!!! The band doesn’t consider ourselves a supergroup, we like to say we’re more like a “boys club”, as we’re more a bunch of really good friends that share the same love of classic rock music, if you will, and we’re just having a ton of fun doing this!! We’ve all known each other for 20+ years so, it’s been an incredible couple of years hanging, creating, and jamming live with each other!!!

Your latest album ‘Make Some Noise’ came out in August and charted well across the globe, are things getting bigger with each release?

J: Yes!!!!! We’re very excited about all the NEW places we’ve been invited to, i.e. Japan, South Korea, South America, etc., and the growing amount of fans, and the amazing support they give us in the places we’ve played already. I think we’re tapping into a huge segment of people that just dig good classic music, and the fun and excitement that we all used to feel when our favourite bands would put out a new record, or come to town for a show. The energy the fans give back to us via email, and at the shows is really great, and again it reassures us that Rock is still alive and well, and the music fans are still there and ready to “throw down”!!! We’re all very blessed to be in this business this long, and still be able to do what we all LOVE, and continue to make new music and make new friends all over the world!!!!

Are you consciously developing the bands sound with each recording or is it a case of going with the flow when writing songs?

J: Its very much a “go with the flow” thing here. We’re a bit geographically challenged as David lives in Sydney Australia, Marco, Doug, and Brian live in Los Angeles, and I live in Nashville. So, both records I’ve done with the guys have been written and recorded very quickly. We start with a bunch of riffs, and just develop them together. We’ll get what I like to call a “map” or a song foundation, and we just record it onto a laptop or cellphone. Once we had enough material we sifted through all the ideas with Marti Fredrickson, and decided on the best 13-14 tunes. We started laying the rhythm tracks down all together in the same room, so we could all play off of each others energy. I’m usually in a separate room scatting and trying to develop a melody. Once that part is finished, we go off into different rooms and Doug worked on his solos, and I worked on lyrics and melodies. There’s no egos at all in the process and we all kind of bounce the ideas off each other and get input when it’s needed. I’ve gotten some great input from all the guys at times for lyrics or titles, so it’s all very band oriented..We all work about 12 hours a day, everyday, in the studio and just get extremely focused on the work at hand. As we’re laying down vocals and guitars you begin to hear other ideas for the songs because you really begin to get a feel of how the song is going to sound, so there may be a bit of experimenting. In a nutshell, basically we just write, record, then play around a bit with the tunes, and let the songs go where they want!!!! We did both records (Revolucion and Make Some Noise) this way, and the process of writing, recording, mixing, and mastering was completed in a little

over a month both times. When we talked to Marti about producing, we just told him we wanted to do a good old fashioned, classic rock record. Thats about all the thought that went into the sound…

You are playing across the UK, what have been the groups experiences over here up till now?

J: Playing in UK has been AMAZING for all of us!!!! The fans are awesome, and have been extremely accepting of all of us, separately and together. It gives us a chance to see and hang with some mates. Personally, I’ve played England a couple of times when I was doing my solo acoustic shows and had a blast!!! I was schooled on a few different warm beers and managed a bit of sight seeing, but not much! I’ve got quite a few friends there, and enjoy seeing them every time I’m there, and I also LOVE the history of UK, so that intrigues me as well.

Is there a venue anywhere in the globe that you enjoy playing at the most?

J: That’s a hard one… We all just LOVE playing!!! Theres a bunch of places, even here in America that I haven’t played yet so, after 25 years of touring, there’s still a lot of famous venues that I’d LOVE to play!!! I think playing The Download festival last year with The Daisies, was awesome, as I read about that when it was called The Donnington festival in magazines as a kid in Kerrang. I was supposed to play there with Motley in 1994, on a bill with Aerosmith, and for some reason we cancelled, so I was more than disappointed, but it was definitely a bucket list gig. Playing Budakon with Motley in Japan was great as well, and thats another legendary venue, that I remembered from the Cheap Trick album. I think my biggest wish is to play my hometown in Philadelphia at the new Spectrum, and Madison Square Garden cause that’s as legendary as you can get!!! Hopefully it won’t take that long to cross those venues off the list…

You are starting this UK tour off the back of the KISS KRUISE – whats it like to play to a boat full of rock fans sailing around the caribbean?

J: Doing the Kiss cruise or The Monsters Of Rock cruise is ALWAYS a blast!!! It’s a festival on a boat with people from all over the world. How could you not dig that? The Kiss guys are always very accomodating, and we can’t thank them enough for the invites the last couple of years!!! Personally I’ve got a pretty long history with their fans, as I had a band called Union after Motley Crue, with Bruce Kulick, who used to play guitar with Kiss. I also have a side band with Eric Singer, the current drummer from Kiss, called “ESP”. So, it’s always a blast doing that! This year should be a real party cause a bunch of good friends are playing as well, so it’ll be out of control I’m sure. Kiss has Skid Row, Whitford/St.Holmes, Kings X, this time, so we’re excited to see and hang with them all. It’s pretty cool when you can go onto a huge cruise ship, and soak up some sunshine, hang with friends and fans, have a few drinks, and then go play and listen to great music! It’s a bit of a “work vacation” as I get to bring my wife and have a quite a bit of fun..The fans are always very

polite, and respectful, so we always have a great time!!!!

