Cleverly combining the cocksurety of the rock of 80s Sunset Strip with full-fat, pumped-up Nashville-fringed swagger, Collateral offer significant cross-over appeal with their compelling ‘Four Shot’ EP already wreaking havoc on the nation’s airwaves.
Words: Andy Rawll, Pictures: Robert Sutton
At a time, when retro-rock bands abound and stadium wannabes proliferate, Collateral stand-out loud and proud as a band with the sonic weaponry to cause significant damage to the ears and wallets of voracious rock audiences, starved of bands that are truly capable of the alchemical combination of performance perfection and musical mastery.
Tonight’s show provided an exquisite example of why this band of Ramsgate rockers have made such significant headway in the twelve months since the release of their watershed single, ‘Midnight Queen’. The band’s ability to storm a stage and immediately grasp the attention of an audience with verve, passion and humour is certainly impressive. Yet, it’s the continued evolution of their set and the addition of stronger and stronger material that proves their commitment to achieve great things, where others have previously failed.
And so it proved, as they bounded onstage with the scorching ‘Hot Shot’, a devastating fist-pump of an anthem from their forthcoming (September 2019) new album, ignited by Todd Winger’s slick guitar and channeling the heavy, yet commercially appealing prime of Skid Row and Dokken in an opening blaze of glory.
It takes real guile to make a short mid-evening support set at an ailing central London basement club feel like a headline show at Hammersmith Odeon, but by the Gods of guy-liner and business-at-the-front-party-at-the-back mullet heaven, Collateral yet again delivered. No wonder they are not only shortlisted to appear on the coveted Rising stage at this year’s Ramblin’ Man Fair, they also have a prayer at securing a priceless place on a forthcoming Bon Jovi cruise.
Unlike their 80s forebears and role models, there’s nothing contrived or arrogant about the way they ply their trade. In many ways, they remind me of Little Angels, assured musicians, great songs and totally focused on ensuring that their audience shares the euphoria of performance. Singer Angelo Tristan may have the least rock’n’roll last name in the rock’n’roll permiverse, but just as classic rockers Statetrooper declared in 1986, he’s got the look and a heap-big voice to take your breath away.
Set staple ‘Going With The Wind’ breezes in, with Todd’s taut and economical guitar redolent of Bad Co’s Mick Ralphs with a storm-force vocal from Angelo that recalls pre-Robin Hood Bryan Adams and his trusty six-string sidekick, Keith Scott. ‘Just Waiting For You’ has that slow-burn appeal of pre-hysterical Leppard and like its predecessor really benefits from the use of acoustic guitar for the rhythm parts, lending a countrified air in contrast to the typical bright-lights, big-city lyrics. This encapsulates the appeal of the band; they’re bold without being brash, they’re loud without being lurid and most importantly, they’re eminently likeable and you want them to succeed.
With new songs like the semi-acoustic and nicely Tykettish ‘About This Boy’, the odds are looking very good indeed with the crowd ready to lap up the next stadium-beckoning anthem. However, in the high-kicking gig’s only misstep, the band stalled the momentum somewhat by gifting Todd a superfluous two-minute guitar solo work-out, rather than driving forward immediately into perhaps the most impressive new song of the evening in ‘Promiseland’. This Van Hagarish track indeed promises much, but did sound a little under-rehearsed with rather unconvincing and wayward backing vocals, yet as redeemed by thunderous and precise bass from Jack Bentley-Smith, who could be renamed Jakki Smixx, given his similarity to the Motley man.
‘Merry Go Round’ spun to the ferocious beat of most-recent recruit Ben Atkinson, whose attack and flair throughout the set was exemplary and was the perfect precursor to closing track and latest single ‘Lullaby’. This harder-edged song, with its LA Guns style gang chorus, is manna made in Metal heaven for rock radio and delivers a satisfying dark and dirty counterpoint to the relatively clean and pristine ‘Midnight Queen’, their previous radio playlist hit. This was yet another great show from a band that continue to go from strength to strength, while retaining humility and respect for their peers and fellow musicians.
With the release of their eponymous debut album less than four months away, it all seems to be clicking into place for the band. However, this is neither due to good fortune or serendipity but rather their attitude and their commitment to their craft, but most all their ability to consistently engage, enthrall and delight audiences from the dingiest basement to the most salubrious festival stage.
Tonight’s short set revealed a band on an undeniable upward trajectory. With their debut album still under-wraps, Collateral have the luxury of time to finesse their live set, rehearse their new songs and enjoy the summer festival period before the next chapter in their career opens with the release of their long-awaited long-player. Expectations are high, but there’s no doubt that the band can surpass those if they continue to show the drive and determination that has carried them through so far.
Going With The Wind
Just Waiting For You
About This Boy
Merry Go Round