My third gig in five days and thankfully this one just needed a quick blast down the A38 as it was on home ground at the Exeter Phoenix Theatre. This is now a “home game” for Nathan James and Inglorious since his relocation, so it was no surprise to see the venue filling early.
Warming up the Devon faithful we were treated to the energy of Mercutio. Led by Scottish vocalist Ross but otherwise comprising of three Italian musicians, Fabio, Naz and Francesco, they delivered a set of Indie rock that was stylish and engaging. I particularly enjoyed “Where the Pain Lives” with its simply massive opening riff and “Shed Your Skin” that has a Muse vibe to it. Chatting to them at the merch stall later they are really great guys and well worth catching if you see them playing nearby.
Just the one warm up band tonight so the stage was quickly cleared and the lights went down to welcome on Inglorious. Talk about hitting the ground running. “Where Are You Now”, an anthem of the finest quality, is quickly followed by “Breakaway” and “Time to Go”. Nathan’s voice is pitch perfect and his incredible range and power are clear from the outset.
Then for the first of several sublime highlights in the set as Phil Beaver, Dan Stevens and Danny DeLa Cruz don acoustic guitars for “Glory Days”. This is a hauntingly beautiful piece of music. There is nowhere to hide vocally and you can feel the raw emotion in every note. The set rocks on at pace. “Warning”, “Liar”, “Gypsy”, “Girl Got a Gun” and “Unaware” before highlight number two.
I feel slightly uncomfortable that when a band has such a great catalogue, a cover should stand out, but Oh Lord what a cover. James introduces it as being from one of his favourite artists, Alanis Morissette, and the slow, gentle keys of “Uninvited” ring out. It is an eerie and intriguing version with James’ voice soft and clear, developing power with each line of lyrics. Then the explosion as first Dan Stevens and then Danny DeLa Cruz show off their considerable skills. The 20 year old DeLa Cruz in particular is an extraordinary talent. I keep hearing echoes of Blackmore in his tones and Randy Rhoads in his sheer speed and fluidity.
In one of his asides James refers to his difficult year but that is the past and this is the present, surrounded by a superb group of musicians it is time to take Inglorious forward with new material that showcases their skills. “Ride to Nowhere” rocks things on and has the highest note I think I have ever heard live. “Holy Water”, “Read All About It”, “High Class Woman” all classic rock tracks in their own right.
Then highlight number three, “I Don’t Know You”. In any just world this track would be massive. It is a song of utter beauty and power and I can never listen to it without feeling emotional. Tonight its delivery is spectacular and holds the crowd spellbound. Encores? We get “I Don’t Need Your Loving”: and of course the anthem “Until I Die” sends us home happy and fulfilled.
Review and pics – Rob Wilkins
Inglorious tour throughout November, ending in Paris on November 12th, all tour dates can be found here.