Bannermans is my second home these days and we’re here to catch up with the legend that is Graham Bonnet – but first up we have a couple of support bands to enjoy.
First up, from Wales, we have V0iD who Classic Rock Magazine compared to 1983 Def Leppard. The boys kick us off with “Plastic Saviour” from their Zer0 album, a true classic rock track and a great start to the set. “Say My Name” up next from last year’s excellent Keep Fighting, keeping that rocking going strong.
We stay with Keep Fighting in the form of “Forever’s Yesterday” and it’s easy to see why the boys are getting a lot of great press… a great band for the likes of the Wildfire Festival, perhaps? We go back to the first album, 2009’s Ballads for Beauties and Beasts, for “Something/Nothing”. A great track but you can see how far the boys have come in that time and I can only see them getting better and bigger.
They head into King Lot territory with the excellent “Let Me In” and a real stonker of a track it is, foot tapping, head going as I write this up, possibly my favourite tonight. These boys can play and the vocals are just spot on, from lead to harmonies. The harder “Not the One” next, foot going now, another album on heavy rotation now in the office.
The group close a most impressive if short set with the title track from Zer0 and nice laid back rock track it is. These boys can play and it was nice to see a decent crowd to watch them. I for one will definitely catch them again and will watch out for next music release. I would urge you to get in early and see them, buy their CD’s and merch while they are still in small venues.
Next up, a band I have not seen since 1988 when they supported Alice Cooper on his UK tour – Chrome Molly, an act who have been on the go in one form or other since 1984. They have all aged, it’s fair to say, but they are still enjoying themselves up on that stage as we blast through “Pillars of Creation” before the Def Leppard/Bon Jovi styled “Shooting Me Down has the crowd bouncing along. Classic rock good-style with the singalong song title.
Molly tear through “Some Kind of Voodoo” before the classic “Take It or Leave it”, again another hook-laden track. The band are in fine form with big grins from Steve who is fighting a wee infection but soldiers on. As the bass lines from Nic rumble on heralding a “Short Sharp Shock” from 2013’s Gunpowder Diplomacy the band show fine form in their newer material, with John showing a few of the younger audience how to play a flying ‘V’ properly.
The band regale us with “Now That Those Days Have Gone” but I reckon this bunch have a few more days yet before they are gone, as they go all “Supercharged” with both John and Andy trading licks with Gregg on drums ably bringing up the rear. A less heavy track in “Save Me” before it’s “Thanks for the Angst”, a classic 80’s style rock track with scorching guitar tracks and vocals.
Chrome Molly end a fantastic singalong short set with the full-on “Corporation Fear” from Gunpowder Diplomacy. I love seeing all the bands from my younger days still getting out there, obviously still enjoying it and it shows. If you like your 80’s classic rock then get along and catch the boys on this tour – you will not be disappointed.
The main man now, the legend that is Graham Bonnet.
I tell you, I hope I am as fit as him when I get to his age. The fact that he is still making records and touring says it all, as the crowd roars to the familiar tones of “Eyes of the World” from Down to Earth. It’s hard to believe it was 1979 when this came out and the track still gives me goosebumps – no less so tonight with Conrad simply stunning on guitar.
In heaven now as he kicks it up a notch with “All Night Long”, again Conrad steps up the pace as Graham gives us the vocals that made the Down to Earth album such an epic piece of music. The man may not hit so many high notes these days but by god the voice is still there. We get another old one this time in the form of “S.O.S” before we head into a fantastic double bill off Alcatrazz as the band launch into “God Blessed Video” and “Will You Be Home Tonight”.
The classic “Night Games” up next before we head “Into the Night” from new opus The Book. This is a classic Bonnet track which bodes well for the album. A touch of MSG now in the form of “Dancer”, a track which very much still suites his singing voice. We go back to Alcatrazz and go “Jet to Jet” – the old stuff stands up very well these days. More people should revisit the Alcatrazz days.
“Desert Song” is next before we get another off the new album, a classic ballad entitled “Rider”. A killer triple bill to end a great night follows: “Since You’ve Been Gone”, “Assault Attack” and the show-ending classic “Lost in Hollywood”.
The back catalogue he has to choose from must make set lists a nightmare but this was a stunning collection and a tribute to how well his songs stand up. A true rock legend and the crowd loved every minute. The man genuinely loves being on stage with a stunning band behind him. Go see him on tour as he may not tour much longer… and get the new album. From what we heard tonight, it’s keeping the high standards going.
All photos by Gary Cooper of Coops Gig Photography.