Live Review: Bigfoot – Hard Rock Cafe, Glasgow

As sure as the sun rises in the morning and sets at night, you know that come November the gig diary will be rammed, and clashes are inevitable. Spare a thought though for those that live in backwater places like say… Plymouth. Starved of gigs, I tell you. Starved. So it came to pass that the night Wigan’s finest, Bigfoot, ventured north of the wall, probably passing half their audience either going east to catch the Black Star Riders in Edinburgh, or going south to Hard Rock Hell in Wales. I’d put a wager on that, had the gig been the night before, they would have at least doubled the audience, but that’s life, I suppose, and those in attendance had a great time watching three young and very different bands putting their own stamp on proceedings. The job of opening up the evening fell to local funk monsters Black King Cobra, a four piece, whose current single ‘Blood Rush’ is making people sit up and pay attention. Live, they sound bugger all like they do on the single, shaking it up as they stretch the songs out with some meaty jams. Free from the constraints of the studio, they showed great imagination, and a degree of improvisation, as they mix it up. At one point, vocalist Callum Moran left the stage and went for a quick game of darts as his bandmates go full throttle into a beast of a jam. At no point did they sound self-indulgent, just a young band not wanting to “play by the rules”. Good for them, I say. Moran has a warm, rich voice that in places reminds me of Mike Patton without the screaming or the cockiness that makes you want to twat Patton. The guys in the band are no slouches either. Drummer Steve Todd has a deft touch for a big fella and linked up well with bassist Johnny Keel who slapped the bass in fine Flea-style. Guitarist Ross Clark has been electrocuted onstage before, and plays like he still has a surge flowing through him, constantly spinning around lost in the music as he peeled off riff after riff. The set is very eclectic and very groovy. Listening to ‘Ball and Chain’, you might pick up a bit of Free’s ‘Fire And Water’ towards the end, but on ‘Blood Rush’ or ‘Wrack N’ Ruin’, it’s all about the bass, mon. Refusing to pin their flag to one genre, it’s best not to try and pigeonhole Black King Cobra, just enjoy the variation on offer. Find them on facebook. You could count the gigs that Uproar have played on one hand and still have enough fingers to stick two up at the boss behind his back. Watching them on stage though, it is hard to grasp that they only played their first gig back in May. Throw in the fact that guitarist Garreth Neilly only joined the band a few weeks prior, and it makes a mockery of their relative inexperience. They came flying out of the traps after a short intro tape, and vocalist Johnny Hollis was everywhere… literally everywhere. He’s on the stage, then off the stage, getting in the faces of the cheering section down the front, a cheering section that included Hugh Jackman’s stand in from Wolverine, I should add. Hollis also sings with Titan Breed, a more extreme metal band than Uproar, who play their metal the groove way. Think Pantera, and you are on the right track. Hollis channels his inner Anselmo while the facial fuzz says Vinnie Paul. Uproar were the surprise of the evening. Those in the know knew, and those of us who didn’t know now do. ‘Wonderland’ is a total banger. Groove metal bands never forget the hooks or the melodies, and this one has them by the bucketload. Same with ‘World’s Collide’, which got the heads bobbing in appreciation, as did ‘Lost In The Dark’ and ‘Fight Song’. ‘Forever Burning’ was dedicated to a much missed friend. It’s a ballad, of sorts, without actually being a ballad. If the definition of ballad is “the slow one that punches you in the guts”, then it’s a ballad, a true showstopper. Let’s hope that the next gig is just around the corner as Uproar seem to have built up a head of steam. Check the band out on facebook.    Headliners Bigfoot are part of the ever growing bunch of young British bands out there bubbling under in what has become a very healthy scene today. Signed to Frontiers Music after the release of a few self-released EP’s, the self-titled debut album is finally out and the five piece are quietly going about the business of building up a solid fanbase. Plenty of Bigfoot T-shirts are dotted around the crowd waiting to get in, and the band members themselves are out and about, greeting fans like old friends. Once they hit the stage and steamroller into ‘Tell Me A Lie’, the joking around stops, and Bigfoot get down to what they do best. One aspect that makes them stand out from the pack is their use of vocal harmonies. Not simply satisfied with standard backing vocals, the guitarists add rich layers to the sound that vocalist Antony Ellis produces. Not so much Def Leppard, think more along the lines of Eagles or Kansas. The dual guitar sound from Sam Millar and Mick McCullagh is as impressive as ever and helps give ‘Eat Your Words’ a bounce factor. Again, the vocal harmonies are spot on. On the debut album, Ellis reminded me of Ian Gillan, not so much the screaming, as no-one does screams like Gillan, but the same style of almost talking the lyrics, ‘Prisoner Of War’ and ‘Freak Show’ being a few prime examples. It’s great to discover that this is still the same on the live stage. A very affable frontman, Ellis brings to mind the persona of Jack Black, but only if Black wasn’t so smug and annoying. The band are very well rehearsed, and you can tell that they put the hours in when not gigging. The crucial rhythm team of drummer Tom Aspinall and bassist Matt Avery form quite a formidable team. Avery however does seem to be suffering from a wardrobe malfunction of sorts, either that or the hashtag #FreeTheNip is trending again. I didn’t realise how cold it was that night, but you could have hung a wet dufflecoat on them. Distracting male nipples aside, Bigfoot have plenty of bangers in their arsenal, of which ‘I Dare You’ and ‘Forever Alone’ are two of the standouts… especially the latter with it’s soaring guitar solos and towering vocal performance. Away from the debut album, ‘Blame It On The Dog’ is the show stopper that it always is, and let’s face it, we can all identify with the lyrics… Bigfoot are beginning to wrap up their gigs for the year, but you can catch them at Winterstorm Festival in Troon on November 24th followed the next night by an opening slot for Tyketto in Edinburgh. Highly recommended. More information here. Review: Dave Stott Images: Dave Jamieson [gallery type='flickr' user_id='132278830@N06' view='photosets' photoset_id='72157666155766979' columns='3' tag_mode='any' sort='date-posted-desc' per_page='49' layout='square' caption='title' thumb_size='s' main_size='z' ]]]>

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