This was my first Northern Radar gig for a while, but would it be fair to say that Head Honcho Simon P put on a good show, after all, he has never let me down yet. You’ll need to read on to find out how he did with this one though. Unfortunately, original headliners, Sick Joy had to pull out owing to illness, and on top of that only two-thirds of Please Remain Calm were able to make it for similar reasons, their drummer and bass player were missing This meant that Please Remain Calm took the stage first for an acoustic set. But this was no subdued, quiet acoustic set, it was a stunning tour de force. Chloe’s voice has become a towering force of nature with hints of both Amy Lee and Bjork. The guitarist was spectacular while maintaining the cool, calmness, and style of Bernard Butler in his Suede prime. “Smoke And Mirrors” has the makings of a classic future anthem, as does “Fall Apart”. Their cover of the Howl and the Hum’s “Hostages” was sublime, emotional, soulful, and made the hair on the back of my neck stand up, truly a beautiful take on a fantastic tune. I am so looking forward to experiencing a fully amped-up electric set from Please Remain Calm soon!
A new band to me, Sweet May was up next. This is another great band with a resurgent 70s rock style. The lead singer/ guitarist made me think of Paul Kossoff, both visually and through his splendiferous guitar licks. His voice was more Paul Rodgers than Paul Kossoff though. There is hard rock, blues, and a sprinkling of funk in Sweet May‘s sweet sounds. The funk element is courtesy of the superlative drum and bass partnership. On some of the more extended wig-outs, I sensed maybe a Uriah Heep vibe going on. Set closer “Insane” was truly insane, but in an astonishingly good way! I definitely want to see this band again.
Finally, it was time for headliners Vaquelin to storm the stage. After a few feedback issues during their opening number the band moved into a solid heavy rock groove playing songs from their stunningly good debut album, ‘Where Dreams Hurt‘. The band were headlining tonight as Sick Joy had to pull out. But one of the many things that I love about Vaquelin is that they seem to play every set like a headliner, personally, I would hate to be in a band that has to follow them! Callum told me later that he couldn’t hear his guitar for the whole show, presumably fall-out from the earlier feedback issues. But frankly, his playing was up to his usual Jimmy Pagesque best. Adrian was on fire in the vocals department and we need new song, “Broken Windows” to be recorded and released as soon as possible, that was a set highlight for me. Once again the bands showed that Led Zeppelin ‘Hammer Of The Gods’ power with a rhythm section forged in the depths of Asgard! I could watch this band again and again and so could their passionate fans who I previously named Vaquelinians. Well, I suppose I am a proud Vaquelinian too! Did I hear a rumour that they have another album in the pipeline? I hope so!
All pictures, except the gig poster, were taken by me using my very cheap Chinese Android phone. The videos were found on YouTube. If the video is yours and you would like a credit or for it to be removed please let me know.
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