gig reviews

BlackWolf / Hand Of Dimes / SKAM

Where: The Exchange // When: 22/02/2014

by Duncan Everson


Looking around in The Exchange before the gig, I spotted a few SKAM T-shirts and took this as a good sign. As the band are from Leicester, I was immediately thinking they must be good to attract fans this far away. This proved to be the case when they blasted onto the stage and straight away you knew what you were going to get; straight-forward, no-frills, good, old-fashioned rock. Lovely! Alternating tracks from their debut album with songs from their next, showed why they have just signed a worldwide record deal as they were all of a similar quality; although ‘Soldiers Of Rock’ and ‘No Lies’ particularly impressed. Also the new track ‘Holy City’ was one to look out for on the new album as I made special note of its excellent riff. Singer and guitarist Steve Hill, is a great frontman and musician and seemed at home on the stage, as he had a good laugh with the band and the crowd. While bassist Matt Gilmore is one of those characters you just can’t take your eyes off when he’s on stage; he was constantly leaping around and pulling faces, looking like he was having a great time. I’m definitely looking forward to the new album and seeing SKAM again soon.

Hand Of Dimes

Moving on, Hand Of Dimes played a slightly more laid back and bluesy kind of rock that reminded me slightly of The Union - which is no bad thing. Fronted by Nev MacDonald, who had success with the bands Skin and Kooga, the band started off the night with ‘Looking At You’ and quickly followed it with ‘Bad Reputation’, which featured Nev’s old songwriting partner from Kooga, Neil Garland on harmonica. This is a band which clearly have years of experience on stage, which was demonstrated with their easy manner and relaxed playing. After Nev had changed to his acoustic guitar the band played a trio of numbers and finished with ‘Jacob’s Ladder’, which was my favourite and featured Neil’s keyboards heavily with a bluesy guitar which reminded me of Gary Moore. Wonderful stuff. Hand Of Dimes are a class act and well worth seeing if you get the chance.


In a wonderful coincidence, BlackWolf were the first band on stage for my first review for Live-Music-Scene and they were to be the last one on as well. Having seen them before I knew what to expect to some extent, but this time I was more familiar with the material from their excellent debut album. Starting with the last single, ‘Mr. Maker’ and following it with the current one, ‘Keep Moving On’, the band were on fine form on stage. Drummer Thomas Lennox-Brown didn’t miss a beat, and was particularly impressive on ‘Moving Mountains’, while bassist Ben Webb prowled the right hand side of the stage filling out the bottom end beautifully. Next to him was rhythm guitarist Jason Cronin, who I have to admit, reminds me of a cross between Angus and Malcom Young - Malcom’s dependability and Angus’ inability to stand still - and the stature of them both! Centre stage belonged to singer Scott Sharp. I use the word belonged on purpose there because Scott is a man who was born to do this, with an incredible voice that sounds even better live than on record and the stage presence to go with it. But, for me, the star of the show is lead guitarist John Greenhill. This man is a seriously good player and like all the best artists, makes it look so easy. Fantastic, blues tinged solo’s effortlessly flow and to hear the way the two guitarists play off each other on the classic rock inspired riffs is just a joy. A bit of Zeppelin, a pinch of AC/DC, some ZZ Top and countless others have influenced the band but the closest contemporary reference I can think of would be The Answer. As The Answer are one of my favourite bands this might go some way to explaining why I love this band like I do! BlackWolf are currently getting great reviews for their debut album everywhere and are just about to head out on tour with The Answer, where they will undoubtedly and deservedly increase their fan base greatly. It was brilliant to see BlackWolf in a small venue this time, especially because they won’t be playing them much longer.

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