Sea Of Tranquility

The Web Source for Progressive Rock, Progressive Metal & Jazz-Fusion
  Search   in       
Main Menu

ConcertsSons Of Apollo, Jay Wud, The King Lot; Motherwell 2nd July 2018

Posted on Thursday, July 05 2018 @ 20:17:16 CDT by Steven Reid
Concert Reviews “How are we tonight Motherwell?” is not a question I thought I’d ever hear asked of an audience at a progressive metal show. And yet, here we were in the rather civilised Civic Centre in a small town not far from Glasgow in Scotland; and we’re not just revelling in some mighty fine music, but doing so in the presence of a supergroup! Featuring ex-and current members of Dream Theater, Mr. Big, Talisman, Black Country Communion and Guns N’ Roses, that the five men who make up Sons Of Apollo have also performed with everyone from Journey and Joe Satriani to Neal Morse and David Lee Roth (I could fill this review name dropping acts like Alice Cooper, KISS and WET, but let’s just get on with it), should give an indication that Motherwell was sure as hell rocked like it has never been rocked before. Sea of Tranquility’s Steven Reid was in this new Mecca of prog to find out more…

First up, and on stage very sharp indeed, were local lads The King Lot. Brandishing a stunning line in melodic hard rock, bands like this are undoubtedly the future for a genre that had, until recently, seemed to have been treading water. All that’s needed now is for someone to really give this lot a crack at the big time with a high profile support slot and the opportunity to spread their phenomenal sounds further across the UK and into Europe. From “And They Burn” through to the title track from their second album, “A World Without Evil”, there isn’t a second wasted by an outfit who combine a scintillating energy to some of the sharpest songs you could hope to find. In vocalist Jason Sweeney The King Lot have a real weapon; a voice that’s powerful, rich and full and where every note isn’t just hit with a thunderous force, but also with a lightness of touch. And on the evidence of tonight’s masterclass, it’s clear how far this lad has come in the few years The King Lot have been together. Operating as a power trio, the varied but damage inducing drums from CK Gillon pin everything to the floor, but he also adds colour to proceedings and some accomplished backing vocals. Whereas the band’s newest recruit, guitarist Jay Moir, is a real find. He’s maybe a little underdressed for the occasion and not quite as rock star cool as his band mates, but this boy can play. And he can rip and roar and shred and riff and, well pretty much anything he wants to turn his guitar hands to. In short he’s a real talent and another indication that The King Lot are ready to become a true force in the UK rock scene and beyond. Something that the pair of recent singles, “Hearts On Fire” and “Maybe They’re Watching Us”, left absolutely no doubt about as they enthralled the crowd. Seriously, if you investigate only one new band this year, make it The King Lot ��" and definitely catch them live!

Well, if attending a metal show in Motherwell was a first, so was encountering a band from Dubai, Jay Wud throwing a curve ball into the night’s entertainment with an accomplished, if rather singular progressive grunge attack. A likeable bunch who, judging by some of the uncomfortable between song silences and stilted stage raps, maybe haven’t had the opportunity to put in as much stage time as a band onto their third album maybe ought to, Jay Wud still did enough to keep most people onside. In truth, the audience did thin out a little (making it clear just how much of a draw The King Lot were on this bill) as the narrow, mid-paced grind stayed true from song to song. Although “Empire” undoubtedly hit home with a real sense of authority. If there was a complaint it was, in much the same way that Alice In Chains can live, that what this four-piece do simply lacks for variety in this setting and especially when basically no one here knew any of their material. In their favour however was the stunning twin guitar display from Jay Wud himself and Bojan Preradovic, while the pair’s often combined lead vocals were also a thing to behold.

With some frantic hand signalling from the side of the stage, the energetic four-piece seemed to have their set shortened in the most impromptu of fashions, leaving instrumental “I’ll Tell You” to be an unusual closing number, although it was still possibly the best tune on show, even of it was something of an unconventional farewell. All that said, while Jay Wud were entertaining enough, possibly the wiser choice would have been to put this lot on first and allow the tempo and mood to build by having this evening’s opening, and clearly more popular, act take a more prominent slot on the bill.

