FM Shepherds Bush Empire London 01-05-15

After a quick chat with Pete Jupp outside the venue and asking him if it was the meet and greet that sadly London didn't get first up were Dublin's No Hot Ashes who reformed last year after 25 years.If I am honest I knew nothing about them now or 25 years ago.Well that was my loss.

Led by vocalist Eamon Nancarrow who was in excellent voice they played a 25 minute set of hard rock with great choruses that drew an enthusiastic response from the filling crowd.
With songs as good as I'm Back,Boulders,Glow,Diane and Summer Rain that were all played with the confidence of a band just glad to be back playing together.
With an album due out later in the year and a spot on the bill with FM at the Ramblin' Man Fair in July let's look forward to hearing a lot more from them.

Romeo's Daughter are old touring partners with FM in fact saw them together at Oxford Apollo way back in 1989 and also 2010 and 2012!!

With the excellent new album Spin now out and a week of dates behind them they fired on all cylinders from the word go led by the pure velvet vocals of Leigh Matty.

Backed by Ed Poole on bass,Andy Wells on keys,Craig Joiner on guitar and a touring keyboardist the band took us on an 8 song set that showed the quality of their music from their now 4 album career.

We had Trippin' Out,Bittersweet,and Alive from their comeback cd Rapture,Attracted To The Animal from Delectable,classics Wild Child and Cry Myself To Sleep from the debut and from Spin Radio and Touch.

The 2 new songs both fitted in perfectly.Touch with it's jabbing riff and as it builds before the chorus the big riff that leads into a huge chorus and Radio with it's lyrics of asking for guitars and asking for a song to sing outloud and holding out your hands.Perfect for the live setting.

Leaving to huge applause let's hope we see them out on the road as the headliners they should be soon.

FM in support of maybe their best ever album the recently released Heroes And Villians were simply magnificent.

For 90 minutes we listened to a 17 song set that showed yet again we are talking about one of the UK's finest exponents of classic rock.With the set from throughout their 31 year career it was split 10 to 7 with the latter since the reformation and since they were joined by Jim Kirkpatrick on guitar who has managed to make them even better than before.

Here is what they played.

From our positions in the front row with a crystal clear sound and excellent lighting this was a treat.

Opening song from the new album Digging Up The Dirt had us on our feet from the word go.As it does on the album it starts on Pete Jupp's drum rhythm and Jim's stabbing riff before Jim big riff moves it up a notch before Merv Goldsworthy's bass and Jem Davis's keys all kick in and a molten rock crescendo develops.
We haven't even got to the vocals yet!!Steve Overland in my opinion the greatest vocalist that this fair isle has ever produced was as always at his imperious best.
Without his trademark lime green strat he leads us through a song that I am sure will be played for many years due to it's quality build.Riff,rhythm and vocals to the max.

The set went back and forth new to old which must be a nightmare choosing a setlist with so many songs to choose from.

I Belong To The Night with the crowd belting out the first 2 lines was sublime before a very heavy riffed Wildside took it a up a rocking notch.

Going down a little for Closer To Heaven had Steve in fine voice showing his melodic range and tone and you can only revel in his majesty.

Let Love Be The Leader had an early solo from Jim before the after chorus woah woah's were sang by all.Great song.

Great moment for our son Matthew as Merv came over and said enjoying yourself are you having a good time.Thanks Merv.

New song Shape I'm In which is rightly getting plenty of airplay on Radio 2 was a welcome addition.Led by Pete's driving drum rhythm and Jim's stop start guitar riff and more woah woah's all building to a big chorus with some great backing vocals by all.

Tough Love from the Rockville cd set could be Shape I'm In's cousin with it's similar set up had more crowd hollering.

A welcome return saw Blood And Gasoline back in the set with another stellar vocal from Steve and some from us in the crowd too with us singing the start of the chorus.Superb solo from Jim too.

After debut single Frozen Heart we had another newie in the form of Life Is A Highway which could have come from one of the bands early album's.It is a perfect AOR song with a jabbing riff and multi layered chorus.

Crosstown Train is rightly kept in the set showcasing the band's heavier style with Jim having a ball on more than solo.

Classics all the way to the end with 3 from Tough It Out with only That Girl in between.Crowd and band in perfect unison and I don't think in my now 20 times of seeing the band have I seen them on such fine form.

After a quick goodbye Steve returned for a lone run through with backing from Jem for Story Of My Life.If the hairs on the back of your neck don't stand to attention for the vocal check your pulse.Simply the best and actually getting better with age!!

A quick romp through Other Side Of Midnight with Jem joining the rest of the band at the front of the stage on keytar and they were gone.

The band now hit festival stages across Europe with a return to the UK at the end of July at the Ramblin' Man Fair and Steelhouse Festival.

 One of the best 3 band bills I have had the pleasure to see in many a long year all producing the melodic rock goods.

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