Winger Bristol Academy 20-06-14

First up were Blackwolf who were playing their hometown and having seen them in March with The Answer just as their superb debut cd was released I knew they would put on a show.

I wasn't wrong as they came on showing a huge level of confidence and proceeded to show that they could well be one of the forebearers of this music we love for a very long time.

Their 7 song 35 minute set showcased their debut cd " The Hunt " and here is what they played.

Mr Maker
Moving Mountains
Keep Moving On
Black Hole Friend
Sea Of Mercy

Led by  vocalist Scott Sharp who is developing into a great frontman with a real swagger and also has a huge voice with a range that not many can match. He showed the depth of his range on " Sleepwalking " which builds from a quiet beginning to a crescendo. 

John Cronin on rhythm guitar and AC/DC wristbands has a permanent grin and is a good foil to lead guitarist John Greenhill who produces the goods and love the wah wah pedal solo to " Mr Maker ".

Ben Webb on bass and Thomas Lennox-Brown on drums drive the band on and really come to the fore on the heavy rocker " Black Hole Friend " with the end section a real tour de force.

Ending with the groove of " Sea Of Mercy " with its melodic chorus and again superb musical ending they left us wanting more and left to huge applause.

Speaking to Scott after the show he confirmed the band's first headlining tour of the UK is due to be announced shortly with a string of shows in September.

Make sure you get along to see one of the UK's top young bands.

Next up were Jettblack from High Wycombe who played a 40 minute 8 song set that showed the the UK really has got an uprising of new bands that can carry on when the old guard start to retire.

Here is what they played

Get Your Hands Dirty
Broken Bones (new song)
Mother Fucker
Prison Of Love
Kick In The Teeth (new song)
In Between Lovers
Slip It On
Raining Rock

The 4 piece with shared guitar and vocals by Jon Dow and Will Stapelton sound like a cross between Skid Row, Kiss, Motorhead, Motley Crue and a bit of sleaze all thrown into a blender with a ton of attitude. Huge riffs , gang choruses , thundering drums from Matt Oliver and bass from Tom Wright had the expanding crowd raising fists to the sky. With the 2 new songs played from their upcoming third album all balls and an attitude of look at us it really could be something special. 

" Prison Of Love " from their second album also threw a real melodic chorus into the mix with something that you could hear on the radio so lets hope they don't throw away that side of their music entirely.
With a 7 date headline tour of the UK set for October and the new cd another band to look out for.

Winger added 4 dates to play in the UK after their Download appearance and the larger O2 venue was pretty full and ready for their first visit here in 4 years.

With the splendid new cd " Better Days Comin' " out a couple of months ago and a back catalogue that many bands would die for, over the course of 90 minutes we were treated to as many band favourites as they could fit in.

Here is what they played

Midnight Driver Of A Love Machine
Easy Come Easy Go
Pull Me Under
Down Incognito
John Roth guitar solo
Deal With The Devil
Stone Cold Killer
Rat Race
Drum solo
Miles Away (Kip on keys John on bass Reb on strat )
Headed For A Heartbreak (Kip on keys John on bass)
Can't Get Enuff
You Are The Saint guitar solos
Reb Beach guitar solo
Ain't Talkin' About Love (Van Halen cover) (Nigel from the crowd on bass)

This gig showed again that Kip and his band have had the last laugh on all the early 1990's doubters and maybe now Kip will be remembered for being one of the US's finest songwriters.

Flanked by 2 of the best 6 string players on the planet Kip was in great voice ( although he did complain about too much dry ice affecting his voice ) and also what a phenomenal bass player and frontman he is.

To his left Reb Beach continues to amaze with some of the most melodic soloing and finger tapping ever and it is no wonder that David Coverdale of Whitesnake has had him in his team for more than a decade too. To his right John Roth ( also of Starship ) has plenty of opportunities to shine with a slightly more bluesier approach but he can shred with the best of them.

At the back Rod Morgenstein on drums is in fine form and during the midset epic " Headed For A Heartbreak " his improvisation as Reb plays a jaw dropping solo is quite mind blowing. 

Kip told us a story before the track that Richie Sambora had phoned Reb back when the song was on the radio to say how cool it was that Reb had the longest solo on the radio!!

Kip's between song banter with the crowd was great. As a young lady called out he asked for her name to which she answered " Beth ". Quick as a flash he started to sing the Kiss classic of the same name with the crowd joining in too.

He also mentioned a conversation with Gene Simmons where Gene said that Kip needed to change his name. What Winger he replied. No Kip said Gene, how about changing it to Mick, but he laughed as he said it would have sounded like he should have been on a Mcdonalds menu!!

The 2 new songs played the opener " Midnight Driver " and " Rat Race " both fitted in well to the classic sound with the latter's Judas Priest " Rapid Fire " riff had heads banging.

Reunion cd " Karma " was well represented with 3 songs " Deal With The Devil " , "Stone Cold Killer " and " Pull Me Under " all showcasing Kip's vocal , melody and riffs a plenty.

But it was the old stuff we wanted to hear and they didn't let us down. MTV early 90's staples all of them. " Easy Come Easy Go " was as huge as it was then all riff, chorus and melody too.
" Hungry " with its slightly slower riff was bellowed back by us all before " Down Icognito " was all huge bass riff and jabbing riff and spoken chorus that we again all joined in with before the song ended with an excellent extended guitar solo from John Roth.

Mid set Kip moved onto keys and John onto bass and Reb with some guitar issues borrowed John's strat. Kip said we should all take photos and post it so Reb's super fan's would be stunned at him using one. " Miles Away " which followed was quite simply stunning with the crowd singing along to every word and Kip showing his vocal class and Reb playing a wonderful solo on a Strat!!

" Can't Get Enuff " is a stadium rocker supreme before debut cd opener " Madalaine " again with big riffs and chorus and reminded us that back in the day Winger played with the big boys.

John and Reb then entertained us with the some solo trading from " I Am The Saint " before Reb took centre stage with an extended solo showcasing all of his star quality and technique.

" Seventeen " ended the set before the Kip invited any bass players in the crowd to join them.
Nigel from Bristol was the lucky man as the band romped through Van Halen's " Ain't Talking About Love " with I have to say Nigel playing a blinder. Kip was now the frontman and he joined the crowd inviting anyone lucky enough to holler the the chorus back at him.

A superb end to a show from a band on top of its game 25 years since their inception.

They promise to return in fact Kip will with a solo show at The Borderline in London in September that we are lucky enough to have tickets to.

Can't Get Enuff !!

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