Another one of those gigs I ended up at despite having not heard of either band until days before this show took place! I saw the show advertised on Facebook, and went along based on the old ‘youtube test’ done on The King Lot. A Scottish trio comprising vocalist/bassist Jason Sweeney, guitarist Jay Moir and drummer CK Gillon, they described themselves as ‘melodic, hard rock’. That’s pretty accurate though to an old-school Metalhead like me they’re heavier than that tag suggests. This date, held in the back room of a pizza restaurant which can hold around 100 people, was a co-headliner with Thirteen Stars, a Cumbrian quartet who really were unknown quantities to me. So much so that when I got to Maguire’s and asked a young chap near the entrance to the back room when the bands were on, I had no idea that I was actually asking the drummer of Thirteen Stars (!) He told me that I was a little early and they’d be ready to open soon, so I headed for a swift pint in a nearby real ale pub (as you do!)
One pint later and I headed back to find the first band having just taken to the stage. Sister Rose, a quintet from Ramsbottom, played old-school hard rock not a million miles away from The Dead Daisies in sound, even if it was a million miles away in budget and scale (!) The band were squeezed for room on the small Maguire’s stage, their vocalist (Chris Berry) would step onto the floor regularly. A decent band with a fine rhythm section (drummer ‘Wanger’ and bassist ‘Woz’, as cribbed from their Facebook page!) and a particularly good guitarist in ‘Clanger’, these guys all looked around my age unlike the other member, a second guitarist introduced as ‘Alex’. Turned out he was Clanger’s son and has only just joined up with the band! They were good live, but their trad-rock was a bit too familiar to quite push my buttons.
Next up were The King Lot themselves, the band I’d actually come to see. As a trio, they looked a bit more comfortable up there. Led off by a Geddy-esque bass intro from Jason Sweeney, they showed plenty of class in their 45 minutes or so on stage. Being unfamiliar with the material (your correspondent hollered when the frontman asked ‘who here hasn’t got our new album?’) ‘At least you’re honest, sir!’ was the follow-up! Of course I hadn’t even HEARD of this band until three days before, but he wasn’t to know that! A power trio with plenty of emphasis on power, and an excellent guitarist in Jay Moir. Their current album is ‘A World Without Evil’, which I shall have to get hold of before their appearance this July at SOS Festival, where I intend to catch this band again.
Closing out the evening were Thirteen Stars, who appeared to be keeping Gibson in business all by themselves (for those unaware, the company behind the iconic brand is in serious trouble at the moment) with both guitarists and even the bassist sporting Les Pauls! Frontman, vocalist/lead guitarist Hoss Thompson changed frequently between at least two Les Pauls and a white Gretsch. When they struck up, they did so with a vengeance! Although British (straight outta Cumbria) they are heavily influenced by Southern Rock, even the grizzled look of the frontman and fellow guitarist Jax Sedgwick appeared to be straight out of the Skynyrd style guide. Clean-cut and short-haired bassist Ryan Bell did buck the trend, though! Their take on Southern Rock is loud, hard and heavy, though a recurring theme I noticed with their songs was that many of them ended suddenly! The sound was a bit too loud for this tiny room I thought however, making it a bit tricky to make out the vocals. Again, some fine playing, and a dry sense of humour demonstrated by Hoss between songs, though should I see these again I hope for a bit more restraint on the volume, that was one of those gigs I knew would give me buzzing ears for a bit (and it has!).
It’s always a bit tricky to report on a gig when you have little to no prior knowledge of any of the bands, but despite the volume (in particular from the last band) this was a good night. The gig drew only a small crowd, several of whom appeared to be there for The King Lot, but all involved are to be commended for bringing their tour to Liverpool, especially since Hoss told us that this was only their second visit to the city, the first being ‘an unmitigated disaster’ as he put it! (Long story short, they were kept waiting for hours before being told they had only 15 minutes, which they defied!) This time around they got to play a full set at least, and I will look out for any of these bands when they come around again.