In a dark candle-lit basement in the centre of Leeds, UK, three heavy blues/stoner bands have rolled into town as part of a week long tour of heavy partying, rocking, and boogie times aplenty. Tonight’s venue has just enough room to bounce around in while still allowing you to hold enough uncomfortable eye contact with the guy at the other side while counting the scars on his face. Bad Apples is a compact rock bar with good tunes, hefty beers, a coffin with a skeleton embedded into the dance floor, and tonight, one hell of a show!
Opening act Welcome Back Delta have come for one thing only, to play the greatest guitar riffing set they could possibly do. The four-piece Cheltenham/Bristol band play a groovy blend of heavy blues and grunge that picks off all of Clutch’s heavier elements. Opening with ‘Concrete Donkey’, the guys start at a pace that they keep up for the entire set, with husky vocals from Joe Kelly, whiskey soaked in life-worn soul, and a driving rhythm section and pounds the band through their monstrously heavy set. Their “this is our song if we were on Top of the Pops” crowd bouncer ‘Deep Bone’ is accurately the band’s poppiest moment, but mixed in amongst chugging rock moments like ‘Cadillac Tank’ and set closer ‘Twist of Fate’, Welcome Back Delta prove that they are a fantastic live band, friendly, warm guys, with catchy hook driven songs to party all night too, which as an opening band, only goes to whet the appetite for what comes next.
Welcome Back Delta
Farnborough blues/southern groove/stoner rock four-piece Welcome The Howling Tones have been headlining the tour all week, but have dropped to second spot for this show, but their headlining capacity is abundantly clear as they play a set full of their stunning debut record, Green & Blues, full of dirty country gritty riffs and southern twangs that gets you high and head banging all at once. The vocals of Iain “Cat scratch” Turner perfectly encapsulating metalesque howling blues riffs from Chris Gilday, who’s the life and soul of the party. From opening track ‘Deep River Blues’ to the closing ‘I Can Go Bad’, the band are on incredible form, stealing the entire room’s attention for every lick and down-trodden groove. Welcome The Howling Tones are a band that you need to see on the live circuit as soon as possible.
Welcome The Howling Tones
The second record from tonight’s headliners (Reburn) has been on constant rotation since its release last year as we rightfully lauded over the 80 minutes of stoner grooves, and with a debut record setting the groundwork for one of England’s most exciting bands, Didcot, Oxfordshire’s Mother Corona, tonight’s set is full of expectation that surely couldn’t be matched, unless of course they filled their set with super charged riffs, frenetic headbanging, fist pumping, balls to the wall rock, covering songs from both records plus a taste of new material, holy hell have this band got the goods. In amongst all the adrenaline racing stoner riffs, what’s clear to see is what great musicians they are. With just being the three guys, from Rob Glen’s pounding bass work, Lee Cressey’s guitar-pedal-galore guitar skills, and the incredible drumming skills of vocalist David Oglesby, the band are not just an very, very, loud and almighty party machine to listen to, but it’s an impressive sight to watch. The band wind their set up with a combination of ‘V.A.G’ (which we’re told stands for Very Angry Girlfriend) and ‘Hedonist King’ which blends into a cover of Black Sabbath’s ‘Into The Void’, and it’s carried off with aplomb. Mother Corona have gathered a reputation as a phenomenal, and loud, live act, and after tonight’s gig, it seems to be the tag that they have owned as their own.
As the ear cells die out and endlessly ring into the cold night walk home, we’re left with a sweaty memory of three superb bands that will soon be breaking out of small underground cellars and into much bigger venues, pounding our faces on a much greater scale. Get into these bands now while they’re still fighting to be heard, we’re sure glad we did.