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  SHOCK CITY PRODUCTIONS IMPRESS WITH NEW BLOOD II SHOWCASE
New Blood II featuring Last Alibi, Neon Hurricane, Black King Cobra
Hard Rock Café, Glasgow


johnny main
Words: Johnny Main, Pictures: Carlan Braid


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Glasgow based Shock City Productions have been making a name for themselves since 2013 by giving up and coming local bands as well as established artists an opportunity to play shows in (primarily) Glasgow and Edinburgh that may not otherwise have happened.

Working with renowned international acts like Geoff Tate (ex-Queensryche), Chris Glen (ex-Sensational Alex Harvey Band/Michael Schenker Group), Uli Jon Roth (ex-The Scorpions), and Chris Holmes (ex-WASP) as well as up and coming artists familiar to regular MetalTalk readers including Inglorious, Cats In Space, Stone Broken, Mason Hill and Space Elevator.

Keeping their eye out for the next small act with the potential to break through to a larger market is always on the core of their business model and it's showcases like New Blood that bring in fans from across Scotland and further afield and it's an ideal opportunity for the bands to show exactly what they're capable of.

The most recent one was held only last week at Glasgow's Hard Rock Café, so the MetalTalk team headed down to see what was on offer.

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Glasgow based rockers Black King Cobra were first up and it's always difficult being the opening band but these guys had solid support in the audience and a great sound to back them up. Frontman Callum Moran is an amiable chap whose between song banter with the audience went down well but he also has a powerful singing voice and he's not afraid to give the audience value for money in the performance stakes.

'Ball And Chain' was one of the best from their set and certainly the heaviest number in the burgeoning back catalogue and it saw drummer Steve Todd really laying into the drum kit whilst guitarist Ross Clark stole the show with an incredible guitar solo that's deservedly rewarded with a round of applause from some sections of the audience.

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'Harvest Moon' was greeted with disappointment from some quarters as it the set closer, but Moran reacted quickly to reassure the audience that there'll be plenty from the band more next time. As a show closer the band give it everything one more time with bass player Johnny Keel and Todd leading the way as the rhythm crosses the spectrum from soft and subtle to full on heavy rocker with deceptive ease.

As the band took their final bows, they were given a good reception which makes you wonder if they drew the short straw by having to go on first or whether they elected to do so they could get the beers in early - either way they won't be going on first for much longer if they keep producing solid and entertaining performances like this.

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Black King Cobra setlist:
Blood Rush
Rusted
Wrack N' Ruin
Ruin Of Youth
Mr Dependable
Ball And Chain
Harvest Moon

Black King Cobra are:
Callum Moran – Vocals
Ross Clark – Guitar
Johnny Keel – Bass Guitar
Steve Todd – Drums

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We last caught up with Glasgow based Neon Hurricane at the city's Ferry in June where they showcased their talents to a more modest crowd than had come to see them here, so rightly, out of the window went the mucking about and a more professional persona was adopted than perhaps they've showed in the past. Certainly louder than Black King Cobra before them, Neon Hurricane were unfortunately at the mercy of the sound man for most of their set.

The vocals of frontman Jason Minto were exceptionally loud throughout their set, sometimes to the point where it was difficult to make out the lyrics and he was also very nervous which gave a somewhat uneven performance at the beginning which slowly disappeared as their set went on.

Guitarist Graeme Craig's performance was suffering too as the guitar never seem loud enough as it was constantly swamped by the thundering bass of Connor Browning, however the band soldiered on as best they could pulling out a selection of old favourites and newer numbers.

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Popular number 'Raining Mondays' featured the duo of Browning and drummer James Maxwell showing the makings of a formidable pairing and Maxwell was allowed to shine through on 'Fake It Till You Make It' later on with a faultless performance while 'Sweet Lady' had a slower pace and allowed Craig his centre stage spot.

'Hex' was a brand new track, and it was the point in the set where the guitar was finally where it should be – audible, front and centre. It's a fast paced rocker that had a few people down the front bopping along to it and there was also a bit of community clapping which the audience were more than happy to get involved in.

The Browning penned 'King Kong' is without a doubt their best number and it's good to see that held off towards the end of their set, where it rightfully belongs. It's a real jewel in the Neon Hurricane crown and they finishing up their set with 'Follow The Rock N' Roll', featuring Minto on harmonica showing he's much more than just a vocalist, was a master stroke as the band really show everything they have to offer in one single song while giving the audience one last chance to stamp their feet and clap along.

A solid but not a faultless performance overall - partly the soundman and partly nerves - but if they carry on as they have been doing then the confidence will come, and so, I'm sure, will more gig offers.

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Neon Hurricane setlist:
Higher Place
Raining Mondays
Fake It
Hex
Sweet Lady
Shady Little Faces
Little House
King Kong
Hypnotized
Follow The Rock N' Roll

Neon Hurricane are:
Jason Minto – Vocals
Graeme Craig – Guitars
Connor Browning – Bass Guitar
James Maxwell – Drums

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Last up were Last Alibi, one of the great new bands in Glasgow and a band that without a shadow of a doubt are destined for much bigger things. Last seen in the city supporting Stone Broken, they just ooze professionalism from the excellent sound throughout their set to their material itself and, of course, their musicianship.

Pulling a big audience, the party started as soon as their intro music (Thin Lizzy's 'Waiting For An Alibi') kicked in as the band made their entrance on stage to a huge ovation with frontman Jamie Ramage sauntering up to the microphone and simply saying: "Glasgow, we're Last Alibi and it's Friday night!" to an even louder ovation.

Firing through their set, the band barely had time to rest as they bounced from one number to the next with flawless ease. The fast pace drumming of Calum Flint during the straightforward rocking opener 'Angel Instincts' gave way to 'The Prophet which is one of the most powerful tracks in the band's repertoire and it's delivered with power and passion, especially from Ramage whilst the lyrical guitar from guitarist Andy Christie pushed the sing along gracefully.

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'Caught It On The River' had some of the audience dancing along while new single, 'Vice City', had Christie taking centre stage during the intro before stepping aside as Ramage launched into it and it didn't take the audience long to start singing along when encouraged by Ramage to get involved.

The band even sling a few choice covers into their set – namely their own interpretation of The Animals' 'House Of The Rising Sun' which they make their own in what is a different but very entertaining version of the song with the heavy drums and equally heavy bass guitar courtesy of Allen Bell, and a performance from Ramage that really stretches him as a performer. A riotous run through Slade's 'Cum On Feel The Noize' seals the deal showing that the boys are in party mood and the audience don't need asking twice to join in, as pretty much everyone present is either singing along or tapping their feet in time.

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The evening ends on a high with 'Generation Dead', an old favourite that's well placed at the end of their regular set, which had one punter down the front armed with a pint in one hand and an air guitar in the other rocking around in front of the stage trying his best not to bump into anyone or spill his drink.

Christie really plays out of his skin here whilst Ramage tried to drain every last drop of enthusiasm from the audience. Now that's how rock'n'roll should be done!

Last Alibi were worthy headliners here and from start to finish put in a polished and faultless performance. This band will be huge, so watch this space!

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Last Alibi setlist:
Angel Instincts
Burning Out
Drive Me To Distraction
The Prophet And The Thief
All Over Me
House Of The Rising Sun
Caught It On The River
Cum On Feel The Noize
Vice City
Generation Dead

Last Alibi are:
Jamie Ramage – Vocals
Andy Christie – Guitars
Allen Bell – Bass Guitar
Callum Flint – Drums

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