Band: House Of Lords, Robin Beck & Estrella

Venue: The Blyth & Tyne, Blyth

Date: 19 March 2014



With a crumbling Rock scene in Newcastle it takes the likes of the Blyth and Tyne in Blyth to take up the mantle for bands to play live North of Sheffield and South of Glasgow.  Originally this tour also included dates in York and Bradford, both of which we intended to visit, so when they were both cancelled, due to problems with promoters and venue closures, suddenly the Robin Beck tour with House of Lords was cut down to just three UK shows, one of those being the Blyth and Tyne.  It was a no brainer then that this was a must see show and boy was the 50 mile round trip worth it.

The small intimate venue gave the perfect atmosphere for this the opening leg of the UK dates, which got underway around 8 o’clock with Scotland’s wild-childs Estrella, who kicked-off what would be a real rock n' roll party night in fine style.  Their set comprised of songs from their debut album 'Come Out To Play’.

Opening things up with ‘Shout’, it was clear from the off the Scots were here have a good time, with charismatic frontman Paul Gunn leading the charge, while brother Luke threw out the licks on lead guitar, both aided and abetted by the powerhouse rhythm section of his other brother Nathan on bass and the sticksmith Leon McPherson.

The raucous rock continued as the band really got into their stride with ‘She’s Got It’ and the excellent ‘One Love’, with its 80’s hard feel that really got thumbs up from the knowledgeable crowd, who know a good thing when they hear it.

The boys from Aberdeen kept the good times coming with the stomping ‘Do It Till We Drop’, before McPherson got centre-stage opening up ‘Rocker Lily’, then it was time to funk things up a touch with the title track of the debut ’Come Out To Play’.  Think Def Leppard meets Extreme for this one.  Then it was time to bring it down a touch with ‘Whatever It Is’, which gave us time to get our breath back, before the set closed as it opened with a big time meaty rocker ‘Party’.

This was four guys that won a lot of friends here tonight and I’m sure they’ll win over more fans as they continue the tour with House of Lords as they cross Europe next month.  Definitely one band that should be high on your list of bands to check out.  If you're heading down to see Robin and House of Lords at Bilston, then get down early and check out Estrella also, you won't be disappointed.

As we watched Jimi Bell, James Christian and BJ Zamba tune up, with James on bass guitar, it was clear that Robin Beck was coming on next.  Also joining the band on guitar was Jorge Salan

The diminutive figure of Robin was led through the crowd to the stage by their tour manager.  This little lady hit the stage running, as it was straight into the set with 'If You Were A Woman’ from her 'Trouble or Nothing' album.  Instantly she had to crowd in the palm of her hand and despite not being able to hear herself in her in-ear monitors, she continued the set keeping with the 'Trouble or Nothing' album for ‘Don’t Lose Any Sleep’ and the excellent ‘Hold Back The Night’.

The sound troubles continued but like the professional she is, she persevered and bantered with the adoring fans in who's eyes she could do no wrong.

The set continued with ‘Save Up All Your Tears’, taken again from 'Trouble or Nothing' and despite the lack of on stage sound, Robin sounded great from our side of the stage and things got even better as she nearly brought down the house with ‘The One’ from 'The Great Escape' album.

A kindly soul brought James a glass of wine and when Robin asked where hers was, she was rewarded minutes later with one herself, sadly the Blyth and Tyne isn’t known for its extensive wine cellar and the wine I’m afraid wasn’t to Robins liking, which she spat back out into her glass before a quick quip to the crowd telling them just how foul it tasted.  With the wine rejected it was time for Robin to produce the sweet taste of music once more with ‘Wish You Were Here’, a track that never actually appeared on any album.  One track that definitely appears on an album is the wonderful angsty 'Catfight' from Robins excellent new album 'Underneath'.  This one rocked big style, before it was back to 'Trouble Or Nothing' for the melodic tones of the ballad ‘Tears In The Rain’.

It was time for another little drink, no not more of the house red but a little of the "Real Thing" as the tour manager presented Robin with a named bottle of Coca-Cola.  Robin asked if anyone was celebrating anything special and presented the bottle to a fan who was celebrating a new house, then it was time for what else but ‘First Time’ the crowd drank in all the goodness from this one (pun intended), the set was closed with a cover of Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Hide Your Heart’ but this wasn’t the last as the crowd yelled for more and James gathered the band for a bow, Robin returned to the stage and gave us one more, as she rocked out with the Glen Burntnik penned ‘Follow You’ which wrapped up a great set.

But this wasn’t the end of James and the boys a quick turn around and the House of Lords hit the stage without pomp or circumstance as Christian, Bell and Zamba were joined by Chris McCarvill for what turned out to be a totally rocking set, that kicked off in fine style with ‘Sahara’, quickly followed by the excellent ‘Big Money’. The band had hit the ground running to the point that some people were caught unawares and rushed in from the bar, just in time for the first of the new songs from the excellent ‘Precious Metal’, the storming ‘Battle’, which showed Bell at this finger flying best, throwing out the licks with such ease, while Zampa and McCarvill pounded out the monstrous rhythms, with the icing on the cake being of course Christian's unmistakable vocals.  This is the new House of Lord, lots of edge, no pomp, just Hard Rock as it should be.

With a vast back catalogue to choose from it was to 'Cartesian Dreams' for the title track before bringing it down a touch with the fan favourite the beautiful ballad ‘Love Don’t Lie’.   Next up it was pedal to the metal with ‘Come To My Kingdom’, before the second of the new songs from 'Precious Metal', 'Permission To Die’, to which James stated after a recent bought of Spanish Flu, he really felt that this was just wanted to do.  

Then it was time for McCarvill to show his dexterity on the four string with the solo ‘Demon Wheel’, which led into the storming ‘I’m Free’, before another stonker from the new album, the excellent ‘Swimming With The Sharks’, which just happens to be one of my favourite tracks off the new album.  I have to say, I thought it sounded good on album, but live the band take this one to a whole new level.  Pure Hard Rock gold.

It was then time for Zamba to show his chops with the drums solo ‘Drumagogery’, before rolling back the years to 'Demons Down' for ‘Can't Find My Way Home’, a song that still sounds good after all these years.  Switching gears up a notch or two, next up we had the storming ‘Rock Bottom’.  This one really had the house jumping.  Like Robin's 'First Time’, the House of Lords have there must play track and that of course is ‘I Wanna Be Loved’ the crowd just loved singing along with this one.  

The set was rounded off in superb style with the aptly titled ‘Pleasure Palace’, because it was pleasure to all who attended to see one of the best Hard Rock bands around doing what they do best, with all parties taking the time out to sign autographs and chat with fans after show, even though we were getting into the wee small hours.

I know the band have limited dates here in the UK, but I highly recommend if you haven’t got a ticket already, then beg, steal or borrow to get one, because all three bands put on a hell of a rock show.  If you're in Europe and reading this, then get your tickets early for the House Of Lords header tour with Estrella in support, you'll be in for a treat!

I must also commend the Blyth & Tyne for putting on these great bands as well, we look forward to seeing a lot more at this venue.

Review by: Barry McMinn & Little Linda




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