FM/It Bites/Vega - Shepherds Bush 23/3/13

Yes I know there have already been two  FM reviews this week - but this was a rare occasion where all four of us have been to the see the same band in the same week at different venues - and yes before you ask we bought our tickets they were not that rare and elusive mythical thing known as a "review ticket" Fellow rockgiggers Mark & Shazz went to Pontypridd a week or so ago and NH went to see them up north (see below for the reviews) but we thought the impending heavy snowfall might disrupt a gig we've been looking forward to for a while but luckily (in our neck of the woods at least) it held off and on a cold night in London I saw FM for the first time in ages.

But before we get to them we had Vega.  I won't rehash Mark's review of them but suffice to say these boys are good.. huge choruses, excellent stage presence and their latest album "What The Hell" is superb so it's not surprising that it featured heavily in the set.

Next up were It Bites.  A bit of a strange inclusion on a bill with two other melodic rock bands, as most people unfamiliar with their work would just associate them with their "Calling all the Heroes" hit from days gone by, but they are in fact a top notch progressive rock band.  However anyone who's seen my music collection would describe it as "eclectic" at best , "'kin awful" at worst in for a penny.... and they impressed me. Francis Dunnery is the most recogniseable member of the band, but he left ages ago  and for the last six or so years they have had John Mitchell on lead vocals and guitar.. and he does both jobs really well being a particularly accomplished guitar player. He did appear to be the only one of the band enjoying themselves, the others seemed very focussed on what they were doing (especially John Beck on keyboards) and I don't think I saw a smile from them all set.  Despite my initial concern, I enjoyed their set (I think the couple of Red Stag and cokes I had after Vega may have enhanced my enjoyment) but they also went down really well with the crowd around us, so credit where credit is due!

What can I say about FM?  I first saw them supporting bands that went on to mega stardom in the 80s.. I kept waiting for them to join them and it never happened. Steve-O can out sing 98% of all rock vocalists so why they are not currently playing Wembley Arena rather than Shepherds Bush (no offence to the Empire)  still eludes me.

Great songs, great hooks - their latest album Rockville is a melodic tour de force (although they never played my current favourite song Only Foolin' tonight, replacing it with ....Grapevine) and only a few newer tracks (from Metropolis) no one cared.  FM know their audience well and played exactly what we wanted to hear. The evening flew by, which was a shame as I had excellent company, a couple of Red Stag and cokes and a 90 minute singalong to a great band..what more could you want?

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