REAL GONE GOES OUT: FM – Booking Hall, Dover, Kent 27/11/2022

When FM appeared at the first Ramblin’ Man Fair in 2015, they played an excellent set. Despite a low down billing on the main stage, they played with the professionalism and intensity of a headline act. Apparently, their London show on the 2022 ‘Thirteen’ tour – featuring Grand Slam in support – was similarly strong, so it was always likely fans on the Kent coast could surely rely on a typically enthusiastic set at the tour’s end.

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ENUFF Z’NUFF – Finer Than Sin

Enuff Z’Nuff were once one of melodic rock’s greatest bands. Their first three albums are almost perfect distillations of AOR, power pop and glam, all wrapped in an oversized tye dye bubble. The band celebrated a brightly coloured world at a time when such things were in danger of being unfashionable, and their Cheap Trick meets Elvis Costello meets Poison sound made them square pegs in round holes, but in terms of crafting a melodic hook, the Chip Z’Nuff and Donnie Vie songwriting team were second to none.

A little over twenty years on from their classic ‘Strength’ album, Enuff Z’Nuff are a band largely trading off a well known name. As proved by their ‘Brainwashed Generation’ album from 2020, that doesn’t mean that Chip and his faceless hired hands aren’t capable of knocking out a decent tune or four, but that’s just it. Enuff Z’Nuff albums have long felt like a “knocked out” product rather than a work of art. A few good songs are propped up by second rate material and covers – occasionally even leftovers – in the name of a new record. They’ve lost the craftsmanship and consistency of old. Not to mention most of the production values.

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ABOUT US – About Us

Hailing from India, About Us play a variety of rock styles, but often centre their songs around hard edged melodic rock with proggy flourishes. Despite their desire to give AOR a kick, the proggy moments won’t be enough to win over the average prog fan, and might be a little distracting for the melodic rock purist. However, if you’re able to get your head around their sometimes very busy and occasionally quirky sound, their debut album presents some very strong melodies and great songs.

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GRAND – Grand

A new band for 2022, Grand was formed by session vocalist Mattias Olafsson with the desire to pay tribute to the big, shiny sounds of 80s melodic rock. Enlisting drummer Anton Martinez Matz and Wigelius guitarist Jakob Svensson, he quickly set to work on making his musical dream a reality. Having Svensson on board from the early stages would obviously be a major boon, since Wigelius were one of those bands, along with Work of Art, who just managed to pitch an 80s AOR sound pretty much perfectly, decades after most of the world stopped craving the sounds of Survivor and Robert Tepper for their biggest musical thrills. Having worked wonders with his own band, there was every chance that his guitar tones and musical talents would be a key ingredient within Olafsson’s musical vision.

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PERFECT PLAN – Brace For Impact

In the year or so leading up to this third release from Perfect Plan, vocalist Kent Hilli kept himself more than busy. Considered by some to be the great white hope of melodic rock in the twenty first century, between 2021 and 2022, he not only issued two solo releases – an album of original material and an EP of covers – but also became the new frontman for AOR legends Giant, appearing on their very enjoyable ‘Shifting Time’ album, and even found time to contribute vocals to the second Restless Spirits album.

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