Ugly Kid Joe @ The Garage, Glasgow
The boys are back in Glasgow to promote latest album “Stairway to Hell”. They always bring the party and this time one of the best live bands from the UK.
I have seen Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons many times now and every time they have played a blinder but tonight they took it to a different level. I do not know if it was the bigger venue or if they now have amassed enough gigs to be completely in tune with each other but it bodes well for their headline tour that has just been announced.
The last time I saw them was supporting Airbourne and the sound was awful that night. No such issues tonight as they burst into “Big Mouth”, a cracking opener and the first track we got to hear from the band. I reckon a huge chunk of this audience had no idea who the band were. UKJ fans seem to be mainly stuck back in the 90s and I got fed up sending punters inside in time to catch the boys.
With the party tune in full swing you could tell people were paying attention so when “Welcome to Hell” kicks in like a Stone Temple Pilots classic the heads are nodding and the toes are tapping. I am standing their smiling as I know what is coming in the set and I know the band are about to kick some Glaswegian ass.
Neil Starr being the outsider(no family ties) has also settled in to a frontman who can steel some thunder from Phil(which is no mean feat). He gets onside with the locals saying it is great to be in Glasgow…well, it is not England and us Celts need to stick together.
After “Take Aim” the boys jumped into “Born To Raise Hell” and boy did this give the crowd a shot to the arm. The tempo went up this side of the stage and they instantly made a ton of new friends. To keep with the old school feel we have a cracking breakdown in “On Your Knees” where Neil splits the crowd into two. One side Phil, the other the bastard sons and we end up with a crowd facing each other with middle fingers in the air screaming “On Your Knees”. At this point you know they have won over the crowd but the best is yet to come.
My favourite track from the debut album is “ Dark Days” and thankfully we get it tonight. A real bluesy rocker that is outstanding. One day I would love to see an acoustic version of this. Bassist Tyla is now up for some abuse as we get told he is all manner of unprintable things all to be left on his own as he belts out the bass line intro every rocker knows…”Ace of Spades” comes at you with all the venom of the original and sends the packed house crazy.
The boys may well be as phil’s guitar strap pronounces ( Welsh Wanker) but they are a complete rocking machine and I urge anyone who has not seen them to sort that shit out now. Roll on November and the headline tour as no matter how many times they hit this town I will be there, make sure you are too.
As Ugly Kid Joe get it together for “Neighbor” singer Whitfield Crane takes the stage for the second time. Due to crappy public transport I missed all but half a song of Yellowcake but that and the crowd reaction means I need to check them out more.
The latest album should really have been entitled better than they used to be as I wasn’t really a big fan first time round but now I am here for very show. As performers the years have really been kind to them and they can tie down a show in seconds. The crowd may not care what they play or how they play but the band have brought a lot more fans on board since the heydays and that is because they can rock a room.
Mr Crane does a lot of talking tonight and covers many bases but the main thing that comes over is his appreciation that he is still doing what he loves due to the people that pay through the door. It has even given him a new lease of life with his side project. This gives the audience a real feel of the man and having seen him live a lot of times over the years it seems straight from the heart. The previous year he even serenaded a young lady in a wheelchair which I thought was awesome.
We got a good sprinkling of new and old but you could feel a building anticipation in the crowd and it was paid off as “Cats in the Cradle” sparks from the PA and boy did the crowd sing along. For the people here for nostalgia your time had come and as much as I sung along it is the full show I am here to see.
The new songs are just as good as the older stuff but so much tighter, written better and definitely performed to a higher standard. “Devils Paradise” is where I will point you if you do not agree with me. It goes down a storm. Another reason the band are so much better was with tonight’s one off playing of “Mr Recordman”. It saw Klaus Eichstadt take on the vocals and saw some cracking banter between the band as they struggled with remembering lyrics.
For me the show was made before we got to the obvious “Everything About you”, yes the people love it, yes it is still stupid to this day and yes it is fun but this band are about so much more nowadays. They deserve to still be here 25 years later and they have earned their stripes so they should reap the rewards…see you again next year guys.
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Images and words Ritchie Birnie
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