Review: Scarlet Rebels – The Junction, Plymouth

After a lot of travelling around the South West and a series of gigs in larger venues, it was refreshing to return to what drives me as a music fan. A small, intimate local venue with some bands that are lesser-known and, often, on the verge of becoming much bigger voices on the music scene. The Junction is a Plymouth institution. A tiny pub in the student area, with good beer, a decent lighting set up, a sound man who knows his sliders, a promoter that works tirelessly, and that veneer of sweat and absorbed music on the walls that resonate years of hopes and dreams of those that have stepped on stage.

The Outlanders, Scarlet RebelsSupporting the headliners were two local bands that have been the product of another local institution, Livewire. A youth club that provides far more than an opportunity to learn music, particularly through the tough last few years.

First up were The Outlanders. An Indie style rock band that provided a great warm-up set. Featuring Kalum Wilmot on vocals and guitar, Jake Walke and Josh Walke on lead guitar and bass respectively, and Harry Miller on drums, they pulled a fair number away from the bar as their set progressed. A particular shout-out for their single ‘Dance With Me’ which is well worth checking out.

The Kites, Scarlet RebelsA change in style followed as The Kites brought a swagger and panache to their set with a more “classic rock” sound. With singer Joe very much the performer, backed by guitarist George, bassist Ben, and drummer Ethan, I thoroughly enjoyed their set. Take a listen to ‘Breakwater City’ to get an idea of their vibe. Definitely, a band to see live as they looked in their element performing for a crowd.

Finally, it was time (after a postponement for covid) for the headliners to take to the stage in Plymouth. Strangely this would be my first experience of Scarlet Rebels live but I had a good idea of what to expect after binge listening their album ‘See Through Blue’. I also have a little connection with the band as, until his passing during the pandemic, my Dad lived very near their hometown of Llanelli, in Burry Port.

Scarlet RebelsIt was immediately apparent that a top 10 album gives a band a huge degree of confidence as they kicked off with the slightly country vibe guitar line of ‘I’m Alive’, before the full force of the track hit along with a leap from Chris Jones and powerful vocals from Wayne Doyle. The solo in particular showed just what was to come as Chris’s talent was clearly demonstrated. ‘Storm’ and ‘Everything Changed’ continued to show the sheer quality of the recent release as well as the anger and frustration behind the lyrics. Back in time a little for ‘No-one Else to Blame’ with another great opening lick, and ‘Let Your Love Go’, and you realise that ‘See Through Blue’ was certainly not a flash in the pan as great songwriting preceded that album’s release.

Scarlet RebelsThroughout the set, Wayne thanked those present for coming out and seeing live music and also for helping the band achieve that extraordinary success. Talking about how they had just supported Reef and people had realised they were a “thing” in the business. ‘Take It’ featured some thumping rhythm from “Pricey” and drummer Gary Doyle (or “Gaaarrry. Gaaarrry. Gaaarrry” as the crowd chanted every time he was mentioned, resulting in a huge grin from the back). ‘Head’s in the Ground’ with a crashingly heavy riff, while ‘Part of Me came in soft, slow, and Southern before erupting. ‘Let Me In’ kept the set flowing and the energy levels high as the temperature rose and rose. That quality in ‘See Through Blue’ was again clear as ‘I Can’t Say’ was followed by ‘I Can Sleep Now’ (a brooding, atmospheric epic) and then ‘Take You Home’ and the umpteenth ripping riff from Jones and a skin battering from “Gaaarrry” before a solo that melted the sound system.

Scarlet Rebels‘Say My Name’ and ‘Not the One’ kept up the energy before the chopping rhythms of ‘Save Me’ and ‘You Take My Breath Away’. Now, go to your favoured streaming platform if you haven’t already got physical copies of ‘See Through Blue’ and ‘Show Your Colours’ and play the last two tracks. Have your wallet handy because you are going to spend money. First, play ‘Heal’ from ‘…Colours’ and listen to how it builds and grows into the massive chorus and layered vocals. Then swap to ‘…Blue’ and ‘These Days’ which is simply sublime. A track for top-down driving in the sunshine but with underlying anger in the lyrics that is a microcosm of all that Scarlet Rebels represents.

Social media has played a big part in getting bands such as Scarlet Rebels known to a much wider audience and Wayne took time to thank a few of the crowd that has managed the band’s socials which was a very humble thing to do before telling the crowd that they would be signing, talking and engaging for as long as it took once they had packed up.

I can’t wait to see a set on a bigger stage as part of the festival season as I think there is a very big risk of some show-stealing about to happen.

Review and photos – Rob Wilkins

Check out all future Scarlet Rebels live dates, here.

Check Also

FAHRAN: New Single “Sever The Ties” July 29th

Nottingham’s rock-metal band Fahran (pronounced Fa-Ren) are set to release their eagerly anticipated new album, …

SIMONE SIMONS – releases video for ‘R.E.D.’ from her debut solo album

SIMONE SIMONS has released the video for ‘R.E.D.’, from her debut solo album, Vermillion, that’s …

TUK SMITH & THE RESTLESS HEARTS share new album details and single

TUK SMITH & THE RESTLESS HEARTS have today announced the release of their second album. …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *