Tracer/Cage The Gods - York, Fibbers - 13th June 2013 Print E-mail
Written by Ben Hughes   
Friday, 28 June 2013 04:00



It is no mean feat winning Best New Band in the Classic Rock Awards, even if you have been at it for nearly 10 years, you have to have something special going on to be given that title. Tracer have that certain something it seems, and following the likes of past winners Chickenfoot, The Union and Vintage Trouble, last year they did just that. Now riding on the release of new album 'El Pistolero' this Aussie 3 piece continue to make a classic sounding noise with one collective foot in the '70s and the other stamped firmly in the here and now.  


First up tonight though we have support band Cage The Gods, they came recommended and not be missed and I nearly bloody did miss them. Luckily thanks to a quick lift from a passing mate I catch the last 3 songs of their set and wished I had seen more to be honest. It's nice to see a pretty decent turn out tonight for the support band, and it's clear to see why people are here early. They are a solid, tight band with the songs to match.


Their sound is classic '80s rock with, dare I say it melodic undertones, but it sounds far from dated in this live environment, unlike several bands that I have seen this year. They look truly comfortable on stage, drummer NJ is from the Tommy Lee school of rock drummers, animated, spitting water to the ceiling, grinning and pounding his kit. Guitarist Jam plays a solo, foot on the monitor, Les Paul slung low and as singer/guitarist Peter faces bassist Mitch to play to tracer340each other with smiles on their faces, it looks and feels natural and just right. I get the feeling these guys may have something special going on here, ones to watch me thinks.


Tracer are a seasoned live band now, and opening track 'Too Much' was never going to fail tonight. The lead song from their last album 'Spaces In Between' is a powerhouse of a rock track that kicks from the off. Coming on like the bastard son of Soundgarden and Wolfmother, this Aussie trio sure know how to bring arena sized slabs of rock to the pubs and clubs of the UK. Singer/guitarist Michael Brown takes centre stage with new bassist Jett to his right with his gaffa taped Gibson Thunderbird slung low, behind them Andre Wise is the solid backbone on the kit. It's the perfect opener to a set that unsurprisingly weighs heavily towards the new album. As I am yet to pick up that new album, it's the songs from 'Spaces In Between' that stand out for me tonight. Yet the unfamiliar songs pretty much flow in the same direction funnily enough, the storming and heavy title track alone for example make 'El Pistolero' a must buy. If it ain't broke don't fix it!


Dirty, sludgy riffs and wah-wah solos emanate from the main man's fingers again and again. The band are energetic and animated throughout, Jett especially throws himself around making the most of the limited space given to him, eagerly headbanging and throwing his bass around. Several time he nearly twats it on the low ceiling of Fibbers tonight, I guess this is the reason it's covered in gaffa tape.


Highlights? An extended and jammed out 'Voices In The Rain' sees Michael Brown testing the crowd's singing abilities leaving him free to play guitar and smile. It's their perfect 'lighters in the air' song and goes down well as so it should. As does 'Spaces In Between', the jagged Soundgarden-like riffs flow nicely, man does anyone else hear Kyuss in these guys?


Song of the night for me though was the final encore of 'Devil Ride'. The frantic opening riff is followed by an ultra cool and almost ghostly picked riff for the verse, that slowly builds to that sweet place that is the chorus, and they have the whole room singing the words. Great finish to a set that was shorter than I expected but mighty fine all the same.


Tracer mix heavy doses of bludgeoning '70s rock with a modern twist, there's hints of Sabbath, Soundgarden and certainly QOTSA to my ears. Live, their songs shine, Michael Brown's voice is as strong and powerful as it is on record and these 3 guys from down under can fill the room with their collective sound easily. 'El Pistolero' may well be their breakthrough album, and coupled with live shows such as tonight this time may well be theirs for the taking.


Again tonight as with several previous gigs this year the support band shined just as much as the headliners, so skip your tea and get there early, all in all a cracking gig.


To visit the Tracer store on Amazon - CLICK HERE