Gig Review: Q5 – Bannermans, Edinburgh (29th August 2018)

Tonight I get to see a band I have been into since 1984 for the first time, the one and only Q5 from Seattle. The band started in 1983 and had in its initial line-up was the one and only Floyd D. Rose, inventor of the locking tremolo system on guitar. Their first studio album, 1984’s Steel the Light,  picked up a lot of critical praise at the time. It still does and they toured with the likes of Lita Ford and Twisted Sister. The original band sadly split up in 1989 but not before putting out their second album When the Mirror Cracks in 1985.

Q5 (c) Gary Cooper
Q5 (c) Gary Cooper

In 2014, Q5 re-formed to perform at the Sweden Rock Festival, and the members involved found that the one-off event was not enough to satisfy demand for the band and thankfully decided to continue on with the revamped version of the group. They even released a new album called New World Order in 2016 with hopefully a further new album this year.

The band hit the stage tonight with original vocalist Jonathan K (aka Scott P. Palmerton) and bass player Evan Sheeley, backed up more than ably with Dennis Turner and James Nelson on guitar plus Jeffrey McCormack on drums. The band start us off with “Let Go” from When the Mirror Cracks and it’s clear the boys mean business. I have to say the song sounds much better than the album version with a harder edge to it. The years have not affected Jonathan’s vocals and the band are on fire, in particular, guitarist James was a joy to watch and hear with a big cheer from the crowd when they finish. The guitar intro heralds a “Lonely Lady” the first from the stunning Steel the Light; this track would not be out of place on any Y&T album, fantastic guitar, harmonies and great chorus lines.

Q5 (c) Gary Cooper
Q5 (c) Gary Cooper

The band “Pull the Trigger” next, a favourite of mine and live, it does not disappoint with another killer chorus line; the debut album should have been huge. The band are clearly enjoying themselves moving all over the stage, smiling and interacting with each other and the crowd. I don’t think Jonathan had that huge grin off his face all night and rightly so. We “Rock On” with its swagger-laden guitars and huge rhythm from Evan and Jeffrey in the rear, complementing James and Dennis up front, trading licks as the band and the crowd rock out. The killer guitar and drums can only mean “Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady” which was truly incredible live, a real highlight tonight.

We get the whole of the debut album tonight and no wonder as it is a truly great album and still stands up with any band to this day. The band go “Missing in Action” and you can see the heads going in the crowd, again with the hook-laden title chorus line and killer guitars; an absolute joy to watch a band on fire and enjoying every moment. The wailing guitar heralds “In the Night” with its slower swagger but no less enjoyable before we get a stunning version of “Come and Gone”, the vocals and guitar just make this track shine. The title track now from When the Mirror Cracks but where the album version sounds a bit polished, the live version rocks and it’s all the better for it.

The first track tonight now from 2016’s New World Order in the form of “One Night in Hellas” with its Scorpions style guitar opener, the vocals on the album version remind me a bit of Biff from Saxon but not so live where it breathes more, rocks out with killer drums and guitar, just fabulous live. The title track now from the same album with its heavy drum and guitar opening has a vague Blaze Bayley style feel to it, not a bad thing by any means as Jonathan has a similar stage presence with his band and crowd interaction and the twin guitar sound on this is tremendous.

Q5 (c) Gary Cooper
Q5 (c) Gary Cooper

A real treat now as we get the last two tracks tonight from Steel the Light, starting with a stunning version of “Teenage Runaway”, just in-your-face full-on rock and roll as the crowd screams out the chorus line, the heads are going and the crowd bouncing. What else next but the title track “Steel the Light”? As the wailing guitar draws in before the guitar swagger pulls us along as they sing the title “Steel the light” and the crowd immediately roars the chorus line right back. “Turning Darkness into Light” is just magical; a truly fabulous end to an equally fabulous album, we head into the encore and we get “Tear up the Night” from New World Order and Q5 certainly have done that tonight, just a killer rocking full on end to a stunning night of rock music from a band truly on fire with no sign of slowing down.

If you missed these rare two dates in the UK, the other being London a few days before, then you missed something special. I’ve said it before but Steel the Light should have been as huge as should have the band. The voice is still there, a killer band with a great attitude, those of you in Europe still to see them yet are in for a very real treat. I hope I don’t have to wait as long to see the band again and hopefully they will have some merchandise next time to buy as I think they would have sold out tonight. I leave the venue with a big grin and fully pumped after a stunning night of music from a band who feel as fresh and alive tonight as the day they started.


  • Let Go
  • Lonely Lady
  • Pull the Trigger
  • Rock On
  • Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady
  • Missing in Action
  • In the Night
  • Come and Gone
  • When the Mirror Cracks
  • One Night In Hellas
  • New World Order
  • Teenage Runaway
  • Steel the Light


  • Tear Up The Night

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James Nelson
September 15, 2018 9:04 PM

A magical night for us to be sure! We will definitely be back… Q5 loves Scotland!