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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Soldier On - Broadcast - 18/01/13 (Glasgow)

Maybe the stars aligned, maybe I was too close to the speakers, but when Soldier On! hit the stage at Broadcast I felt it.
Something changed in me. That surge of adrenalin that music can kick start pulsed around my body and it felt good.

There are some bands through history that had, or have, to be seen to be fully appreciated.
Dr Feelgood were one of course, The Clash another, and the Jim Jones Revue are a modern one who are currently setting stages alight with their live shows that I would recommend putting on your 'must see before I die' list, and now I feel safe in saying that the boys from Soldier On! Have just been added to that list to.

Back to the beginning of the story though as I didn't just stumble across them on a stage.
Initially I had heard some rumblings about a new band who were making some waves locally, and then coincidentally I received some of their songs to play on my radio show.
This isn't that unusual as we all experience it. We hear a word and think to ourselves that it's one that is rarely used and then for the next few days it's mentioned again in the street, on the television and in print.
That was the deal with Soldier On! They were mentioned in glowing terms, I got some tracks sent to me to listen to for consideration of some airtime on my radio show (Mesi Radio) and for a few days the name just kept cropping up again and again.

Of course there is always a reason for a good buzz about a band, and after listening to them I was more than happy to juggle the running order up and find some space to give them airtime, and as they say, one thing then led to another and that other being me trekking up to Glasgow to check them out live.
Before the gig itself I met up with the band in the bar upstairs and it felt like I was walking into a cafe in early 60s London, or a cut scene from Quadrophenia. All that was missing was a line of scooters at the front door. After a quick round of introduction and a short chat I then made my way down stairs to the basement and eagerly awaited their set as the excitement was already building up a bit and I wanted to get myself into a prime position to enjoy it.

The band themselves filed onto stage one by one and eyed the crowd with an air of 'here we go' about them.
It's an entrance that conjures up a remembrance of the the past to an extent, and also one that acts as a watershed moment between them taking their position and front man Jordan bursting onto stage to grab the mic and start the evening proper with a bit of showbiz shock and awe.
Powering into their latest release 'narcolepsy' they started off on a high with no attempt at all to start from a slow build up.

This is it. It's all out there for everyone to grab onto right from the word go.

Jordan patrols the stage like a peacock on speed. A full on front man who has been watching how the legends do it. He's Roger Daltrey and James Brown all rolled into one and his hypnotic dance moves and biting lyrics had the crowd on his side straight away.
Next up the guys kept the tempo up with their version of The Beatles track Hey Bulldog.
I couldn’t keep my eyes off drummer Ross who would pounding the skins with the power and energy of a young Keith Moon, and strangely enough he has an uncanny likeness to him too. Liam as a bassist does what all good bassists do and holds everything together allowing guitarists Ben and Stephen to layer the swapping of riffs over the backbeat.

Being able to read a set and how it is being received is a sign of a good band and Soldier On! were right on the button when they slipped into calming the set down with a couple of acoustic numbers that allowed the audience to catch their breath.
A cover of The Small Faces ‘Itchycoo Park’ effortlessly slipped into a love song penned by Jordan who had written it for his girlfriend who was in the crowd. It's a nice touch and in a suitably sentimental moment the crowd joined him in on serenading her.
Once again it all just felt like the flow of the music was being guided rather expertly because just as everyone was ready for the rock and roll to be reintroduced it was with the track called 'Rhona' that was my first taste of them. It's a chirpy chirpy Britpop style track that brought the crowd back to life and had the front of the stage was swamped with parka wearing lads and girls in mini dresses who were all dancing without a care in the world.

To finish the explosive set a cover of Jumping Jack Flash brought out the best moves of the night from Jordan and probably the best song of the night from the band.

Suffice to say that once it was all over I walked away from the venue with a spring in my step and a smile on my face, and isn't that what a good gig should provide?

The Stars had aligned, and Soldier On! will be definitely be marching on to bigger gigs in the future, and I doubt there's a scooter rally in the UK that would benefit from throwing them a booking.

Review by Tommy Clark of The Third Class Ticket (mesi Radio)

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