Gig review and photography by John Hayhurst.

It’s almost panto season and tonight we have ‘Beauty & The Beast’ in the shape of Mollie Marriott and Bad Touch, live at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds. Classic Rock n’ Roll tales as old as time. I’m back at my favourite independent music venue in the North – Leeds Brudenell Social Club for a night of Classic Rock that could have been made in the 70’s. We have the long hair, flares, boots, beards and loud guitars – we also have beer at £1.99 but that’s not as a throwback gimmick, or even because it’s Black Friday. This is a normal night here, a social music club deep in the mainly student community of Leeds. Now having 3 stages and every night is booked, it’s so great to see it thriving when many others are closing down.

Bad Touch-4

Mollie Marriott struts on to the stage wearing a leather tasselled jacket, pink Metallica T-Shirt, tight jeans and black heels, looking everything like the rock chick that she is, and everything most ladies in this audience (of mainly 30+ age) would probably like to emulate. However, it’s not all about the look, because underneath the glam rock chic is a blues & soul laden voice that can hold your attention and match any guitar break from her excellent band.

Opening with ‘Run With The Hounds’ Marriott wastes no time in showcasing that voice, obviously she is promoting her album ‘Truth is a Wolf’ and the majority of her set is going to be taken from that record. Mollie has everything you need from a rock frontwoman and owns the stage for the 30 mins she is on it. Title track ‘Truth is a Wolf’ follows and the constant smiling and laughing between band members is infectious, they are having a ball up there and it converts across to the audience.

Mollie Marriott

Mollie Marriott-2

Not just happy to play her album but there are new songs to play too and ‘Nobody to Love’ is a dark groovy thing which promotes plenty of hip shaking, probably more soul than blues but that’s the beauty of her voice and style which can cross those genres with ease. Not surprising really as she is the daughter of Steve Marriott (Small Faces, Humble Pie), apples don’t fall far from the tree!

“Anyone here like Tom Petty?” she asks without expecting a reply, just about everyone in the room responds and they launch into ‘I Should Have Known It’ – not the most famous Petty tune (Mojo Album), but perfect for a rock show and that line “It’s the last time your gonna hurt me” is sung with gritty venom and backed by some sonic riffs and booming Bonham drums. It’s a winner on many accounts!

The final 2 songs ‘Transformer’ and ‘Control’ are played with even more energy including some incredible breaks on guitar by Johnson-Jay Medwik-Daley (Yes a mouthful I know) that make everyone turn their heads including Mollie who points a finger at him as if to say where the hell did that come from? A band who are loving the time they have together and making some great music along the way, shame the short set finished at that point as we were just getting warmed up.

Bad Touch, are a hard-working band too, from Norwich which isn’t really known for it’s rock n’ roll, but that is about to change. There aren’t many bands that can take that blues based rock sound from the pubs to a touring circuit, many fall by the wayside and get lost in the general drudge of covers at your local. You need to be both highly proficient and have the style or something different to offer. The Black Crowes had it in the 90’s and for a while so did our own Quireboys, but few since have managed to make that step up to more than a good club band. It’s a hard slog and Bad Touch have been touring a lot recently and getting out to a few festivals, Ramblin’ Man being a prime example – winning fans along the way, partnering with Planet Rock for this tour was an inspired move as they immediately have a radio audience to spread the word to.

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Stevie Westwood is a larger than life character and frontman, he is a beast (I’m keeping the panto theme) with more hair than most of the punters in the room put together, a coiffured moustache and flowery shirts – you wouldn’t miss him in a crowd, but like Mollie Marriott, it’s not just about the image – he has a blues voice and can really project it. When you combine that with twin guitars and bass you have the makings of a great rock band.

As the sound of James Brown ‘Sex Machine’ fades from the speakers the band pick up a raucous introduction for Stevie to walk on to and they burst into ‘Take Me Away’. It’s such an energetic start and the hair is flying around so much that you can barely see his lips move. Plenty of guitarist poses and wide leg stances on monitors and the sweat starts to drip.

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Bad Touch play a good chunk of their debut ‘Half Way Home’ album as well as the expected cuts from ‘Truth be Told’ although even that album is now almost a year old, so they can also showcase some new stuff as we are anticipating great things from 2018. ‘I Belong’ is the main example as a quite poignant song about having roots (without mentioning tractors).

I have to say I’m no fan of the slower numbers with rock bands, I think I was permanently damaged when Poison released ‘Every Rose’ so it is all lost on me a bit. When the band clear the stage except for Stevie and guitarist Rob Glendinning and he’s traded electric for acoustic, I start to get the shakes. However, it doesn’t last for long as the rest of the band come back to offer extra vocals and bit more needed oomph. Thankfully we are back to normal when they break out the likes of the groovy ‘Heartbreaker Soulshaker’ and the western tinged ‘Outlaw’ which is far more superior to Bon Jovi’s ‘Wanted, Dead or Alive’ in my view.

Bad Touch

‘The Mountain’ is the last one in the normal set, it’s a little psychedelic and folky in a good way and reminds me a bit of The Answer’s foray into this territory with their Solas stuff.

In the encore Mollie Marriott returns to play Tina Turner to Stevie’s Ike and ‘Baby Get it On’ is a funky dirty soul number worthy of a chart entry. They have jointly recorded this – video here  – so it perhaps isn’t suprising that they would perform it at some point in the night, but it is a fine rendition. All that is left to do is play 99%, which is on reasonable rotation at the moment on Planet Rock radio and so their biggest hit.

Classic Rock is a tradition, and therefore a bit of a panto at times, tonight was Beauty followed by a bit of a Beast – but at long last, we have a great British blues band that can play a combination of old RnB (Rhythm and Blues), Soul and Southern style boogie. We don’t have to keep going through our Black Crowes catalogue or wait for Blackberry Smoke to tour again. 2018 – Let’s get this band higher up the music ladder.

For more images from tonight’s gig visit our Flickr page.


Setlists:
Mollie Marriott
Run with the Hounds
Truth is a Wolf
Nobody to Love
Broken
Song 2
King of Hearts
I Should Have Known It (Tom Petty cover)
Transformer
Control

Bad Touch:
Take Me Away
Good On Me
Heartbreaker Soulshaker
Wise Water
I Belong
Down
Sweet Little Secret
My Mother Told Me
Take Your Time
Outlaw
The Mountain

Encore:
Baby Get It On (with Mollie Marriott)
99%

Listening:
Mollie Marriott ‘Truth Is A Wolf’ [2017]
Bad Touch ‘Truth Be Told’ [2016]

 

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