Gig Review: Bernie Tormé / Katalina Kicks – Bannermans, Edinburgh (25th November 2018)

Here we are at Bannermans in Edinburgh to see a true legend, Bernie Tormé, on his Final Fling tour. This is a man who has played with Gillan, Ozzy, Dee Snider & Atomic Rooster to name but a few. Having followed Bernie for a long time, I saw him first in 1981 with Gillan, so it’s sad to see him hang up his guitar strap.

Katalina Kicks (c) Gary Cooper

But before we see the man we have a support band in the form of 3 piece band Katalina Kicks from London who I have not heard or seen before. The band kick off with “C Bomb” from their The Return of Montague Rotter album and wow. Ian screams us in with Conor on bass but it’s Jase on drums that grabs your attention, he is a pure animal on the drums (in a muppets Animal style), just killer. What an opener. The band are on the edge of the stage tonight, literally, as there are two drum kits on stage, so I have the bass drum just a few inches from my chest tonight and with Jase, you really feel it. The bass kicks in on “Fixed Up” from the Dirt album with Ian letting loose on the guitar as Jase blasts those drums, it’s like early Kings of Leon, before they went all mainstream. We get three on the trot now from the Vices album starting with rocking “Guns” followed by a “Riot” which it is with Jase getting through drumsticks like they are going out of fashion, should I be wearing safety goggles this close to him.

Katalina Kicks (c) Gary Cooper

We get “I Want the World” which is actually on both the Vices & Dirt albums in different versions before they “Search and Destroy”, a killer Iggy Pop cover, so much that if you did not know Iggy’s music you would think these boys wrote it. The 2017 single “We Don’t Care” keeps the Iggy theme going before we end an all too short set with two from the Dirt album. First up, the fast-paced “Yeah Yeah Yeah” with its hook line chorus, killer guitar and drums. We end tonight with “Forever Young” and we are back with the early Kings of Leon vibe, a fabulous end to the set. I have to say from the moment Jase started those drums I was hooked. Another great band discovered for this reviewer, they have just an amazing vibe, killer sound and one of the best drummers I have seen in a long time. I urge you all to go check out these guys live, the studio music is fantastic but live they are killer. Be prepared to be blown away and watch out for flying broken drumsticks.

Bernie Tormé (c) Gary Cooper

The main man himself now, to think I first saw this man 37 years ago at the Edinburgh Odeon and now, here we are on the Final Fling tour and he has nothing to prove to anyone. We head into the “Wild West” from Electric Gypsies, Mik Gaffney on the drums brings us in before Bernie Tormé unleashes that battered Stratocaster guitar as Sy Morton bounces about on bass. This was a stunning start to the night. The first of two from the excellent new Shadowland album now with “Come The Revolution”. The drums kick in and the bass thunders as Bernie starts singing. I love his voice and the guitar / bass as they play together on this track. We head back to his Gillan days next, with “No Easy Way” from Glory Road and its killer guitar intro, before the drums and bass come in whilst the guitar kicks it up a notch and the vocals come in with Bernie doing a great job. A classic done properly.

The band “Turn Out The Lights” from the album of the same name now with its killer bouncing beat. The heads are going with Bernie grinning away, enjoying himself immensely for one of my favourites tonight. We get into the “Flow” now from Blackheart with its slower guitar vibe with its hints of The Doors throughout. We then head back to his Tormé days and the Back To Babylon album for the “Star”, the track comes alive on stage compared to its laid-back album version. The “Motor Daddy” comes roaring out now from Shadowland, another enjoyable track from a great new album before we go aboard the “Stoneship” from Flowers & Dirt with its wailing guitar and Hendrix style psychedelic music style. I was awestruck just watching a master at work on his guitar. We are treated to a short drum solo from Mik before the first of two from Bernie’s GMT (Guy McCoy Tormé) days and the Bitter & Twisted album, starting with “Rocky Road (From Dublin)”. Mik launches into the drums before the guitar kicks in along with the bass. and this track has a real old school rock feel to it. Next up, “Can’t Beat Rock ‘n’ Roll” has a similar feel to it, as Bernie sings, you can bang your head until you’re dead. It’s nice to hear these tracks tonight. We end the main portion of tonight’s set with what else but a couple of Gillan classics in the form of “Trouble” and a fabulous version of “New Orleans”.

Bernie Tormé (c) Gary Cooper

The encore was a fabulous version of “Mr. Crowley” sung tonight by Sy, which as Bernie mentions tonight, got him a lot of negative comments at the time due to who he replaced for a short period. I’m talking about when he joined Ozzy Osbourne for a short stint after Randy Rhoads tragically died but the fanatics will always get a bit funny, even with guitar legends like Bernie. It was an absolute joy to watch Bernie play the track tonight, he is no Randy Rhoads but again he does not have to be and as a guitar player, Bernie has nothing to prove. There are not many players out there as skilled as he is, so we end what has been a masterclass in guitar playing through a fabulous setlist tonight but we are not quite finished yet. As we know, Bernie has been very successful with Pledge campaigns to fund his recording music, and tonight, to end the show he invites two Pledgers to come on stage to play guitar and sing a couple of covers with him, including Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” and they had a great time as did the band playing with them.

It is sad that Bernie is on his final tour, he and the band were on fire this evening. His playing tonight was exceptional, from the tracks, the solos, etc, he was just a joy to watch and listen to. Along with Sy’s fantastic bass playing and Mik pounding away in the rear on the drums, it was a packed and happy Bannermans. I would urge you, no, tell you to go see the man before that guitar strap is hung up for good, as you would be witnessing Bernie going out in style.

Photos by Coops Gig Photography

Bernie Tormé: official | facebook | twitter | youtube

Katalina Kicks: official | facebook | twitter | instagram | soundcloud | youtube


  • Wild West
  • Come The Revolution
  • No Easy Way
  • Turn Out The Lights
  • Flow
  • Star
  • Motor Daddy
  • Stoneship
  • Drum Solo
  • Rocky Road (From Dublin)
  • Can’t Beat Rock ‘n’ Roll
  • Trouble
  • New Orleans
  • Encore: Mr. Crowley
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