Voodoo Six/SKAM/Wakedown – Wolverhampton, Slade Rooms – 20 September 2017 Print E-mail
Written by Rich Hobson   
Sunday, 08 October 2017 04:00

Live music lives and dies on the underground. All your Metallicas, Guns N Roses and Iron Maidens were, at some point, just a group of guys (or ladies, or a mix) playing together in garages, community halls and small venues, honing their craft and dreaming of the bigtime. Perhaps then that’s why it’s so crucial that we support independent venues and bands, as without those we’ll never get another big band in the first place.


Skam 1


Ever the champion for homegrown bands and UK-based acts, Ovation Music (run by Midlands based promoter Hilary Plimmer) has pulled together a strong local supporting line-up for the Wolverhampton leg of Voodoo Six’s tour. Kicking off proceedings for the night are Wolverhampton rockers Wakedown, playing to a pleasingly filled room early on in the night.


Tagging themselves as ‘alt rock/metal’ and citing influences including Sevendust and Godsmack, you don’t need to be a walking encyclopaedia of music to know what you’re likely to expect of Wakedown and bands of their ilk. Melodic vocals and chuggy riffs are all present and correct as the band burn through a solid albeit fairly predictable opening set, drawing heavily on the stylistics of American radio rock circa 2000 – 2009. Still, if it works so well for fellow local rockers Stone Broken, why not for Wakedown too? The band certainly put the effort in to get the crowd happy and warmed up, rewarded for their efforts with a slew of banging heads and raised horns – and truly, isn’t that all an opening band could wish for?


Skam 2


Jumping across to the ‘other’ Midlands, Leicester-based rock blokes SKAM keep things sonically consistent with their own take on riffy millennial rock. With a few more years behind them than Wakedown, the band are able to draw from a slightly deeper well to step things up a notch. The choruses are a little bit bigger and the riffs slung a little more confidently, but truthfully the space between both supports is fairly minimal, both solid purveyors of a sound which clearly sits well with the Slade Rooms’ audience. Less beholden to the vocal stylings of Staind, Creed and co, SKAM put more of their own stamp on the evening’s proceedings. Managing to inspire a few singalongs along the way as they blast through material from both of their previous albums and new single ‘Between The Eyes’, the band take the baton from Wakedown and run with it, firing riffs off like a well-oiled rock machine.


Skam tour poster


If Wakedown and SKAM represent the early to middle stages of the homegrown rock circuit, headliners Voodoo Six are the fully realised article. Slinging riffs just a little bit harder and boasting choruses that feel fully realised and festival ready, Voodoo Six more than earn their headliner status with a big balls rock n roll show that’s sure to excite fans of good ol’ fashioned rock n roll. While the Americanisms still manage to creep in, vocalist Nik Taylor-Stoakes owes more to the bourbon-soaked tones of Black Stone Cherry and co. than to the likes of Scotts Stapp or Weiland.


Voodoo Six 2


Big in riff and bigger in stage presence, the band hit some solid grooves across their set, tunes like the title track from latest release (then only a couple weeks old) ‘Make Way For The King’ setting the bar high for what solid, no-frills rock bands can achieve. Throw in big solos, heavy segments of crowd-participation (the claps, the ‘woahs’, the ‘yeahs’ – they’re all there) and you’ve got the makings of a solid mid-week rock pick-me-up, a rebuttal to the supposed ailing nature of live rock music.


While none of the bands on tonight’s line-up will likely be heralded as innovators to the rock formula, the truth remains that all three put in the time and effort that proves they know and appreciate their craft well. What’s more, with the literal thousands of bands doing the circuit, the opportunity to find bands offering something reliable and well-executed can’t be overstated in keeping live music alive – an admirable cause and something that Voodoo Six, SKAM and Wakedown more than happily contribute to.


PHOTO CREDIT: All photos © Shot By Simmons.


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