Tag Archives: Borderline

Rock Goddess at The Borderline, London 23/6/17

This review was originally published by Get Ready To Rock here

The time is definitely right for a NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) revival and it is great to see a good number of bands from that late 70s/early 80s era recording and touring once again, even ones that have not been active for a good number of years. The original line-up of Rock Goddess (Jody Turner guitar/vocals, Julie Turner – drums and Tracey Lamb – bass) reformed in 2013 but, over thirty years after they recorded their last album they have just released a great new EP. The lead track ‘It’s More Than Rock and Roll’ is a perfect slice of NWOBHM at its finest: the heavy riffing influenced by the original generation of hard rock albums, combined with the accessible sing-along choruses of the glam rock singles era and the down-to-earth streetwise attitude of punk – all the essential ingredients of the NWOBHM movement that gave hard rock the shot in the arm it needed.

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And three decades on the three women still put on a great live show with bags of energy and some irresistible rock ‘n’ roll tunes. Gigs at London’s newly spruced-up Borderline off Charing Cross Road tend to start and finish pretty early as the place transforms itself into a nightclub once live bands have left the stage. With no support act the place was looking a bit empty when I first walked in thirty minutes before the band were due on stage. Tinged with a certain amount of nostalgia and also fired up from hearing the new EP I really wanted the band to have a good crowd for this gig but I needn’t have worried. The place rapidly filled up and was positively pulsating by the time the band came on. Old crowd favourites like ‘Satisfied Then Crucified’, ‘Heavy Metal Rock ‘n’ Roll’ combined with songs from the new EP, the aforementioned ‘It’s More Than Rock and Roll’, along with two other great tracks: ‘Back Off’ and ‘We’re All Metal’. The latter turned into a brilliantly raucous audience sing-along with Jody Turner stepping out into the crowd to get everyone bellowing along with her.

In what was a very male-dominated world, Rock Goddess were a band that showed real promise when they started out and sadly, they disappeared far, far too soon. Three decades on it is great to see them back – even if all-women metal bands appear to be almost as rare today as when Rock Goddess cut their first single.

Set-list:
1. Satisfied Then Crucified
2. Two Wrongs
3. Back Off
4. Take Your Love Away
5. Bite
6. To Be Betrayed
7. You’ve Got Fire
8. Back To You
9. This Time
10. Heartache
11. It’s More Than Rock and Roll
12. Flying
13. The Love Lingers Still
14. Make My Night
15. Drive
16. This Is The Day
17 God Be With You
18. Heavy Metal Rock ‘n’ Roll
19. We’re All Metal
– Encore –
20. My Angel
21. Love Is A Bitch

https://www.facebook.com/Rockgoddessrocks/

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Orphan Colours at The Borderline 4/3/16

Ahab were a brilliant London-based alt-country band who formed in 2009, shone brightly for a few years then promptly went their separate ways. Now two of their number, Steven Llewellyn and Dave Burn, are back with a new band, Orphan Colours, a new tour and a brand new EP, High Hopes. That sunny, infectious slice of Americana that Ahab were able to pull off so beautifully is all present and correct here once more. They are joined by Danny & The Champions of The World drummer, Steve Brookes, and Noah & The Whale guitarist, Fred Abbott, along with bass player Graham Knight. And as the little tongue-in-cheek blurb on their Soundcloud page spells out they are happy to be known as “your friendly neighbourhood Americana supergroup.”

Great tunes, sweet countrified lead vocals from Llewellyn, delicious harmonies, beautifully-played acoustic guitars and nice laid-back electric lead, this lot know how to capture the Americana vibe perfectly. One of the stand-out tunes is High Hopes, the title track of the new EP. From the unmistakeable drum intro for the first few seconds I think they’re about to do a cover of the Stone Roses’ I Am The Resurrection but it soon evolves into a catchy uplifting piece of poppy, folky, country rock, the sort of thing crowds always love singing along to under a beating summer sun in the festival season. Won’t Let You Down is another great song from the new EP, demonstrating Llewellyn’s gift as a songwriter for catchy, memorable yet somehow instantly familiar tunes.

Llewellyn shows no inclination to turn his back on his Ahab days and why would he? Indeed he celebrates the fact that some of his former band-mates are in the audience tonight to wish him well. And we get a couple of favourites from the Ahab days in the set-list tonight, too, like Lucy from the Wits End album, and Uptight from the Beautiful Hell album. Another unexpected highlight of the set was a stunning cover of Guns N Roses’ Paradise City, given a makeover as a beautifully laid-back alt-country ditty.

High Hopes is the name of Orphan Colours debut EP and this is a band I genuinely have high hopes for. Hopefully it won’t be too long before Llewellyn and co are wowing big audiences on the festival circuit.

http://orphancolours.com/

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Bernie Tormé at The Borderline 31/10/15

It’s 1981 and the band Gillan, fronted by former Deep Purple vocalist Ian Gillan, created a ripple of excitement amongst the teenage rock fans at my school when they burst into the charts with a cover of New Orleans. One of the things that seemed to make this far more than just a heavied-up version of an old rock ‘n’ roll number was the guitarist, Bernie Tormé. He looked like a punk, acted like a hippy, sounded like Hendrix and seemed different from anyone around in rock and metal at the time.

