Romeo's Daughter & Blood Red Saints, Fuel Cardiff
Once again to the home city for more music, this time it was night of sugar coated, AOR from one of Britain's most critically acclaimed, but oft overlooked AOR bands Romeo's Daughter with support from one of the newest melodic rock bands on the block Blood Red Saints. As I headed to the venue with the the crew of Retro Vibe Records I was looking forward to seeing two bands that I had never seen (a rarity for me), as we congregated in the small venue it was heartening to see a a reasonable size crowd for the gig.
Blood Red Saints
Arriving on the stage, Blood Red Saints kicked of their set of traditional British radio rock, with a strong blues base they were in the tradition of Dare, FM or Newman. The band are made up of two founder members of In Faith, one from Angels Or Kings and the fourth serving time in Gary Hughes' (TEN) solo band. With the talent in the band it was no surprise that they took to the stage with a confident swagger, they had the look and the chops to back up their resumes, drawing from their debut album they played melodic rock with a bluesy edge to it which came mainly from Pete Godfrey's grittier vocals and the slick guitar lines from Lee Revill on the opening number Kicking Up Dust, Rob Naylor and Pete Newdeck locked into a steady driving groove as the band moved into the Foreigner-esque Best Of Me, a mass sing-along was triggered by a cover of Wanted Dead Or Alive and they even threw in an In Faith song to flesh out the set. The bands style of harder edged AOR was received warmly by the crowd and was a perfect setting for the night the four members of the band. A sturdy set of melodic rock set the tone of the evening and this band showed that their collective power is really a sum of it's parts, hopefully there will be more from this band in the future as they have a real energy live. 7/10
A quick change and the headline act came to the stage, the band formed in 1988 released two album son major labels and then split up only to then reformed in 2009. This tour was a mish-mash of their four albums with the majority being drawn from their debut and their most recent efforts Rapture and Spin. As the beautiful Leigh Matty took to the stage with her perennial sideman guitarist Craig Joiner the rest of the band followed and they burst into 1989 single Heaven In The Back Seat (as featured on Nightmare On Elm Street 5 film fans) which set the pace, with a pounding backbeat and Joiner's sublime guitar work the band were firing on all cylinders topped by the simply divine vocals of Leigh, she has a one in a million voice, her soulful crooning voice is still just perfect and she hasn't really lost a single octave, delivering every line of the following hour and a bit with real power.
After the initial Backseat came Velvet Tongue, Touch and Radio before hitting the groove again with their 2012 comeback single Bittersweet. The crowd were loving every minute Joiner peeling off lick after lick as Matty beguiled and bewitched like a mix of Stevie Nicks and Ann Wilson, they jumped when they needed, sang back when it was required and generally reciprocated the energy from on stage. The set progressed with the obligatory mix of rockers and ballads but as the final few songs approached the band pulled out the big guns with Attracted To The Animal rapidly followed by the double whammy of debut album tracks as I Cry Myself To Sleep At Night (Covered by our own Bonnie Tyler) and the excellent Inside Out finished the main set, with the final few songs also cuing some excellent shape throwing from some of the younger members of the party.
An applause and a quick break then the encore saw Leigh and Craig take the stage by themselves for an acoustic version of Will Be which queued a mass singalong from the small but loyal crowd of AOR-lovers gathered, before they rocked it up for the final time with the superb Wild Child, which is the original and best version of the song Heart played on their Brigade album. I said at the beginning of this review that Romeo's Daughter are often overlooked in the history of melodic rock, but their early allegiance with Robert John 'Mutt' Lange has meant that the songs they made their name with have been kept alive in the public conscience, but what is more telling is that returning after such a long time away from the scene has also it meant that finally they can get the recognition as the potent force they are. 8/10