Rock Music has been around long enough for the inclusion of virtually every other genre of music with the occasional gripe from the older crowd, but at its base, Rock Music was born from a cross of Country and the Blues. The historians would have us believe that every Rock Song has already been written- that there is no room to evolve. And while it’s true that some bands are able to push the envelope and add more to the mix through new inspirations, others loudly and proudly show their roots.
Band of Skulls are one of the latter- more specifically, the trio of musicians (Russell Marsden, Emma Richardson, and Matt Hayward) hearken back to a time of great garage bluesy hard rock bands of the sixties. Think back to their 2009 Debut- how many albums in that year, or even over the subsequent years since, could boast such a formidable opening 1-2-3 punch to the throat for a debut CD as Band of Skulls offered with Light of the Morning, Diamonds and Pearls, and I Know What I Am? 2012’s Sweet Sour continued much of the direction from the band’s debut. Songs such as The Devil Takes Care of His Own, SweetSour, and Lies, all have some mighty dirty-sexy riffs.
Band of Skulls – Matt Hayward on Drums
On this tour, Band of Skulls are board to support the release their latest long player, Himalayan, perhaps the band’s most accessible offering to day, every song is a hummer. As with their previous two releases there are some sweet rockers, but the rhythms here feel more dance-able, the ballads are bigger, the influences wider and more varied. Synthesizers seem a little more apparent in the Himalayan mix and the arrangements, at times, more akin to the Beatles and less to Sabbath.
Here is the set list for the Commodore show:
Asleep at the Wheel ***
You’re Not Pretty But You Got it Goin’ On **
I Know What I Am *
I Guess I know you Fairly well ***
Brothers and Sisters ***
Cold Flame *
Hoochie Coochie ***
I Feel Like Ten Men, Nine Dead and One Dying ***
Devil Takes Care of His Own **
Hollywood Bowl *
Light of the Morning *
Diamonds and Pearls *
** off the 2009 album Baby Darling Doll Face Honey
** off the 2012 album Sweet Sour
*** off the 2014 album Himalayan
Band of Skulls – Emma Richardson on Bass
The lights, the sound, the presence, it all came across masterfully in a live venue. Displaying a proficiency on stage to match that of the greats of years gone past, this great band hailing from Southampton England, lightly stepped on the stage and loudly stepped into our collective heads at the Commodore Ballroom this past May 28th 2014.
With a pleated drapes, roses, and funky white stage lights used in conjunction to the standard venue lighting , the Commodore Stage was superbly lit and presented for the packed room. The set list contained a large number of songs from the most recent album along with several from the first and a few from their second.
Think back to their 2009 Debut- how many albums in that year, or even over the subsequent years since, could boast such a formidable opening 1-2-3 punch to the throat for a debut CD as Band of Skulls offered with Light of the Morning, Diamonds and Pearls, and I Know What I Am?
At times, it felt as though drummer Matt Hayward were channeling Jon Bonham behind the kit, guitarist/lead vocalist Russell Marsden at a Jimmy Page levels of proficiency, and bassist Emma Richardson like Muff Winwwood and giving vocals like Pretenders great Chrissy Hynde- the members of Band of Skulls possess the talent and attention to details to draw comparisons to several greats while bringing something new.
Band of Skulls – Russell Marsden on Guitar
You may also wish to watch this insightful short documentary of the band prior to the release of Sweet Sour.
Until the Next Time, Band of Skulls!
Photographs and words © Gerry Toews / anditrocks.com All Rights Reserved