If there was a worry that Motherwell maybe wasn’t the hotbed of rock and metal that the promoters of this show obviously believed, then by the time Sons Of Apollo hit the stage those concerns were well and truly proven to be unfounded. Not quite packed to the rafters, but not too far away, this modern, multi-purpose venue not only has a good sound, but a cracking vibe (and toilets that don’t scare the life out of you!) and with a crowd clearly up for it right from the kick off, Sons Of Apollo’s debut headline show on UK soil was already assured to be something of an event.

The biggest challenge, however, was where to look first, what with Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal twirling, spinning and torturing his twin neck (one of which was fretless) guitar, Mike Portnoy a blur of percussive fury, slick one liners and cool backing vocals and Billy Sheehan the picture of stiff-legged cool as he too took to bashing the living daylights out of a twin necked bass. And that’s without taking into account the master of ceremonies, the man of perpetual motion, the king of the pun - the magnificently voiced Jeff Scott Soto as he wriggled, jiggled and positively exploded with energy. He would later joke himself that he moves so fast that ‘you can’t take a photo of Jeff Scott Soto’, but you know what? He’s right! Leaving keyboard man Derek Sherinian up the back of the stage looking all powerful and mighty - kind of like Caligula as he turns his thumb south and utters ‘kill him!’ - as he underpinned the whole shebang with howling Hammond, killer keys and melodic mayhem.

Considering the talent on show in this band, what came across strongest is that, while we received a multitude of extended solos, instrumental stand-offs and a few moments that veered dangerously close to noodling, Sons Of Apollo were here to entertain and build a show. In fact so much so that you could have left your ears at home and still be entertained by the visual delights on display. So when they unveiled unbelievably jaw dropping renditions of killer cuts from this band’s debut, Psychotic Symphony, in the shape of “God Of The Sun”, “Divine Addiction” or “Figaro’s Whore”, you knew that they were onto something special. With Portnoy and Sherinian both ex-members of, arguably the best (it isn’t really arguable, I’m being kind) line-up of Dream Theater, that versions of that band’s “Just Let Me Breath” and “Lines In The Sand” were tossed into the set should be no surprise. Tellingly however, that SoA do so with no fanfare at all (to the extent that neither of the words Dream or Theater were once uttered) illustrated that the intention here was not to live off past glories.

That doesn’t mean however that glories of old weren’t celebrated, a tribute to one of Jeff Scott Soto’s heroes, Freddie Mercury of Queen, resulting in a vocal only rendition (with stunning use of a delay pedal) of “The Prophet’s Song”, which simply brought the house down. Something that also happened at the conclusion of a second Queen number, “Save Me” where JSS and Bumblefoot combined quite superbly as they dedicated this touching number to the recently departed Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul.

“Alive”, again from the Psychotic Symphony album, re-injected the unabashed energy right back into proceedings, before the jazziest, dirtiest, funniest version of Henry Mancini’s “The Pink Panther Theme” was romped through with excellent vocals from the band’s man of twelve-strings, Bumblefoot, as his underrated vocals gave Soto a well earned break from the stage. However with Sherinian sending the crowd into raptures with a solo slot that included a keyboard version of Eddie Van Halen’s “Eruption”, by the time one of the rock world’s most endearing frontman returned to command the stage he was in full voice once more, “Coming Home” a stunning conclusion to what had been a thoroughly breathtaking night.

There’s no doubt that all five of the men that make up Sons Of Apollo are better known for other earlier endeavours, but with this band the quintet seem at ease, full of fun and able to express themselves in a way I’m not sure I’ve seen from any of them before. Hopefully this is just the beginning of what will be a full-time, long-lived band. One thing’s for sure, they’ll be back in Scotland later this year and I won’t be missing them.

Hits: 1816

Related Links
· More about Concert Reviews
· News by stevenreid

Most read story about Concert Reviews:
NEARfest 2004: Metamorfosi

Printer Friendly Page  Print
Send  Send to a Friend

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
For information regarding where to send CD promos and advertising, please see our FAQ page.
If you have questions or comments, please Contact Us.
Please see our Policies Page for Site Usage, Privacy, and Copyright Policies.

All logos and trademarks in this site are property of their respective owner. The comments are property of their posters, all other content Sea of Tranquility

SoT is Hosted by