Rage Of Angels, if you didn't know, is the latest creation of Ged Rylands, better known for Ten and his work with Tyketto.
The recent album, 'Dreamworld', is a superb piece of writing and musicianship featuring a plethora of musicians and particulary vocalists, so the question was always going to be how the live band produced the many different styles that are so prevalent on the album.
That question was answered very soon into the live set and dispelled any worries anyone could have had. As is the way in these days of buzz words, if I had to use one word to describe their performance... dynamite. The longer version is below...
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First things first, the band. As well as mainman Ged, guitarist Neil Fraser, bassist Gavin Cooper, drummer Joao Colaco, vocalist Jason Morgan and keyboard player Irvinn Parratt make up the band. Fraser of course was heavily involved with Ten for more than a short while and the link between him and Rylands from that band is very evident as they fit together as guitarists very well indeed, a match made in dreamworld you could say.
Bassist Cooper was offered the gig as original bassist Al Barrow's other commitments (naturally enough with Magnum) just didn't allow the time for this. And it has to be said it was a very good choice – Gavin is a fine bassist indeed and armed with five strings on this tour, it was even more impressive.
Drummer Joao is another top notch musician, and with Gavin, they make up a rhythm section that are a match for just about anyone. Irvinn Parratt, although a little hidden on the side of the stage (more to do with the stage size than any Black Sabbathesque discrimination) adds depth to the sound and bear in mind there are a lot of keyboards on the album.
All more than top notch musicians and they fit so well together, perhaps just as important.
So to the vocalist, Jason Morgan – Ged told me after the gig that he was recommended to him and almost the instant he heard him sing it was a question of not letting him leave the room until he was a part of Rage Of Angels. After listening to him singing, the only conclusion that can be drawn is Ged is a very fine judge.
It is not only vocally that he shines - his on stage charisma. albeit with a very interesting accent (his words not mine!) shines through and he is a perfect fit for the band. Being a singer though, it is voice you are rightly judged on and he passes that test with flying colours – pure voice, filled with soul, passion and even having time for the odd scream in the best sense of the word. Think Halford in his prime.
So to the music. Not surprisingly the gig was a live rendition of the album, although not in the same track order and the live sound offered a sometimes different approach to the tracks and all in all, one that worked. 'Dreamworld' and the filled with passion 'See You Walking By' kicked proceedings off before 'Falling' and 'Beating Of Your Heart' were given the treatment.
Those of you that have listened to the album (and if you haven't then sort yourselves out) will know the material is very varied in its songwriting and style but all the styles melted into the gig perfectly, perhaps better than the studio versions – this is a rock band, a very very good live band and we all know that is the true yardstick they are measured on.
Twin guitarists flanking the stage, rhythm section patrolling the centre stage and vocalist keeping every single audience member involved, this is a band in the true sense of the word and they give off that vibe of having fun to go along with it. 'Over And Over' and the instrumental 'Requiem' follow giving Jason Morgan time for a breather and a brief bevvy before Ged introduces the next one, 'We Live, We Breathe, We Die'.
This one, he tells us, was written from a very personal viewpoint, with people very close to him at the centre of his thoughts and the rest of the band respond with a truly massive performance, full of pathos and feeling, and at the end a brief unspoken thank you from Ged to Jason and the rest of the band said more than a thousand words ever could.
Bluesy rocker 'Spinnin Wheel' is next up and raises the tempo, a raucous and very well executed performance. The only divergence from the album is a version of Ten's 'Name Of The Rose' before 'Through It All' rounded things off.
There was no time for the Lizzy classic 'Boys Are Back In Town' but who needed it – these boys were in town and very happy about it the audience was too.
This truly was a band performance – yes the individuals delivered some rabble rousing performances, but it was their unity that stood out. And I have mentioned it before but in Jason Morgan they really have unearthed a gem of a vocalist.
Hopefully the rock public will take to this lot – that means you lot – trust me, they are very worth seeing and I am sure more UK dates will be forthcoming. Great band, superb musicians, genuinely nice guys... don't you just hate some people.