Les-Fest is as much about established acts as it is about new acts, and for some people you automatically think that new bands are full of enthusiastic teenagers trying to fulfill their rock n' roll dreams - whilst the reality is there are some new bands out there where the band members are old enough to have experience of being in a professional band whilst still having enough zest to give the younger bands a run for their money. Step forward Killing From A Distance.
Although this gig is only their second ever, this is a band with a big presence, a solid rock image, a solid professional sound and some solid tunes to back it all up. Take the song 'Killing From A Distance' itself - it's a mid-paced number but it's just such a great track with a great intro from drummer Kevin Mooney, leading into some great guitars riffs courtesy of Andy Farrell and Ian Murray.
From the looks of their performance tonight, it is a track that the band enjoy performing live too as they indulge in some onstage japery whilst not missing a beat.
Article continues below...
That's the thing with this band, though - all through the set, they just seem to love every minute of being up on that stage. Front man Jim Jackson just oozes charisma and has a vocal ability that a lot of younger front men would do well to take note of - a really good job. Jackson actually reminds me a bit of Phil Moog from UFO in his heyday, but then again, that could just be me!
With a short set tonight, the band race through things as we're treated to a number of tracks from their forthcoming EP. 'The World Is Cruel' has a killer riff from Farrell and also features another great solo from Murray who stands atop the drum riser to show his skills off the assembled crowd whilst 'Come On In' already seems to be a bit of a crowd pleaser and brings the set to a close.
Out of all the tracks played tonight, it was 'Maria Maria' that I warmed to the most - probably because it's just so damn catchy! Murray and Farrell show their skills off within the confines of an unrehearsed guitar duel which the audience at the front lap up, and the musicians themselves obviously enjoyed it too!
Killing From A Distance may have only started their journey down the rock n' roll road, but they look like they will go the distance (no pun intended!), so I'd recommend that you keep an eye out for them in a venue near you soon!
Before the gig, I sat down with founder member Andy Farrell for a quick chat to learn more about Killing From A Distance: When asked how the band came together Andy explains: "I'm trying to create a Journey/UFO type vibe with a bit of Priest thrown in for good measure - you can't go wrong with that, really, can you?
"It seems to be going pretty well so far", he continues, "Jim (Jackson, vocalist) is a great singer and I wrote all the material specifically for him, y'see, and I have worked on and off with the rest of the band over a number of years and various different bands so I know how each member is best at what they do.
"I was in a band before and got a bit tired of it and I said to Jim that I had been writing a lot of material and he suggested that we just go and record it – so we did. We demoed the music and then I wrote the lyrics and I passed the instrumental tracks to the rest of the band before I ran through the lyrics with Jim, and he always seems to get a good handle onto what I'm trying to achieve.
"It's going good, the musics a bit more rock orientated and a bit heavier than I have been playing in the past. It's going in the right direction - the direction that I want it to go in, anyway. I'm not an egomaniac, by the way, but as Ronnie James Dio once said - 'there can be plenty of input, but only one decision maker!' - and that's me!" before laughing at the comparison.
"The band all really steps up the mark when it comes to learning the stuff and performing it live. I have to say that I'm absolutely delighted with the line up we have, and I don't want to jinx it - I'm not going to say it won't change in the future, because change is inevitable. But at the moment it's a steady line up, we're doing great and we're adding more tracks to the upcoming CD. There's another three tracks we're thinking of putting on it and the artwork should be done by the end of August so it's all looking positive."
Andy explained to me that the band's first ever gig was the day before at the Alba West Festival (a motorbike show held annually at Stevenson in Ayrshire) to "try out some of the new material" to which he said the band went down "great – a really good audience."
"Luckily for us, we were on early", he explains, "because the band who came on after us blew up the generator! We had lots of positive comments, though, and we went down really well."
When asked about how the Les-Fest appearance came about, Andy explained that his previous band supported Mothers Ruin (featuring ex-Heavy Pettin member Gary Moat) at a gig in Glasgow, and they were asked to play Les-Fest by the festival founder Dave Ritchie after he saw the set and "he liked what he saw" explains Andy.
When asked what he thought of the festival itself, he says "it's a great place to have a festival – a really nice place and a really nice atmosphere” he says, “and everyone I've spoken to has been really nice and the bands are all well up for it! If I'd known the weather was going to be this nice, I'd have brought my tent! It's good to be involved in a festival like this though because it's a good way to meet other folk and make connections."
With that, Andy is called off to a photo session so our chat is cut short, but this band is certainly worth catching live and I'm looking forward to hearing their upcoming CD release too!
Thanks very much to Andy Farrell for his time.
Killing From A Distance
The World Is Cruel
Come On In
Killing From A Distance are:
Jim Jackson – Vocals
Andy Farrell – Guitars
Ian Murray – Guitars
Cami Morlotti – Bass
Kevin Mooney – Drums