Tuesday 18 November 2014

Live Review: Black Wolf / The Vintage Caravan / Blues Pills. Manchester Academy 3. 12/11/2014

Entering any venue to hear the glorious tones of Warren Zevon being played is a joy; knowing that you have some of the most exciting young bands around to see as well, just adds to the growing atmosphere at Manchester Academy 3. A mixed clientele of younger rock fans yearning for the seventies and those elder statesman looking for a flash of their glorious heyday's, steadily filled the room as the crowd awaited the arrival of the first band; Black Wolf.

Immediately the tone was set by the band, as the five piece band noodled into their opening number. The band found their stride early doors as they channelled the spirit of some of the best classic rock bands of yesteryear (think Free / Bad Co / Lynyrd Skynyrd). The track was met rapturously and the band continued to plough through a plethora of groove laden traditional rock tracks with excellent energy. During 'Relief' the band worked the crowd very well with pulsing tempos and stellar work on the crowd participation front.

As a warm up act; brilliant!

Again, Manchester was representing themselves well with an almost full room for the first band on a three band bill. It's always good to see and makes the atmosphere that little bit better.

The Vintage Caravan are a band that fellow Sludgelord writer, Phil Weller, had informed me about before. Their spot on the bill was my first foray with the band. For the 45 minutes or so they had been allotted they exuded energy and played the lion share of their 2014 release; ‘Voyage’. Mixing driving rhythms with progressive passages and some superb soloing, the amount of beer glasses being raised as the set progressed, grew and grew. Their energetic and emotive performance was up tempo and blistering as the crowd swelled further, ready for the main act of the night.

Blues Pills took the stage in low key fashion, ripping immediately into ‘High Class Woman’ from their debut album. It’s chugging bass line powered the track into an early extended jam which set the tone for the evening. Such is the prowess of the band; they have the ability to take their already masterful compositions in directions they fancy. The band delivered a large portion of their excellent debut album throughout the set, along with a great cover of Tony Joe White’s ‘Elements & Things’. As well as a great cover version, another highlight of the set included Elin Larsson tearing the roof off the venue with an impassioned and soaring vocal on ‘Devil Man’. Its howling introduction and Sabbath style riff was riotous and joyous in equal measure. The band returned to close out their set with a lengthy version of ‘Black Smoke’; another devilishly good helping from the bands debut album. Guitarist Dorrian Sorriaux showed his astounding ability throughout the evenings set, however ‘Black Smoke’ gave him a platform to show the tender side of his playing, as well as the pure fire he can create.

All three bands on the bill for this tour still have plenty to prove, and will continue to progress. Black Wolf sounded tight and proved to be an astute opening act. Nuclear Blast has two great hopes on their roster in the form of The Vintage Caravan and Blues Pills. It was a privilege to witness all the bands’ performances in the cosy surroundings of Manchester Academy 3.

Words by: Dominic Walsh