Monday, May 27, 2024

Snakecharmer + Daylight Robbery @ The Robin 2

Rob Billingham reviews an AOR gig which didn’t disappoint…

A real treat for lovers of melodic rock was in store for anyone braving the Arctic cold which had descended on Bilston this Friday evening. I’m glad to say that the cold was a deterrent as a very healthy crowd had come through the Robin 2 doors ready to enjoy the sounds of Snakecharmer and local boys Daylight Robbery. Both bands were playing their first gigs of 2015 and for the Daylight boys it was another opportunity to showcase their latest album Falling Back to Earth. The Brummie AOR/Melodic rock specialists work hard at their music and tonight the quality of their work shone like a beacon as they powered through a nine-song set. Tonight the band was playing as good as I’ve heard them, tight as a banjo string and enDaylight Robberyjoying every note they played. Tony Nicholl nailed the vocals throughout and my current favourite ‘Fallen Star‘ was sung with a feeling and passion that emphasised the songs message beautifully. A sucker for a good power ballad, ‘Between the Lines‘ demonstrated the strength of song writing within the band and I particularly liked the use of brushes by drummer Chris Miller on this one, gently tip-toeing along in the background, but so effective. Guitarist Mark Carleton delivers riff after riff effortlessly and bassist Colin Murdoch just has to be the most smooth and laid back of string pluckers you’re likely to see. Listen carefully and you’ll catch some clever little bass ripples in there! Special mention needs to be made of keyboardist Dave Billingham who has injected a little something extra into proceedings, drawing on his love of film scores and orchestrations for inspiration. This is all good stuff and I really, really hope great success is just around the corner. D’ya know, I think this five-piece has a lot more in the locker and on the strength of tonight’s performance that is an exciting prospect.

And so to headliners Snakecharmer, a band I suppose who will pretty well forever carry with them the Whitesnake association. That’s understandable as the band was brought together by former ‘Snakes Micky Moody and Neil Murray. However, when you look at the line up of Laurie Wiseman (Wishbone Ash), Harry James (Thunder and Magnum), Adam Wakeman (Ozzy Osbourne and also son of one of my all-time fave keyboardists) and Heartland vocalist Chris Ousey, we obviously have something a little special. With only one album of original material to draw on the current set-list is similar to that of previous gigs so, hint, hint, new album soon lads? Nevertheless what a cracking set it is. Performing songs drawn mainly from their self-titled album, the guys still managed to squeeze in half a dozen Whitesnake classics including the almost Snakecharmerinevitable “Here I Go Again” and “Fool for Your Loving” sing-alongs. How long before the likes of “Guilty As Charged”, “A Little Rock and Roll” or “My Angel” reach that status? Twin-guitar driven arena rock, with hints of blues like this just doesn’t get much better. And how impressive is Chris Ousey on vocals? I last saw the band at Legends of Rock – The Originals festival in 2014 and thought the guy was good then, but tonight he was supreme. To be honest the whole band and performance were top-drawer and Micky Moody’s slide guitar solo towards the end of the main set was quirky, light-hearted and just worked. He knows how to have a little fun on stage with the audience. It also gave the other band members, save for drummer Harry James, a few minutes to freshen up ready for the final onslaught. Snakecharmer is a band that needs to be on any AOR/melodic rock fans list for 2015, as indeed is the superb Daylight Robbery.
All in all, a great show by two great bands at a great venue. Please sir, can I have some more?

Photos by Lisa Billingham.

Robert Billingham
Robert Billingham
My wife Lisa and I have our own photographiy/video company and I manage the studio we have now set up. Normally working as a couple I tend to be the review part of the team, occasionally treating my Canon to an outing when needed. I believe in being honest, fair and constructive - we owe it to all those who perform for our entertainment.! Thanks for having me, Team RAMzine.

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