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ROMEO'S DAUGHTER/Four Wheel Drive
Bush Hall, London
28 September 2012
triumphant reunion performance at Firefest in 2009, Romeo's Daughter
were slow to capitalise on the revival of interest in them, but 2012 has
seen them increase their profile, with a universally well received
comeback album 'Rapture', and now their first headline London show since
reforming, which attracted a better than expected three quarters full
crowd at Bush Hall.
In an odd
pairing they were supported by youngsters Four Wheel Drive from
my home town of Twickenham, whose high octane, rough and ready rock n
roll could not have been more removed from the headliner's tasteful,
was so loud I thought the chandeliers in this most opulent of venues
were going to smash, but they are developing nicely, heavier than I
previously remembered especially on songs like 'Ride it Like You Stole
It', and comparisons others made to the likes of Airbourne and Jett
Black were not misplaced.
Paddy Achtelik and Ben Austwick are a mass of flailing hair and down and
dirty riffs while Will Richards pounded the hell out of his borrowed
singer and bassist Jamie Lailey's voice has developed a harsher edge and
on Mr 50-50, even had a touch of the whisky soaked tones of Nazareth's
'Big Fat and
Ugly' had an impressive heavy funk groove with an air of seventies
Aerosmith, while their set list was shaken up with some newer songs
including the frantic 'Hammered Again' which brought a promising, if ear
splitting, set to an end.
melodic rock standards, Romeo's Daughter are a more polished
proposition with the focus as ever on long-legged, elegant and
well-spoken singer Leigh Matty, dressed all in black with a raven haired
speaking this was a set of two halves, with the Rapture numbers
concentrated at the start, opening with 'Trippin Out' and broken only by
'Velvet Tongue' and 'Attracted to the Animal', the latter the sole song
all night from their second album 'Delectable'. While that 1993 effort
attempted to rock harder, with Rapture they seem to have reverted to a
lighter style that they seem more naturally comfortable with.
series of gems from the album, the tuneful 'Bittersweet' stood out with
guitarist Craig Joiner and bassist Ed Poole backing up Leigh with vocal
harmonies, with the more uptempo 'Lightning and Alive' and the laid back
'Cannot Be The One' and 'Talking Love' not far behind. There was no
great secret or originality behind them, other than well written songs,
pleasantly presented yet tightly delivered.
As the set
wore on it was favourites from their 1988 debut that took pride of
place, from crisp pop rockers like 'Inside Out' and 'Don't Break my
Heart', to the insidious, almost seductive sounds of 'Stay With Me
Tonight' and 'Colour You A Smile'.
the best to last with 'Cry Myself To Sleep at Night' featuring a
tasteful solo from Craig whose understated guitar work was exemplary all
night, and 'Heaven in the Backseat', dedicated to Classic Rock's Dave
Ling who had bemoaned its omission from their last set, bearing all the
hallmarks of its co-writer Mutt Lange. Both songs had me wondering how
they failed to dent the singles chart back in the day.
encore, Craig emerged with an acoustic guitar for new song 'Will Be',
before an excellent near 90 minute set ended with the rocking 'Wild
Child', made more famous by Heart, but as Leigh reminded us, originally
written by Romeo's.
This was a
delightful show with the band at the top of their game that exceeded my
expectations, and with such a strong mix of old and new material I hope
they use it as a springboard for more sustained live activity.
photos by Andy Nathan
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