Toby Jepson / Cool As Ice In The Sweltering Welsh Valleys

We are back at the Patriot on a night, which suggests that spring has finally arrived in Wales. It’s been four years since the Patriot’s manager, Angela, first harassed Toby Jepson to play at the venue. He’s finally here. No stranger to Wales, he is backed by the fabulous Matt Mitchell and local boys Crisis Talks. It may be an evening when everyone in the country is searching the sky for the aurora borealis, but inside the Home of Rock, stars are shining brightly. 

Toby Jepson – Matt Mitchell – Crisis Talks

The Patriot, Crumlin – 10 May 2024

Words And Photography: Paul Hutchings

A slight technical hitch slows Toby’s entrance to the slightly cluttered stage. There’s only Toby and his trusty right-hand man, Big Bad Dave Kemp, ‘The Dave’, as he’s quickly dubbed. But there are microphone stands, Dave’s keyboards, some sheet stands, pedals, and cables. For an acoustic show, it’s a demonstration that nothing is as stripped back as it seems. But that doesn’t distract from a fantastic two hours. 

Toby Jepson - The Patriot, Crumlin - 10 May 2024
Toby Jepson – The Patriot, Crumlin – 10 May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

Toby Jepson accepts the warm welcome with comfortable ease, as befits a performer, songwriter, entertainer, broadcaster, and rock star who has been in the public eye for four decades. He’s casually dressed: shirt, jacket, tight jeans, and traditional black Converse. 

He looks well and quips about the resurgence in growing his hair during the show. Maybe not quite the long tousled-haired rock star when he and Little Angels burst to prominence in the 1980s, but there’s still just a hint of it. 

Toby Jepson - The Patriot, Crumlin - 10 May 2024
Toby Jepson – The Patriot, Crumlin – 10 May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

Tonight is billed as My Life In Words – Live! If there is one thing Toby can do, it’s talk. The music, at times, feels almost incidental as he invites and answers question after question from the enthusiastic audience. We get all sorts asked, and he answers them all with genuine enthusiasm and honesty. 

From his first gig, seeing Gillan on the Magic tour at Hull City Hall as a youngster, where he learnt that you play every gig as if you are in front of 100,000 people, to his disdain for the contempt of Ritchie Blackmore, who hid behind his amp stack for 90% of a show on the Difficult To Cure tour. 

He hints at the possible return of Little Angels, shows his support for the trials that Jon Bon Jovi has experienced, and talks of his favourite shows (the Marquee, Hammersmith Odeon, Russia with Dio Disciples). 

Toby provides comprehensive replies with a twinkle in the eye, a little bit of self-deprecation, and a warmth that makes it impossible not to smile. 

Toby Jepson - The Patriot, Crumlin - 10 May 2024
Toby Jepson – The Patriot, Crumlin – 10 May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

There is plenty of music. Over 20 songs drawn from his extensive discography. Toby Jepson reveals he has written over 660 songs and performed with a plethora of bands. Look it up. It’s a long list. 

We obviously get some choice cuts from Little Angels, Ninety In The Shade is sung word for word by the audience, several solo songs, as well a couple of Wayward Sons tracks. All done in an acoustic style, with The Dave providing sterling accompaniment on keys and saxophone. 

Toby Jepson - The Patriot, Crumlin - 10 May 2024
Toby Jepson – The Patriot, Crumlin – 10 May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

Toby’s honest about his guitar playing, “50% vocals, 50% guitar,” he says, although after Out Of Sight Out Of Mind, he says, “That was 80% vocals, 20% guitar!” 

There’s new music on the way, and Look Out is premiered. It sounds good. The questions keep coming. He tells us about his time with Dio Disciples, how he discovered that Ronnie had dropped his key as he got older, and how incredible a musician Sam Wood is. He also references Sam’s recent appearance at the venue with Oli Brown. 

Toby Jepson - The Patriot, Crumlin - 10 May 2024
Toby Jepson – The Patriot, Crumlin – 10 May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

Jepson lists the venues in South Wales he has played (it’s a long list) and reminisces about playing the now-demolished Newport Centre with Cinderella, where Tom Keifer had a fan thrown out for spitting. We also learn his favourite TV show just might be Starsky and Hutch! 

Toby Jepson - The Patriot, Crumlin - 10 May 2024
Toby Jepson – The Patriot, Crumlin – 10 May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

By the time we get to the finale, which features the anthemic Kicking Up Dust and Too Much Too Young, Toby Jepson has been on stage for over two hours. It’s a phenomenal set, engaging and interesting and all delivered with a warmth that suggests that one of Scarborough’s favourite sons has plenty left to give.