Tormé was soon gone from Gillan and, after a very brief sojourn with Ozzy Osbourne, he formed his own band and started hitting the smaller venues circuit. That’s where I first caught him live. And in similar types of venues now, he’s still out there gigging as well as recording. Hot on the success of his crowd-funded Flowers & Dirt double album last year, he’s used the crowd-funding formula once again and has a brand new album to promote, Blackheart.

First, though, he opens with a storming version of Wild West, the standout track from one of his early solo albums, Electric Gypsies. He has a really strong band in Chris Heilmann (bass) and Ian Harris (drums percussion) and the power trio format suits Torme’s style of music perfectly. Well, of course, why wouldn’t it? The fuzzy feedback-laden guitar is combined with well-written, accessible tunes and vocals that give an honesty and meaning to the lyrics. From the same era, the excellent Turn Out The Lights also gets an outing. It’s not just about nostalgia, though, and songs from both last year’s Flowers and Dirt album and this year’s Blackheart both feature prominently. It’s not all blistering hard rock, either. As on the recent albums there’s some lighter, bluesier, folkier moments, including Flow from the new album and the excellent Spirit Road from Flowers and Dirt..

Soon, however, we are nearing the end with an explosive set of Gillan songs, including the one that got me hooked on Tormé’s guitar-playing in the first place, New Orleans. At the very end of the set, friend of the band and the man who first helped Torme get the crowd-funding venture off the ground, Peter Cook, joined the band for an encore after pledging to “buy” a guitar solo as part of the crowd-funding appeal. In a big arena gig with big corporate sponsors this could sound like the tackiest thing in the world. In a small intimate venue of this size, however, it’s genuinely fun and there is no doubting Cook’s evident passion both for Tormé’s music itself and for helping him secure a viable recording career in this challenging era for the music industry. Indeed, compared to the old record company model, the crowd-funding approach has allowed Tormé to connect very directly with fans and even re-connect to those, like me, who had fallen by the wayside and previously lost touch with Tormé’s career.

A mention, also, for the Bordeline. While numerous other live venues in the West End have closed their doors, this 300-capacity venue has held its open now for over 20 years, always with a stirling line-up of acts throughout the year and the perfect setting for Bernie Tormé tonight.

Setlist:
Wild West
Bullet in the Brain
Blood Run Cold
Turn Out the Lights
Pain Song
Flow
Star
Dirt
Spirit Road
Stoneship
Rocky Road
Can’t Beat
Trouble
New Orleans
No Easy Way
Party’s Over

http://www.bernietorme.co.uk/

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Previous review: Bernie Tormé at The Borderline 2014

Bernie Tormé at The Borderline 29/10/14

For those looking for fuzzed-up  glam-punk, squealing Hendrix-style feedback and guitar wizardry then Bernie Tormé is clearly the one to look to. In fact, if this is what you are looking for then Bernie Tormé is probably the only one to look to.

Part punk, part hippy, Dublin-born Tormé, first came to prominence in the late 70s/early 80s as the guitarist with Gillan. His distinctive riffing was as much an intrinsic part of that band’s sound as Ian Gillan’s instantly recognizable vocals. There has been something of a slight interlude since I last caught up with Tormé, however. In fact, the last time I saw him was not long after he left Gillan and was busy promoting his then new solo album, Electric Gypsies.

Skip forward thirty years and Tormé is in London’s Borderline promoting another brand new solo album, Flowers and Dirt, with a classic trio line-up of guitar/vocals, bass and drums. The first song they play though is an old one. Hearing them kick off with Wild West, a great energetic song from the aforementioned Electric Gypsies album, was a delight. That’s not to say there was not plenty of room for new material tonight, however. Several songs from Flowers and Dirt make an appearance and although he has never stopped playing and recording, the album may deliver something of a career renaissance for the guitarist and songwriter. It is Tormé’s first solo album in fifteen years and following an enormously successful crowdfunding appeal this summer, it’s been attracting very favourable reviews. Partytown is one of the new songs from the album that’s performed tonight. Raw and raucous with frantic riffing and the type of chorus you can immediately sing along to, it’s classic unadulterated Tormé

Nicely balanced between old and new material, the crowd were given a great set tonight covering various stages of Torme’s career. For me, Lightning Strikes and Turn Out the Lights were both very welcome inclusions from the earlier days. The main set ended with those two early rock n roll classics that were both given a new lease of life by Tormé’s former band Gillan, back in the early 80s: Trouble and New Orleans. As the band are called back on stage for an encore and perform two more covers, Bony Moronie and Jimi Hendrix’s Fire, I did begin wondering why I’d left it quite so long before catching up with this unique performer once more. But it was certainly worth the thirty-year wait.

Setlist:
Wild West
Bullet in The Brain
Blood Run Cold
Turn Out the Lights
Getting There
Partytown
Your Voodoo
Star
Lockjaw
Lightning Strikes
Stoneship
Rocky Road (From Dublin)
Can’t Beat Rock ‘N’ Roll
Trouble
New Orleans
Encore:
Bony Moronie
Fire

http://www.bernietorme.co.uk/

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