My second helping this year of former Gillan, Episode Six and Quatermass drummer Mick Underwood's Glory Road which had a very special surprise in store towards the end of the gig for Gillan fans only!
The Rock Patch is a new live venture which aims to hold heavy rock gigs on Wednesday nights at the Cabbage Patch pub which also plays home to the bluesy Eel Pie Club and is ideally situated just across the road from the Twickers train station and with the very fine red wine on special offer of a tenner, I knew I was in for a very classy evening.
Mick Underwood's Glory Road also include the Summers brothers Jeff and Gary on guitar and bass with Rob Cooksley on vocals and Roy Shipston on the keyboard. The set list is a variety of Gillan favourites plus a couple of Quatermass tunes, plus a few other notable tunes.
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With the former screamer Ian Gillan busy these last few decades with Deep Purple many of these Gillan gems don't get heard live any more, so Underwood's Glory Road gives fans of Gillan a real chance to relive some golden memories of a band that some rock fans tend to forget that they dominated the singles and album charts back in the mid-eighties, even playing such massive festivals such as the Monsters Of Rock at Donington and even headling the Reading Festival.
In the audience was former Atomic Rooster/Cactus and Leaf Hound singer Peter French who incidentally sang on an original take of the single 'Nightmare', a track written by Gillan keyboardist Colin Towns and was originally intended as a solo track by Towns before Ian Gillan decided to have a pop at it with the band and it became a huge European hit.
But many were nudging each other as former Gillan/Mammoth and current G.M.T bass player John McCoy was also inside the venue. More of him later.
A storming and breathtaking 'Unchain Your Brain' rips open the set followed by the swirling 'Vengeance'. 'No Easy Way' is neatly re-worked and what was formally a vehicle for Bernie Torme now features a nice keyboard workout from Shipston. The Quatermass classic 'Black Sheep Of The Family is a real stomper, a track later covered by Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow when Ronnie James Dio was in the band. From the Quatermass II project 'River' is a very good solid rocker.
'Road To Glory' is a new track penned by the Summers brothers and on this evidence more new material would be welcomed. M.A.D. (Mutually Assured Destruction) is a beautiful piece of music, nicely forming the path for 'Heartbreaker', a great bluesy track done by Peace, a band that Underwood was in for a while with Free's Paul Rodgers.
Led Zep's 'Whole Lotta Love' gives a platform for Underwood to impress with a drum solo expressing that he still has that magic. The set ended with a frantic 'New Orleans'... Hey, hey, hey, yah indeed.
Before the encores Gary Summers informed the Rock Patch that John McCoy was at the bar and he didn't need too much persuasion to join in. Jaws were dropped as for the first time in thirty years, ever since Gillan played their last ever show at Wembley Arena back in 1982 in fact, that Mick Underwood and John McCoy were to perform live on stage together for an historic occasion.
It was a real joy to witness the cover singles of 'Trouble' and 'Lucille' with both Underwood and McCoy grinning at each other whilst my friend Jim Rowland and myself stared on in disbelief.
The crowd wouldn't let it finish that easy, so an unplanned take on the rock standard of 'Rock Me Baby', with McCoy jokingly saying "I hope to fuck these guys know this song", brought the evening to a very happy ending. Let's hope they bring along messers Torme and Towns to the next gig. As for Ian Gillan... One can only dream... You never know, one day there could be a Future Shock!
MetalTalk's Mark Taylor and Leaf Hound's drummer Jim Rowland meet their boyhood heroes Mick Underwood and John McCoy
Unchain Your Brain
No Easy Way
Black Sheep Of The Family
Sleeping On The Job
She Tears Me Down
Road To Glory
On The Rocks
Whole Lotta Love
Rock Me Baby
You can check out MetalTalk's Mark Taylor's in depth interview with Mick Underwood recorded earlier this year here...
For a review of the gig at the Merton Manor Club last May click here.
You can see MetalTalk.net's Mark Taylor's many reviews and interviews right here. It's an impressive list...