In the summer of 2014, the Levellers issued a comprehensive greatest hits package, bringing together almost all of their single releases and promo videos in one place. Following a few festival shows, the band’s full tour staged at the end of the year was to be a celebration those hits to date. Tours often gain that certain something extra after a few shows, but right from this first night in a provincial theatre on the Kent coast, it’s clear from about three songs into their ninety minute set that Brighton’s favourite sons are on fine form.
Put together at the suggestion of Frontiers Records as a classic rock vehicle to display the talents of legendary rock vocalist Joe Lynn Turner, Rated X is a heavy rock supergroup whose sound is – somewhat unsurprisingly – heavily indebted to Rainbow and mid-80s Deep Purple. As an ex-member of Rainbow, Turner is one of a few who can lay claim to this classic rock sound as being partly his own. Perhaps more importantly, he’s also one of a few veteran rock singers who’s still capable of lending some decent vocal chops to most projects when called upon to do so. Just one listen to the Sunstorm albums confirms his place as one of the all-time greats, so the record label’s faith in his abilities – even at the age of 63 at the time of this band’s formation – is justified.
Hailing from Seattle, Ransom and the Subset borrow from a variety of bands to create their musical canvas. Rather than sounding overtly plagiaristic, their debut release ‘No Time To Lose’ merely celebrates many different pop and rock styles, creating an eleven track musical journey that’s sure to connect with lovers of post nineties power pop at some place along the way. The fact that it borrows so heavily from classic influences is no surprise when taking into consideration that singer songwriter RanDair Porter has called upon Ducky Carlisle (The Major Labels) and Brian E. King (Oranjuly/Parks) to bring these songs to life. Neither producer/multi-instrumentalist is exactly shy of tapping into the past for key inspirations and King’s Oranjuly project, especially, proved a fantastic exercise in celebrating pop’s golden years, resulting perhaps even one of the finest one-album bands ever. All the studio help/arranging in the world would be of no use, of course, if the band weren’t up to scratch…
Best known to most as one third of blues/psych trio Cream, Jack Bruce was one of the world’s finest bassists. In little over eighteen months as a member of that band, his profile was elevated to world-famous status, as he pitted his huge bass sound against Eric Clapton’s fuzzy guitars and Ginger Baker’s powerhouse drumming. Those few months in the spotlight alone would be enough to ensure he would be influential to millions and forever remembered, but the work of John Symon Asher Bruce left a bigger mark on the world over a career that spanned six decades.
Dropkick Murphys have confirmed a new run of live dates, filling the whole of March 2015. Various venues across the US and Europe are catered for, with the band appearing at London’s Brixton Academy on March 21st.