FM Southampton The Brook 21-11-14
As we arrived Summers were already onstage to a healthy sized crowd.
They so want to be a cross between Bon Jovi and Def Leppard with big choruses and it is all a bit nice and could do with a bit of dirt under their nails.
Next up saw the return of one of the UK's finest vocalist's Neville McDonald who was frontman for Skin before their demise a couple of years ago.
I am pleased to say that his Welsh howl is still live and kick in' and his new band Hand Of Dimes went down very well.
He is reunited with his old mate Neil Garland who joined him in the band Kooga way back in 1986.
Neville led from the front and was barely able to keep a huge smile of his face at all times although after one song he did breath very heavy and said he wasn't used to this.
With songs of the quality as " Jacob's Ladder " and the single " Pinstripe Arrogance " all led by Neville's vocal and a heavy blues stomp and with a very tight band behind him next years debut cd will be one to look out for.
It is 30 years since FM formed and these few dates were attributed to their 30th anniversary with a setlist that went from day one right to the present day.
An excellent sized crowd with a few faces from the London scene as no date there this time and they were greeted like returning hero's as they deserve to be.
After a few songs the sound settled down and for 95 minutes we were treated to a musical masterclass from one of the UK's top bands and one of melodic rock's premier league catalogues.
Here is what they played:
I Belong To The Night
Let Love Be The Leader
Closer To Heaven
Does It Fell Like love
Tough It Out
Burning My Heart Down
Encores of Story Of My Life
Other Side Of Midnight
The rhythm team of Pete Jupp on drums, Merv Goldsworthy on bass and Jem Davis on keys all contribute with superb backing vocals and lay down the groove that let's Jim Kirkpatrick on guitars and hey let's say it one of the finest vocalists ever to grace a stage to amaze us with that voice.
Jim Kirkpatrick is a superb guitarist and he has given the band a right kick up the bum and over the course of the last 2 albums has taken them back to where they belong. He riffs hard and all his solo's are close to the originals but always add his own style with a melodic flair and tone and melody.
With a 30 year career picking a setlist must be a nightmare and you will always upset someone.
I think they got this about right with enough from the 2 classic early albums with a single " Let Love Be The Leader " thrown in for good measure. Great to have " Does It Feel Like Love " was a welcome addition too.
"Aphrodisiac's " Closer To Heaven " gave Steve a chance to stretch his vocal chords like only he can and he also played some superb guitar solo's and alongside Jim some twin guitar parts too.
Comeback album " Metropolis " had 3 songs with a very heavy " Wildside " starring and a funky " Over You " having maximum crowd participation .
Recent cd " Rockville " had opener " Tough Love " and the quite magnificent epic " Crosstown Train " with plenty of guitar histrionics from Jim.
First encore was the reworked " Story Of My Life " with Jem on keys and a lone vocal from Steve that had the hairs on the back of my neck standing to attention. Quite quite magnificent and if they can get radio airplay with "Crosstown Train " maybe re-record Story in this way and the boys can be the superstars we all know we are.
Last encore was their cover of Rod Stewart's " Hot Legs " like it was back in the Marquee show days. Again it gave Steve to blow us all away and in the crowd participation part we really were not worth !!
We were lucky enough to have won a meet and greet with the band for the second time and we were taken upstairs to meet the guys.
Spoke to Pete the distance we had travelled and then about black cd covers and yes the new one is too . New cd out in April with an O2 size tour in May . Dates out shortly.
Spoke to Jim about the Diesel cd and how he is very proud of it and would love to do more . He finished with Bernie Marsden in Bury St Edmunds on Thursday night then drove home to Cheshire and then down to Southampton . I thanked home for giving the band a kick up the bum and he said as a neighbour of Steve in Cheshire it is amazing how all these opportunities have now come .
Next was Merv who again spoke about the sound as he always seems to . He asked how long had we been fans so I said since day one. I mentioned him falling through the stage at Hammy A in 85 supporting REO Speedwagon . He said night one there was three struts night two only one. He said if he hears REO he gets a pain in his leg .
Then the new album is 80% finished and there is a bit of different stuff on there. He said at this stage of their career they don't want to do rewrites . He said there is a very heavy song on there and one also with strings. I said Wildside tonight was very heavy and I love Crosstown Train he said thanks that was one of his and they got radio play with that too. He said this tour was for the fans who have been there for the start and I said considering Rockville 1 and 2 got great critic and fan praise they have only played 4 songs from either. He agreed and said that was true and would mention it to the band.
Lastly Steve and Jem and got him to sign my first Overland cd cover and told him that he had signed his new cd cover Epic at Hammersmith and he said they may still tour and he said the record company mentioned it recently and he still might.A couple of photos and the manager was telling us to move on and so I said just a quick one with the wife and that brought the house down. I meant photo!
As I said to Shazz on the way home it shows my devotion to Steve that I will offer him my wife!!
This was the 18th time I have seen the band and they get better and better.
They are also some of the most down to earth people you could ever wish to meet and really care about their fans .
Perfect night .
New dates and album date now released see you at Shepherds Bush.