£12. £12, that's all it cost to see three quality bands on a balmy Monday evening. Where else can you get that kind of a bargain these days? Shame on you if haven't caught this delightful package on their short UK jaunt. The Railway is a new venue to me but one which I heartily recommend, even the bouncer is a happy bunny and they have a fine selection of acts on the horizon including X-UFO, Dan Reed, Oliver/Dawson Saxon and Uli Jon Roth. Last week they had The Reasoning in acoustic mode so look the place up if you live in the North West of England.
Unfortunately White Widdow didn't play as long here as they did in Sheffield perhaps because lead singer Jules was a little under the weather. They were also afflicted with a few technical gremlins which they strove to overcome. They only managed five songs but they were uniformly excellent and in guitarist Enzo Almanzi they have a real star who appears to have been transported from the 1980s in terms of playing style and with his baseball cap he also looks a little bit like Matthias Jabs of the Scorpions. White Widdow also have some excellent songs notably the ultra-catchy songs such as Cry Wolf and Serenade with its groovy oooohhhhhhhh singalong bits. It's a sign of a good set that leaves the audience wanting more and I was most miffed that they didn't play Tokyo Rain. Perhaps they'll rectify that next time out.
White Widdow set the bar very high and for me Serpentine didn't quite keep the momentum going although I may have been in a minority judging from the crowd reaction. At their best they have a Journey vibe to them and guitarist Chris Gould nonchalantly tossed out exquisite solos at will but I would have preferred more White Widdow and less of the Serps.
After an interminable changeover the mighty Ten appeared and tore straight into Endless Symphony which set the tone for the evening. You generally know what you're going to get with Ten, the huge choruses get teased out for ages before they arrive which means that they only played eleven songs in their allotted time but that's probably fifteen of any other band's work (not Transatlantic obviously.) Frontman Gary Hughes promised something from every era of the band and he wasn't far off although there were four from last year's Stormwarning. All of which went down splendidly, my favourite being, "the commercial one from the album," The Hourglass and the Landslide. Oldies Ten Fathoms Deep, The Robe and After the Love Is Gone kept long term fans happy.
Any band who can conclude a set with Red and The Name of the Rose has something special although the backing vocals on the latter were suspiciously more girly than on any other song all night. Familiar faces Steve McKenna and soon-to-be-birthday-boy John Halliwell were present and correct on guitar and bass respectively alongside Max Yeates on drums and new keyboard player Darrell Treace-Birch and guitar wizard Dan Mitchell who was quite frankly astonishingly good.
The messages from tonight was quite clear; a) support the local rock scene, because once it's gone it won't return and b) come back soon Ten.