You are co-headlining with The Answer from Northern Ireland in the UK and Europe, have you played with them before, what are your thoughts on the Irish rockers?

J: We have never played with them before but, I’m very excited to check them out. Everybody we’ve spoken to has given us great feedback about the guys, so I think it’ll be a GREAT tour!!! We’re all big Thin Lizzy, Gary Moore, Rory Gallagher, U2 fans so we know Ireland has some great music coming out of there. There’s a huge list of amazing talent then and now from Ireland so I’m beyond curious to see what the guys are all about. Most of the people we’ve met from there are always very jovial, so we’re really looking forward to meeting them, and hanging and maybe even having a drink or two…They are Irish, so I’m training my liver as I type…hahaha!!! Oddly enough, I’m also doing the Monsters Of Rock cruise with my solo band, and their on the boat as well in February, so this tour will be the warm up for that too!!!

Out of all the band members who would be the most rock’n’roll?

J: 1- Brian, if you love drums and animals!!!!
2- Doug, if you love guitar heros and guys with good abdominal muscles!!!
3- Marco, if you love bass, and Salsa, anything Latin and eyeliner!!!!
4- David, if you love guitar, Aussies, pilots, and shopping!!!!
5- And yours truly if you’re into incredibly talented, handsome, savvy,

poetic, Godlike, HUMBLE singers such as myself….

Has the notion of taking it easy ever entered your head or is life on the road too addictive?

J: I STILL LOVE being on the road!!!! And obviously you’ve never seen me with a POWERTOOL in my hands…(not good) But, right now, The Dead Daisies are really picking up a lot of steam, with our new record “Make Some Noise” and we’re touring until mid December of this year, then taking off January and February of 2017, then picking right back up again in March. I also have a new live solo record coming out in January, (94 Live, One Night In Nashville) so I’ll be touring to support that with my band during The Daisies’ off time.. I guess if you still really enjoy doing something you love, it’s not really considered work…is it???

Ministry of Sound’s Louis Berry heads to South Yorkshire

Louis BerryThe Ministry of Sound label’s latest signing, Louis Berry is supporting Saint Raymond at the Plug in Sheffield on 27th November 2015.

Louis has picked up support from the likes of Annie Mac and Phil Taggart at Radio 1 alongs with wowing festival crowds over the course of the year, having performed at The Great Escape, Dot-to-Dot and Barn On The Farm festivals and own his debut headline tour of the UK back in September.

With the sound of his soul-infused vocals and raucous, blues-tinged rock’n’roll. This lad channels the energy of legends including Johnny Cash and modern day songwriters such as Alex Turner.

Sheffield’s Charlie Barker supports the national launch of the Women’s Equality Party

Sheffield singer/ songwriter Charlie Barker is set to play the national policy launch of the Women’s Equality Party in Sheffield on 20th October 2015, at The Workstation on Paternoster Row from 6pm.

Founded by journalists Sandi Toksvig and Catherine Mayer and lead by Sophie Walker, Women’s Equality is a new British political party which is uniting people of all genders, diverse ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, beliefs and experiences in the shared determination to see women enjoy the same rights and opportunities as men so that all can flourish.

The party is launching its national policies on 20th October and in turn all regional branches of the party are joining together in celebration, inviting current members and the public to show their support and discover more about the party.

Charlie BarkerCharlie Barker is a young, female musician and business owner from Sheffield who has been working in the music industry for 15 years, has been a BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Awards semi-finalist, appeared on BBC1’s The Next Big Thing and released two albums on independent label, Rootbeat Records.

She is a supporter of gender equality and now a founder member of the Women’s Equality Party.

Charlie will be performing at the event with new material prepared especially for WE, along with speakers from the party and a film showing of the London launch.

Charlie said: “I have always been passionate about politics since before I was old enough to vote. Sadly, I have recently felt very frustrated with Britain’s mainstream political parties.

I made contact with the Women’s Equality Party through Jillian Creasey of the Sheffield Green Party and found myself very excited about their stance on equality within society today.

I became a Founding Member and am very pleased to be supporting them on their historic launch day.

Equality isn’t just a women’s issue. I’m pleased to say that I am supporting a party where both male and female members are welcome, involved and working towards a unified cause.”

Womens-Equality-Party-Logo-square-copy-2More information about Women’s Equality can be found at the official website www.womensequality.org and the Sheffield branch of WE www.facebook.com/WomensEqualityPartySheffield.

Charlie Barker’s official website is www.charliebarkermusic.com and can be found on the following social networks:http://twitter.com/charliebarker & www.facebook.com/1charliebarker.

Live Review: Good Lovelies in Sheffield, 25/06/15

Date: 25th June 2015
Venue: The Backroom, Greystones

Canadian songbirds, the Good Lovelies stopped by Sheffield’s intimate, The Backroom venue on the second night of their UK leg of their European Tour, playing to a full house much to their surprise.

