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Thursday, 8 December 2011

Steve Conte & The Crazy Truth - Soundhaus (Glasgow) 6/12/12

Prior to Steve Conte rolling into town with his Crazy Truth compadres there was a battle of the bands contest with the winner securing the opening slot of the gig.
I didn't attend, but Rank Berry were the band who impressed on that night and duly took the opportunity to grab a few new fans with their very credible take on some seventies rock with a modern twist.
In fact scratch the credible bit as they were better than just credible.
There's a great deal of Creedence and Faces influences being worn on their sleeves and the young front man has the voice and stage presence to carry it off.
I suppose the last time I seen this done so well was the first time that the Black Crowes hit these shores and supported the Dogs D'Amour in the Barrowlands.
So watch out for Rank Berry as they are one of the few young bands who can differentiate between rock and heavy metal and are capable of putting the groove back into something that has become increasingly stale in my opinion.
There is a downside though, and that's the bands image.
There's a couple of the guys in the band who need to look a bit more rock and roll, and yes, I've heard it all before about image not mattering, but that's bullshit.
Mick and Keef don't just sound cool.
They look it.
Same with Steve and Joe of Aerosmith, Rod and Ron etc etc.
A little rethink on how they look could be just the thing the band needs to push them forward as everything else is in place.
Next was Christie Connor-Vernal who plays the blues with a healthy punk attitude.
I've seen her kicking about at gigs and a few friends have spoken about her highly and all the praise they were dishing out is well deserved.
There's some rough edges that makes it all feel a bit more solid and authentic and I hope Christie avoids trying to polish these bits out as we have enough auto-tuned crap to contend with, and lets be honest here, we really need someone who actually knows who Big Mama Thornton and Johnny Thunders are to save us from it all.
The Mademoiselle who followed Christie completely bored the arse of me.
It's not that they're bad, just not my thing. If punk was the response to prog rock then we may need another wave of it to wash away the navel gazing indie rockers who would probably be more at home missing lectures and watching reruns of the wonders of the universe than creating what to my ears sounds like self indulgent twaddle.
The best bit about them was that they worked as an anticlimactic experience after Christie and set the stage for Homesick Aldo to bring it all back into the realms of rock and roll for us.
It's actually difficult to describe what Homesick Aldo does.
He doesn't have a set list and instead plays his harmonica from the gut.
In this way he is keeping a certain tradition alive and it would be fair to say that what this young man from Fife is doing is far closer to what his heroes did than so many of the modern day blues players do.
Take Eric Clapton for instance.
Please just take him.
His lifeless interpretation of the blues is so far removed from the real deal that he should be charged under some trade description act.
Aldo on the other hand breathes life into it, and similarly to Christie delivers it from a punk template and in doing so gives it the human touch.
It's not the sound of the studio that interests him, but the feeling of the juke joint, the New Orleans bar and the blood, sweat and tears that their floorboards have soaked up.
You really have to be there to get it so watch out for Homesick Aldo playing and prepare yourself to experience something that isn't packaged to death for the mainstream palette.
Steve was next and what can I say that I haven't said before?
I've ran out of superlative praise for him and while my tank of descriptive praise is virtually on empty he is still firing on all cylinders and delivering night after night.
It's not just Steve either. The Crazy Truth are exceptional to.
It's doesn't matter where he goes as they have his back.
Power it up and they are pushing it hard behind him, ease off on the pedal and they slide into a flawless groove to accompany him.
Tonight is a far meatier affair than the previous time that Steve and his Crazy Truth came to town.
It's a longer set for one thing with more of their debut album getting aired, and the covers are all hitting the spot.
There's some Velvet Underground with 'Waiting for the Man being squeezed in. The Ramones 'I don't wanna grow up, and from memory a bit of Fleetwood Macs Someone's going to get their head kicked in tonight, Cochran's Summertime Blues, some Little Richard, and more.
Oh and let's not forget Bo Diddley's/New York Dolls 'Pills' that seen Steve being joined by Christie and Aldo on backing vocals.
Throughout the show Steve shows himself to be far more than just a hired gun for other performers. Put his vocal performance and guitar work up next to anyone he has played with and he is on par with the best, and very often eclipses what they do with his own material.
It time people clicked onto this and started getting on board with the Crazy Truth album and then checked out what he has doe with his brother in The Contes and Crown Jewels.
Steve has provided me with some fantastic nights of entertainment and everyone who attends one of his shows leaves knowing that they have seen something special.
If you call yourself a music fan, and especially one who leans towards rock and roll played with fire and passion then do yourself a favour and don't miss the remaining dates on this tour and buy that fuckin' album.


  1. Gooooooo Rank Berry <3

  2. More than happy with the review and were all delighted you enjoyed our set (Especially the singer). The image thing will be something we will take into deep consideratino but first we wanted to see what the reaction to our music would be like. And on the whole, everyone who has seen us has sung our praises. We also won 2 battle of the Bands in the space of 8 days (One beiong the Steve Conte Support BOTB) so we feel very confident in what we are doing at present.

    Thank sooo much for including us and we hope to cross paths with you again.

    Jamie - Vocals
    Brian - Guitar
    Sean - Guitar
    Bryan - Bass
    Iain - Drums

    Rank Berry

  3. You're welcome. The image thing is an observation so as with anything in a review just take what you want from it.