|Ten/Serpentine/White Widdow - Pontypridd, Muni Arts Centre - 1st June 2012.|
|Written by Dave Prince|
|Saturday, 09 June 2012 04:31|
Now my friends the review you are reading is one I never thought I'd ever write, largely because the gig I've just witnessed is nothing short of a modern day miracle. Having been billed as a night of music for fans of Journey and Whitesnake, which was aimed to entice your average Joe public in through the door, this statement also gave us "in the know" the pride of knowing we were amongst the first to support this great line up. What am I on about? Well White Widdow, Serpentine and Ten have just played the final night of their UK tour in the Pontypridd Muni Arts Centre to an audience of AOR fans that put their money where their mouth is and got behind the music they love.
As I got to the venue, the VIP meet & greet was underway and the bands themselves were as gracious as ever with all in attendance. The guys behind the VIP meet & greet have put a lot of thought into this and the goodie bags were a great touch. As the meet & greet ended the doors opened and the venue quickly filled up. The atmosphere was electric to say the least.
White Widdow were given the task of opening up tonight proceedings and I can truly say that even with a brand new drummer, the band are truly on fire. Taking to the stage with a confidence fitting an arena band. Jules & co rocked the house down with their brand world class rock. Songs such as 'Reckless Nights' and 'Do You Remember' sound great and fresh and take on an entirely different dimension in a live setting. Hell even 'Cry Wolf' which I dislike on CD sounds great here. Seriously this band is fast becoming one of my new favourite bands.
Now onto the homecoming kings, Serpentine. With this their first ever Welsh date and three fifths of the band being 'local', this was always going to be something special, and oh boy it was... the whispers in the crowd of "will the new guy be as good as Tony Mills?" were quickly put to rest with the opening song 'Deep Down (There's A Price For Love)' and literally the swelling crowd went absolutely nuts. Yes this was the moment we were all waiting for... the UK's finest AOR band playing in Wales. Following up with classic after AOR classic, comes easy to this band, and it makes me sick... with pride, as I feel as if I've grown up these guys and can honestly say that the 5 of them are some of the nicest guys in rock you will ever meet, right up there with the Poleys, Laneys and Delericts of this world.
In singer Matt Black they have the ace in the pack, boy can this guy sing, plus his banter with the crowd is refreshing. Even with him going into the pit and taking a packet of crisps from someone in the front row and feeding Chris Gould with them during a solo... pure class! Having spoken to Gareth-David Noon earlier in the day and him telling me that they were actually thinking of recording the gig. It's a shame that this didn't happen, as it would've been a hell of a show to have a copy of, especially with Enzo from White Widdow guesting on 'Dreamer' and by the final song 'Whatever Heartache' the band are simply on fire and in the process laying to rest the ghost Didge Digital. Whoever said keyboard players aren't cool obviously hasn't seen the Noon live.
And so we come to the main event folks, the long overdue return of Ten. Having witnessed Gary Hughes and his merry men live back in '96, I was intrigued to see what the 2012 version was all about. Well not much has changed, okay the faces might have, but the music is the same as ever. Now I was never a big fan of Ten, however I love Gary's solo work and his production skills are second to none, and tonight Gary has the crowd eating out the palm of his hand from the word go.
Playing a good mix from their back catalogue and newer songs from 'Stormwarning' the band could simply do no wrong, even if their drummer bore a strange resemblance to JD & The FDCs main man Jamie Delerict, what with all his tattoos and CBGB vest. I suppose my main problem with Ten has always been that the band never look to be having fun on stage. Hell they still don't move that much, well no one apart from Bassist Steve Mckenna anyway, he was actually the most enjoyable part of the show. Still with songs such as 'After The Love Has Gone', 'Ten Fathoms Deep' and 'The Hourglass And The Landslide' you really can't go wrong on the music front.
As with all great things sadly the night has to end, but I can honestly say that no one I talked to left the venue without being blown away. Everything about this show showcases the fact that AOR is very much alive and kicking. So all that is left is for me to offer my sincerest thanks to Mike Exley for giving rock I love a very good name indeed...
To visit TEN'S music store on Amazon - CLICK HERE