Nights like this are always a guaranteed good night. Two mighty support acts backing a band comprised of legends. I’ll hold my hand up now and admit it, yes, I bought my ticket on the basis of seeing Bad Touch for the umpteenth time. However, the addition of local lads, Mason Hill and the Snakecharmer album being decent enough ensured it was going to be a good night.
Being the O2 ABC 2 and right at the barrier, it meant I was about a foot from the action. Mason Hill took to the stage not long after doors opened to a steadily growing crowd. Firing through a handful of songs with panache and passion, it was no-frills rock and roll. It’s been a while since I last saw Mason Hill (opening for The Burning Crows and Falling Red). In that time, they’ve tightened up their already great live performance to deliver hard rock as it should be.
With lead singer Scott Taylor showing a great deal of humility, he managed to hold the crowd’s attention. James Bird’s guitar work was perhaps the highlight of their show, channelling Slash’s style of playing, complete with the Les Paul. Craig McFetridge, the powerhouse on drums alongside Matthew Ward made for a solid rhythm section. After a short set, the clearly humble band left the set for it to be turned over to what turned out to be the highlight of the night.
Firing straight into proceedings with “Waste My Time” from their excellent debut album, Half Way Home, Bad Touch are back in Glasgow. Clearly having a loyal fanbase, many of the songs are met with cheers, people around me singing the choruses with frontman Stevie Westwood. As they hammered through their set, we were treated to songs like “Sweet Little Secret”, “Motherload” and the ever-infectious “Good on Me”, complete with tongue in cheek introduction. One of the highlights was “Preacher”, as bluesy and sludgy as Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks”, including harmonica.
It’s hard to know where to look when the band are playing with the dual guitars of Rob Glendinning and Seeks, the latter looking like the double of Paul Kossoff. Alongside them is Michael Bailey hammering his five-string bass with ease and his rhythmic brother-in-arms, George Drewry, pummelling his drum kit into submission. Individually, they’re great musicians but together, they combine to make something very special. Closing the set with “Down”, Bad Touch delivered their finest performance I’ve seen to date and already I’m itching to see them again.
Another swift changeover and an all-star line-up hit the stage. With two members of Whitesnake (Micky Moody & Neil Murray), Wishbone Ash (Laurie Wisefield), Thunder (Harry James), Ozzy Osbourne (Adam Wakeman) and Heartland (Chris Ousey), they received rapturous applause before the music had even started. And then it did. Don’t get me wrong, their self-titled debut album is decent enough for what it is but this wasn’t.
It’s not the worst band I’ve ever seen in my life. I’m someone who actually paid money to see Muse (I was young and irresponsible – I’m just a bit older now). That said, the majority of the crowd enjoyed it but it wasn’t for me or anyone else I knew at the gig. Individually, all six men are great at what they do but when they come together, it doesn’t sound as good as it should. Nor does it sound as good as the album. Playing much of the Snakecharmer album, with songs like “Guilty As Charged”, “Accident Prone” and “My Angel”. Alongside that, we were given a few Whitesnake tracks which received the loudest cheers of the night like “Ready An’ Willing” and “Slow An’ Easy”.
Snakecharmer weren’t terrible by any stretch. They were a band who are comfortable performing with each other and are masters of their craft. Following two excellent support bands likely didn’t help. Nor the fact that you couldn’t hear Ousey’s vocals. However, the vast majority of a mostly-filled venue enjoyed it. And that’s what matters.