May

10may7:00 pmToby Jepson - My Life In Words - Live Acoustic | The PatriotThe Patriot

12may7:00 pmToby Jepson - My Life In Words - Live Acoustic | NorwichBrickmakers

14may7:00 pmToby Jepson - My Life In Words - Live Acoustic | YorkThe Crescent

15may7:00 pmToby Jepson - My Life In Words - Live Acoustic | BridlingtonBlack Lion

16may7:00 pmToby Jepson - My Life In Words - Live Acoustic | BlackpoolWaterloo Music Bar

18may7:00 pmToby Jepson - My Life In Words - Live Acoustic | LiverpoolO2 Academy 2

June

01jun7:00 pmToby Jepson - My Life In Words - Live Acoustic | BallymeniaThe Diamond Rock Club

06jun7:00 pmToby Jepson - My Life In Words - Live Acoustic | NottinghamRock City Beta

07jun7:00 pmToby Jepson - My Life In Words - Live Acoustic | BristolThekla

08jun7:00 pmToby Jepson - My Life In Words - Live Acoustic | WolverhamptonKK's Steel Mill

09jun7:00 pmToby Jepson - My Life In Words - Live Acoustic | LondonO2 Academy 2

16jun7:00 pmToby Jepson - My Life In Words - Live Acoustic | AberdeenTunnels

18jun7:00 pmToby Jepson - My Life In Words - Live Acoustic | GlasgowGarage Attic

19jun7:00 pmToby Jepson - My Life In Words - Live Acoustic | EdinburghMash House

21jun7:00 pmToby Jepson - My Life In Words - Live Acoustic | HuddersfieldParrish

22jun7:00 pmToby Jepson - My Life In Words - Live Acoustic | HullThe Welly

24jun7:00 pmToby Jepson - My Life In Words - Live Acoustic | BarnoldswickMusic And Arts Centre

25jun7:00 pmToby Jepson - My Life In Words - Live Acoustic | BarnoldswickMusic And Arts Centre

Matt Mitchell 

It’s only been a couple of months since Matt Mitchell played with The Coldhearts at this very venue. He’s obviously fond of it and expresses his appreciation early on. What follows is a jaw dropping solo performance which makes what can be the hardest job in the world look easy. 

Matt Mitchell - The Patriot, Crumlin - 10 May 2024
Matt Mitchell – The Patriot, Crumlin – 10 May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

It takes big kahunas to stand in front of an audience with nothing but your guitar. You would never think it was a problem, for Matt is perfectly at ease doing this. 

He draws from his albums with The Coldhearts, an eight-song set that can’t really cover all his work. The former Furyon and Colour Of Noise singer is now well-established and has an easy, likeable manner which is compelling. 

Matt Mitchell - The Patriot, Crumlin - 10 May 2024
Matt Mitchell – The Patriot, Crumlin – 10 May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

Mitchell is at ease between songs, providing some detail about the songs, referencing Rockfield Studios, where he recorded the eponymous debut album and the piano used by Freddie Mercury on Bohemian Rhapsody, as well as chatting away with some real humour. The balance is spot on. 

A delightful version of Home sets the pulse racing, and he then provides a spine-tingling moment with a creative and intricate cover of Paranoid. His guitar work is impressive, his smoky vocals matching the tempo. There are smiles all around the room. 

Matt Mitchell - The Patriot, Crumlin - 10 May 2024
Matt Mitchell – The Patriot, Crumlin – 10 May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

It’s inevitable that Black Diamonds will close the set. A rocking song when delivered electronically, it’s still vibrant enough to get the foot tapping and the head nodding. Matt Mitchell is a brilliantly absorbing performer. Check him out if he’s in your neighbourhood. 

Crisis Talks

It’s been a race to get to the venue for Crisis Talks singer David Lloyd Chapman. A car breakdown in Newport meant he arrived late and had to dive straight on stage with waiting guitarist Mark Wilson Squire. 

Crisis Talks - The Patriot, Crumlin - 10 May 2024
Crisis Talks – The Patriot, Crumlin – 10 May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

The duo is without drummer James Clements, but that doesn’t stop them from providing some thought-provoking alternative rock and pop through their slot. 

They pick songs from their debut album, Heavy The Heart, which was released in 2023. There may not be huge amounts of activity on stage, such is the nature of these shows, but the duo creates plenty of interest with songs including Monsters, Fear, Othello and Submission. 

Crisis Talks - The Patriot, Crumlin - 10 May 2024
Crisis Talks – The Patriot, Crumlin – 10 May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

Chapman’s vocals are dark and engaging and hold the attention, while Squire holds everything together on guitar. There’s a moment of humour as Chapman introduces Fear whilst Squire has toned for Othello. They play both anyway. 

Crisis Talks - The Patriot, Crumlin - 10 May 2024
Crisis Talks – The Patriot, Crumlin – 10 May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk

It’s a new introduction for many, but judging by the applause at the end of Soundcheck, it’s likely that a few in the audience have added the Newport band to their list to explore in more depth.

Crisis Talks - The Patriot, Crumlin - 10 May 2024
Crisis Talks – The Patriot, Crumlin – 10 May 2024. Photo: Paul Hutchings/MetalTalk
Toby Jepson - My Life In Words - Acoustic Live
Toby Jepson – My Life In Words – Acoustic Live

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