FM/Vega/Serpentine Pontypridd Muni Arts Centre 15-03-13
With tickets already booked for Shepherds Bush on the 23rd when the support acts were announced it meant getting the map out to see where we could see 3 of Britain's finest bands on one bill. (It Bites are playing London!)
Ponytpridd and the first night of the tour worked out fine. So with google map instructions in hand and copies of FM's "Rockville" and Vega's "What The Hell" both released on March the 11th in the other,off to Wales we headed in some of the worst rain I have ever driven in!!
The Muni Arts Centre is a redeveloped church and inside is a superb custom built facility that holds 400 standing and which had some of the best sound I have ever heard.
First up were Serpentine who we had seen a couple of times and their guitar driven AOR was perfect for this bill.
They played 5 songs from their 2 cd career which were:
Deep Down (There's A Price For Love)
In My Blood
With Matt Black in fine voice their 30 minute set flew past. His partnership with Chris Gould on guitar is the magic that this band have and with a new cd being written big things lay ahead.
I have heavily featured Vega over the last few months since rave reviewing them after their Borderline show in November.
With their second cd "What The Hell" finally out the band seemed ready to put the 4 month delay to the cd being released behind them and hit the stage like a coiled spring.
We were treated to a 40 minute set that included 7 from "What The Hell".
This is what they played:
Kiss Of Life
You Can't Run
What The Hell
I'm Not There For You
Into The Wild
She Walks Alone
White Knuckle Ride
Hands In The Air
I have to be honest and say that the new cd is a masterpiece. I loved their debut cd "Kiss Of Life" but the new one blows it away with a huge production and 13 songs that all could be singles with everyone having a chorus to die for!
In the live domain all of the songs came alive and with plenty of fan participation needed it wasn't long before the temperature had gone up a notch."She Walks Alone", "Saviour and the closing "Hands In The Air" are 3 classics in the making.
Led by the fantastic voice of Nick Workman who plays every show like it's Wembley Stadium and he works every inch of the stage.
With Dan Chantrey on drums, James Martin on keys and his twin James on bass the band live have added two guitarists Ben Christo from Night By Night and Marcus Thurston from Eden's Curse.
You would never have believed that it was the first night of the tour as they ripped Pontypridd a new one.
I can't recommend this band enough live or on cd they have it all. Riffs,choruses by the dozen and songs that need to be played and heard everywhere.
They need a huge tour support so the world can hear them!
You have to give FM some credit for having 2 great support acts but with a wonderful new cd behind them and being the consummate professionals they had no trouble at all.
With a top notch sound and great lighting the band showed how they too are at the top of their game. Their 90 minute set only had 3 from their new cd "Rockville" but no one cared a jot.
Here is what they played:
I Belong To The Night
Love Lies Dying
Let Love Be The Leader
Does It Fell Like Love
Burning My Heart Down
Encores of Crosstown Train
Closer To Heaven
Other Side Of Midnight.
I have now seen FM 14 times and I don't think I've ever seen them play so well. After a great comeback cd with "Metropolis" and the "Indiscreet 25 Live" tour they play with a confidence and ease that few bands could dream of.
The rhythm team of Pete Jupp on shiny new Premier drums, Jem Davis on keys and Admin's favourite Merv Goldsworthy on bass lay down the beat leaving the way clear for the 2 star's of the show.
Jim Kirkpatrick on guitar has been the find of the century and has given the band such a boost. He really can play it all. Seeing him so close up was a delight. Great to see the band play "Crosstown Train" which is the stand out song from the new cd. It's heavier style and with plenty of solo's gave Jim a chance to show us everything he has. Brilliant.
At the front is The Voice as the band now call him. Steve Overland is probably my favourite singer and to hear him in such great form was just wonderful. Nice to see "Closer to Heaven" put back in the set which gave him a chance to shine vocally and also on guitar too.
The man could sing the phone book and I would buy it!!
As we left Vega were at their merchandise stand and after buying a T shirt we had a quick chat with Nick Workman. After seeing me during their set and knowing all the words even though it had only been out 4 days I had to admit to him finding their album 4 months ago on a Russian site as Nick mentioned in the set.
He just said I hoped I had bought it too I said I have.They all signed the photo (see below) that the nice guy on their stand had given me with the 2 guitarists admitting they are only with the band until Shepherds Bush we said see you there!!
Again like Threshold the other week genuine guys who seemed pleased we had put time out to see them.
And Nick or anybody else in the band who are reading this please get in contact as I would love to do a piece on the band. Contact us via facebook or twitter.
So a 2 hour drive home in a deluge followed but we will all do it again next weekend and a truly exceptional evening with 3 bands and all for £16.50.
I've found some footage which must have been taken by the guys next to us enjoy!!