Review of Roadway plus support @ Box, Glasgow, Thursday November 24th 2011
Well not literally, but the 6-piece rock outfit did spend most of last weekend touring parts of Scotland, in support of their fantastic debut (self-titled) EP, and, since I couldn’t make it to their Inverness show on Friday, I was on hand to check them out in Glasgow the night before.
To me, Glasgow is a city full to the brim with culture, with plenty room for variety in musical styles, and this gig was no different as we had two local acoustic acts, Thomas McAteer and Richard Gibson, to kick off the night’s proceedings.
Of course, this was going to be an interesting listening experience, as I prefer my live music to have a lot more balls behind it. However, both acts provided a really nice mix of covers and original material. Thomas had kept smiling throughout his set, despite fluffing up the chord sequence to the classic ‘Stand By Me’. Richard paid a heart-warming tribute to a relative, whom had recently passed away. All in all, a nice start to the evening, where it is apparent the crowd wanted to engage in another wee singsong. I also wanted to further feed my newly acquired taste for live acoustic music.
All prayers were answered as acoustic duo, Los Perros, took to the stage, starting off their set with an upbeat ‘Same Old Places’, a song that was written by these talented lads. The whole bar erupted into song at times, most notably to a fantastic version of Mumford and Sons, ‘Little Lion Man’, as well as Adele’s, ‘Someone Like You’.
To me, the band seemed, somewhat, nervous on stage. Ryan Thomson, juggling acoustic guitar and kick drum duties, as well as the occasional vocal part, sometimes found himself missing a drum hit, although he effortlessly got back into the swing of things. Connor Johnstone, on main vocals, fluctuated in pitch, although only very rarely, throughout the set. I was actually surprised to later find out that this was only their second gig together! Overall, I really enjoyed these guys, but my inner rock god was craving something a bit heavier by this point in the night.
It was a relief then that we had Clyping Kids up next. Hailing from Erskine, just outside Glasgow, Clyping Kids can be described as a, sort of, pop/alternative rock quartet. Again these guys are a relatively new band, only having started playing together in June this year.
For a newish band, they played a good number of their own material. In songs like ‘What’s For You’ and ‘Scheme Dreams’, there was definitely a strong Weezer and Stereophonics influence, with a hint of the Beatles thrown in for good measure. Whilst the songs were well written, I couldn’t help, but feel that they struggled a bit, which was a bit of shame. The groove drifted at times, but the rest of the band powered on, making attempts to work around it. The crowd were sympathetic and still cheered the lads on! Probably not their best set, but, to miss-quote The Offspring, the ‘Kids ARE alright.
To finish off the night, we, of course, had Roadway, providing us with a healthy dosage of classic sleazy RAWK! Kicking off their set with the first track from their EP, ‘Fight For Freedom’, the guys show how it’s really done. I, particularly, loved this track, due to the Iron Maiden-esque dual guitar work provided by Bod Elder and, main lead guitarist, Ross McEwen. Frazer Mustard, on keyboards, proved to be quite the virtuoso, getting his chance to prove that it isn’t just guitarists who can shred.
I was blown away by the brilliant, ‘Midnight Dance’, which followed after. A solid rhythm section was provided by the efforts of Iain MacLeod, bass guitar, and Ryan McEwen, who pounds those drums like it’s no one’s business. Dougie Greig’s impressive vocals cut through the mighty wall of sound, projecting into all corners of Box. I was then able to catch my breath for a bit as the band toned it down for the chilling ‘This Is Why’. Hats off to Dougie, as he does a fantastic job emulating the vocal work of Doogie White (ex-Rainbow vocalist), who provided the vocals for this track on the EP. The ballad theme continues into the beginning of ‘Time To Say Your Goodbyes’, but the pace is soon picked right back up and continues right to the final song of the night, ‘I Am Jerusalem’.
All I can say is that Roadway are one of the most energetic “classic” rock bands I have seen in a long time and are proving to also be one of the hardest working upcoming acts. I, honestly, can’t wait to watch them play the Winter Showcase at the Ironworks on December 28th. I also look forward to seeing what’s in store for the band in the New Year.
Written by Mark Dubanowski
Photos by Mark Dubanowski