It is quite fitting that local legends Voodoo Sioux, who happen to have been around for a similar length of time as Reef, should open the evening’s proceedings at KK’s Steel Mill. And just like the headliners, they, too, are now producing some of their finest work.
KK’s Steel Mill – 30 June 2023
Words: Sophie James
Photography: John Inglis
Being limited to 30 minutes provides the band with a dilemma in terms of material, but they obviously decided to go for it and played a most enthralling set.
On the stroke of 7, JB’s recurring riff heralded their arrival until, after what seemed like an age, the rhythm section decided to join him. Psychosis (Falling Off The Edge Of The World) then took off.
The inviting melody surreptitiously draws you in, while there are just so many vocal hooks throughout that it is an impossibility not to be finally seduced by “Yeah, and it feels like I’m Falling Off the Edge of the World.”
The follow-up, Pillow Talk, thunders along with the relentless momentum of a locomotive. Such an infectious seductive riff and bass rhythm. Bass Ace Mario is now warmed, not to mention loosened up, physically and sonically performing all manner of contortions. This track is a firm favourite among hardcore fans as well as yours truly. One that most definitely gets you moving.
“Hello! This is our first gig since 1973,” quips Nick. My first sighting this side of Christmas anyway. (You Make Me Wanna Be A) Better Man is a well-crafted piece that fuses influences from a melting pot of US rock while still maintaining their own addictive intensity. As it approached the conclusion, they threw in a pregnant pause, the type that always catches DJs out and drives ’em crazy.
“And we danced, and we sang as we span our webs, and we took the night to its very edge.” The band were truly energised, but after that triple whammy, it was time to slow things down briefly with the surprisingly beautiful Into The Garden, which reflects a softer but no less skilful side to their compositional skills.
“Standing in the line of fire, everybody’s looking at you.” Backwards To Babylon, led by its alternating chugging riff and screaming licks, sees them gather pace once more.
Damage again exhibited significant American influences. Another melodic, seductive and hugely catchy chorus in “Do you know how much damage we can do?” Following JB’s unrestrained solo, the race to the finishing line came across as a controlled jam, with each of the musical trio paradoxically self-absorbed but in total synchronicity. Such a shame it had to end so soon.
It was an utter joy to see Voodoo Sioux up on that vast stage, with their logo emblazoned across that gigantic LED Backscreen, nailing it and having a blast.
Nick always cuts a striking and mischievous figure as the ‘Master of Ceremonies’ while JB fires an arsenal of riffs n licks, his sound projecting into and filling that expansive auditorium.
Mario, on the other hand, is never anything less than mesmerising. As for his proficiency, I personally put him on par with the previous bass player I saw on this very stage, a certain Mr Sheehan. SuperMario as he is affectionately introduced as, and has the socks to prove it.
Special mention must also be made of drummer Nige, who, despite many pre-show obstacles, eked every last crack of thunder out of the When Rivers Meet Kit.
West Midlanders are fortunate in having many opportunities to catch regular full sets from these guys who never fail to excite and satisfy.