Gig Review – Papa Shango, Anonymous and Dead Happy

On Saturday 28th October I was at The Giffard Arms Wolverhampton to see Papa Shango and supporting bands, Dead Happy and Anonymous. 

I’ve heard that The Giffard is the place to be on Halloween, and for a mere £2 to get in, this was promising to be a great night, especially knowing that Anonymous were in the line up.

A Halloween themed band called Dead Happy certainly kicked the evening off in style, demonstrating a completely abstract performance of rock/alternative music.

It was then time for one of my top 5 upcoming bands to rock the house. Anonymous put on an electrical performance as always, these guys have all the ingredients needed to become a successful rock band, looks, talent, charisma and determination.

 

Even though the frontman/vocalist Rob Baynes had been unwell, he put on a great show for the crowd. These guys have come a long way since I first saw them on a Facebook live feed, playing a pub in Burton-on-Trent.

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They will be supporting Ryder’s Creed at the 02 Academy 3 Birmingham on 9th December 2017 which I’m sure will be a great night, and I have no doubt that  Anonymous will help to kick the night off appropriately. Hayden Kirk (guitar), Steven (Herbie) Herbert (drums), Luke Lawley (bass) and Rob Baynes (vocals/guitar) certainly get the job done when it comes to putting on a show.

So, having rocked out with Anonymous, it was time for the widely talked about Papa Shango to make an appearance. To be perfectly honest, I had mixed feelings about this ‘act’, but kept an open mind as I’d never seen them before. They describe themselves as a circus rock act with mayhem and madness guaranteed to leave jaws dropped.

 

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Unfortunately, the only video footage I took of these guys will not upload, so apologies to anyone who wanted to see them. Well I can only describe the Papa Shango experience as unusual. I thought for a moment I’d had my drink spiked when I saw girls in sequinned hotpants humping hobby horses to the rhythm of the music. It was all a bit tongue in cheek, and I watched them perform a couple more of their tracks before leaving to the sound of ‘pissing on your wife’ being belted out. The room was full of people in full Halloween costume though, and I’m sure the night went well. Not sure if they came into watch Papa Shango, or whether it was just because the disco downstairs was packed out, but either way, a great night celebrated with major weirdness and rock music, you couldn’t ask for more. (Especially not for £2 entry)

For those of you who are now more curious than ever, here’s a link

 

Gig Rating: 4/5

 

 

 

 

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Album Review – Theia – Back in Line

album cover

Written by Deb Gardner

I must wholeheartedly agree with Theia’s own descriptive of their music, classic rock feel for the modern era, played with a smile on its face. This Burton-on-Trent raised three piece have certainly put their stamp on the UK’s rock scene, even more so with the release of their second album Back in Line, which is based loosely around a character in an asylum. Delusional and with multiple personalities, a lot takes place in her head. Gathering initially around the fire on the outskirts of a western town before the gunshot and the story of the main personality Roxy begins to unfold in My Poison. The bar saloon of Whiskey Business develops more delusions. Is she Lorraine in Just Go? Tipped over the edge by a horrific experience, or is that just a delusion? Back in Line is the concept of lining up for medication, hence the album cover. Maybe Home is a dream of what might have been? Afterglow rounds off the tale of Roxy, for now.

Keezheekhoni sets the scene, where you are taken to the Wild West (or as Theia Frontman Kyle Lamley describes it, the Wild West Midlands). The western style guitar certainly grabs your attention, and just before the first main track, the guns are cocked, ready for this album which is an all guns blazing rapid fire of heavy, gritty, guitar led rock tracks and finished to perfection with some meaningful acoustic numbers.

My poison is a full on heavy guitar and drum pounding track insists that you rock out. It’s catchy lyrics including ‘seven deadly sins you know I’ve tasted every one, nothing relates to the taste of my poison’ make you want to sing along. Then comes the intense guitar riff and pounding drum beat as it builds into a big finish. Whiskey Business is a rousing track that is punctuated with a clever combination of heavy drums, and stimulating guitar with an infectious simplistic chorus that entices the crowd to join in and sing along to. Back in Line, the thunderous title track of this spectacular album. The intensity of the guitars on this track is immense, with both lead and bass guitar playing in unison to achieve its strength. Just Go is highlighted by stunning guitar work from lead man Kyle, before the bass and drums jump in to deliver the soundtrack to a very serious ‘message’. The music emulates the turbulent theme of the track, delivering a strong addition to the album. Signed Sealed Cemented is full of deep thudding meaty guitar playing which along with Kyle’s distinctive voice tells the story of a difficult journey which was dogged by doubters and non-believers.

My personal favourite, Paper the House gives a real sense of the rock n roll life as seen from an artist’s viewpoint. With an electrifying feel to this song and its lively chorus, it definitely gets you roused. The vocals in this song are exquisite. Next comes Sparkplug, which explores what songs really stand for and how an individual may interpret them. The track is dominated by outstanding guitar work, emphasising the bands musical abilities with a big exclamation mark. The tempo is brought back down with Home which is a beautiful acoustic track, mainly just Kyle and his guitar, when he’s not strumming it, you can hear him tapping the body of the guitar which along with the soft tones laid out in the song, gives it a more emotional feel. Kyle often dedicates this to his partner and daughter when singing it live. (An array of phone lights would be a nice touch at a live performance of this song).

Finally, Afterglow takes you back West, with its distinctive guitar intro and powerful drums which lead into the final chapter of this fantastic album, which combines the western elements with the deep chugging guitar riffs throughout, Kyle tells one last story about Roxy Pigwhistle.

This benchmark album is a testament of the band’s commitment and solid rock values. Lyrically stunning and with a noticeable presence of some creative guitar work from front man Kyle, this collection of tracks sends a clear message that Theia are serious contenders of (and deserve) greater things. Although Theia possess a sound reminiscent of the golden era of rock in the 70’s, they are very much serious contenders on today’s scene. These guys are certainly destined for a bright future!

Once you have enjoyed the album, you must see a live performance!