As Canadian Folk Music award and Juno award winners, the delightful trio appears to be surprised and overwhelmed they can bring their own brand of roots music to another country and receive such a warm welcome. Sitting in the audience it’s not hard to see why they’ve made friends around the world.

The night is opened up by Rutland’s musical answer to Jack Dee. Paul McClure warms up the audience with his dry, witty humor. Not adverse to self-deprecating humor, McClure wins over the audience joking about his slow-tempo material; categorizing himself as a miserable country/ folk singer.

He delivers an entertaining set of his own material, telling stories through his songs, dedicating one in particular to his wife and another with an anecdote of how he became known as the ‘Rutland Troubadour’. What better way to start the night?

They’ve come a long way from home, having played previously around Western Europe before reaching the UK. Caroline Brooks, Kerri Ough and Sue Passmore take to the stage fresh faced and overwhelmed by their enthusiastic audience, also accompanied by their touring double bassist.

Burn The Plan is the new album and after a couple of years in the making the record is ready to unveil, with lots of new tracks airing tonight with several favorites thrown in for good measure.

Instantly reminiscent of the Dixie Chicks, their close three-part harmony is blows you away with precision and such beautiful timbre. Whilst they hold their own as modern folk/ country musicians, there are hints of old tradition in there too, with some lines and harmonies with a hint of the Andrews Sisters.

Fans may have had to wait for their latest release, but it was well worth it. Performances of Into The Dark, a song about jumping into the challenge of parenthood, gained lots of audience participation joining in with the catchy hook.

The upbeat, electronic feel of In The Morning was a definite parting of ways from their more traditional material, but executed in a subtle manner it successfully blended their core sound with something new. Kerri also brought out the Autoharp, a very traditional instrument used to give beautiful flourishes throughout the song.

As the band seamlessly switched instruments it was evident that their unique sound was homegrown, demonstrated on the track Waiting For You. Sue swapped her mandolin for a series of percussive instruments to give this track a crucial extra boost, replicating the sound on their latest recording.

When The City Settles, was a soothing interlude featuring rich lead vocals from Sue, with Kerri and Caroline providing the soulful and sweet close harmony.

Whilst the audience, were enjoying the new material, we were treated to an unaccompanied song, where instruments were left on the stage whilst the trio stepped down to the front row and delivered a Gram Parsons & Emmylou Harris number.

Rounding up the night the band left the stage following a two-song encore, performing another unaccompanied, foot-stomping version of Johnny Cash’s God’s Gonna Cut You Down and Mrs T, a song written for an ex Mother-in-Law, who was loved more than her son!

The Good Lovelies could have carried on all night, the audience still wanted more. What a comeback and what a great new sound. We’ll eagerly await their next UK visit!

– Charlie Barker

View full set of live gig images: click here.

Live Review: Hudson Taylor in Sheffield, 05/02/15

Date: 5th February 2015
Venue: The Plug, Sheffield

Sheffield’s Plug was treated to an intimate night of pop/ rock with Ireland’s upcoming sibling duos, Hudson Taylor and friends.

Feeling somewhat older than the masses of youngsters there, mainly students and school kids, I was slightly unsure as to how I would fit in and relate to the music on offer tonight. My student years have passed nearly a decade ago though the only others in the crowd, vaguely my age appeared to be parents escorting their offspring to the gig.

First on stage to get the crowd warmed up was Irish, solo singer and guitarist, Jack Morris. It’s a hard job being the first support act, opening up as the crowds are still arriving and talking though Morris seemed un-phased by this confidently playing a mixture of originals and a very brave cover of Lou Reid’s classic, Walk On The Wild Side. Commenting on his friendship with the headline act, he was in good spirits though the crowd somewhat unresponsive unfairly gave him a rough deal. I can only assume the talents of Jack Morris would have been appreciated better in a totally different setting.

As the second act, Southern took to the stage, a Belfast born, brother/ sister fronted group I was starting to see a family theme emerge for tonight’s music. Playing their own wave of pop/ rock and blues, the crowd instantly lit up with their catchy riffs and driving rhythm. Taking tracks from their recent releases Where I Want To Be and Where The Wild Ones Are, Thom and Lucy Southern are definitely ones to watch.

The crowd broke out into cheers and applause as brothers, Hudson Taylor entered the stage. There was no mistaking them for anything other than the main attraction.

Their stylish, retro image and guitars, harking back to Elvis Presley’s quiff and Buddy Holly’s black-rimmed glasses, perfectly set the tone for what was to follow.

There’s something very special in the vocals of two people who know each other so well whether they be siblings, parents/ children or couples. Hudson Taylor’s voices blended and complimented each other so well it was a joy to listen to every single harmony they sang and reminiscent of acts such as the Everly Brothers. Playing songs with a pop/ rock and folk vibe the young audience lapped it up, the brothers had us in the palm of their hands.

Featuring material from their forthcoming debut album Singing For Strangers; the singles Weapons, Battles and Chasing Rubies the boys chose a varied set of material, which showed their capabilities as quality songwriters and performers.

Close vocal harmony, a great backing band, varied material and two great frontmen; what more could you ask for?

– Charlie Barker

View full set of live gig images: click here.