Blackwolf Oxford Bullingdon Arms 13-19-14
With The Brew pulling out of their opening slot at short notice it was good to see a replacement act getting ready as we arrived.
The Reaper were a very young 4 piece that played a mix of Metallica , Iron Maiden and Judas Priest with a slower Pantera feel all thrown in a mixer with a Geddy Lee style vocal.
The rhythm team of Callum Woodward on drums and Joe Landles on bass impressed with some excellent drum rhythm's and patterns and plenty of time changes but the 2 guys out front led the way. Joey Kenny on vocals and guitar and his younger counterpart Harry Winks on guitar were very very good. With one ballad in the set and great use of light and shade they are impressive beyond their years.
On second last song " Liquid Gold " their is a moment that defied belief that such a young band could be this good. The guys traded solos that if you closed your eyes could have been any of the great twin guitar pairings that this country have produced.
After the band finished a quick chat with the band found out that they are aged 13 to 16 and had their own cd " You Will Fall " that was available for £5 and after a listen is very good. They said that they had done a video for " Liquid Gold " and that it was also on itunes and the cd was recorded 18 months ago.
Find the band at www.TheReaperRocks.co.uk or facebook.com/thereaperrocks
One to watch out for and here is the video too.
Next up were Fire Red Empress and vocalist Nik Taylor- Stoakes joked that they hoped on a 3 band bill that first band would be shite and tonight they certainly were not and god he felt old.
They riffed hard and the Nik has a good voice and attitude but after a while all the songs blended into each other and they could do with something just a little different.
Blackwolf star continues to soar with this Planet Rock sponsored first headlining tour and their recent nomination as Best New Band in Classic Rock Magazine.
After a chat with vocalist Scoot Sharp after their recent support slot with Winger in Bristol he has said they would be playing Oxford on this tour and so thanks for keeping the promise.
With support slots in Oxford over the last year with The Temperance Movement and The Answer they had done some legwork so it was a little disappointing to not find the venue packed. But the fans that turned up along with a superb performance from the band made the hour long set fly past.
Here is what they played.
Black Hole Friend
Kiss The Fire
House Of Emerald Wine
Faith In Me
Sea Of Mercy
Encore of Mr Maker
I have raved about Blackwolf for over a year now and it is a joy to see that as they continue to tour they are becoming a great live act.
Led by the primal howl of vocalist Scott Sharp the band were soon into their stride with the opening trio "Moving Mountains , Movin' On and Black Hole Friend ." All possessing huge riffs and great choruses and some wonderful musicianship.
At the back Thomas Lennox-Brown on drums and Ben Webb on bass lay down the base for the rest to flourish. John Greenhill on lead guitar riffs and solos with the best of them and always with a melodic flourish. Last but no means least is Jason Cronin on rhythm guitar. He loves every minute on stage with his Angus Young mannerisms and always huge grin and during setcloser the quite superb " Sea Of Mercy " I thought he was about to explode as he riffed away. The last minute or so of the song with Greenhill soloing over Sharp's vocal and the band building the song to a crescendo was a highlight.
The new single " Kiss The Fire " from the cover mounted cd from Classic Rock is slab of Blackwolf music .That means classic blues rock with huge vocals and riffs brought into 2014 and it didn't disappoint. Also good to hear another new song " Steady Slow " that just makes you want to hear their next cd as soon as possible.
It was also good to hear a couple of extra tracks from the critically acclaimed " The Hunt "cd to the usual support slot. " House Of Emerald Wine " and " Faith In Me " both grew in the live setting and showed again the development of the music and the band over the last year.
The crowd demanded an encore and we got one in the shape of single " Mr Maker " with Greenhill again shining with his wah wah induced solo.
Blackwolf are one of the shiny new lights on the British rock scene and I for one will be glad to say when they are headlining arena's I was their at the start.