Sunday, February 25, 2024

Reef, Wilko Johnson & The Sweet Play Planet Rock’s Rocktober

Due to ongoing uncertainties regarding international travel, Kenny Wayne Shepherd is unfortunately unable to make it to UK shores in October for Planet Rock’s Rocktober dates. However, three very different new headline bands have been announced who will gamely stand in, in the form of British rockers Reef who are currently going through a renaissance, former Dr Feelgood and R ’n B legend Wilko Johnson, and multi-glam rock hit singles and hard rock outfit The Sweet.

Reef will headline Bristol O2 Academyon Saturday 15th October. Wilko Johnsonwill headline London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on Tuesday 18th October. Sweet will headline the Sheffield O2 Academy on Saturday 22nd October.

Special guests on the Bristol and Sheffield dates are King KingWhen Rivers Meet and The Damn Truth. In London special guests will be King King and When Rivers Meet.

Reef first came to public recognition when they toured with Paul Weller, The Rolling Stones and Soundgarden in 1994 and 1995.  They released their debut album Replenish in 1995 that went gold and featured the singles ‘Good Feeling’ and ‘Naked’. Midway through that year they released a four-track single release in Weird, following it with 1997’s sophomore album Glow, whereon the band used more varied instruments, the album going gold and among the singles released ‘Place Your Hands’ reached #6 in the official UK Singles Chart.

Wilko Johnson was the guitarist for the pub rock/rhythm & blues band Dr. Feelgood in the 1970s. Johnson  became known for his distinctive guitar playing style, achieved by not using a pick but instead relying on fingerstylings. This enabled him to play rhythm guitar and riffs or solos at the same time creating a highly percussive guitar sound. Johnson developed his own image, coupling jerky movements on stage (his so-called “duck walk”) with a choppy guitar style, occasionally raising his guitar to his shoulder like a gun, and a novel dress sense (black suit and a pudding bowl haircut). Dr Feelgood were an influence on the English punk movement, Paul Weller saying of Johnson: “Wilko may not be as famous as some other guitarists, but he’s right up there, and there are a lot of people who’ll say the same. It’s some legacy.”

Sweet remain a British rock and roll institution with a pedigree of 50 years of hit singles. They’ve sold 55 million albums and had 34 number #1 hit singles. Hailed by many as a national treasure with a loyal fanbase, their dazzling arsenal of rock music stands the test of time. The music is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago when Sweet first stormed the UK Charts in January 1971. The band is fronted by guitarist, Andy Scott.  Sweet’s hit iconic glam rock singles include ‘Ballroom Blitz’, ‘Fox On The Run’, ‘Little Willy’, ‘Blockbuster’, ‘Love Is Like Oxygen’, and many more. 

King King received critical acclaim from their 2020 album Maverick. The band was nominated for Blues Band of the Year at the UK Blues Awards 2022. Maverick followed 2017’s similarly well-regarded Exile & Grace album. The band now features Alan Nimmo (vocals, guitar), Stevie Nimmo (guitar), Jonny Dyke (organ, piano), Zander Greenshields (bass) and Andrew Scott (drums).

When Rivers Meet is comprised of British husband and wife Grace and Aaron Bond. They released their sophomore album Saving Grace in November 2021 and became the first band to win four awards at the UK Blues Awards, and were voted Best New Band by the listeners of Planet Rock at the radio station’s The Rocks Awards. They followed that this year by winning three UK Blues Awards amid sell-out dates during their first headline UK your.

The Damn Truth experienced considerable success on UK radio with the release of their 2021 single ‘This Is Who We Are Now’ with support from Planet Rock and a spot play on BBC Radio 2’s Rock Show with Johnnie Walker. The single was taken from current album Now or Nowhere produced by Bob Rock, and the band has been championed by the British music press with extensive media coverage.

Tickets for all three shows are available from Planet Rock and The Gig Cartel.

Paul H Birch
Paul H Birch
RAMzine Senior Writer - Writer of fiction, faction and fact, has edited several newsstand magazines. He declares himself a hack for hire but refuses to compromise on the subject of music.

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