Wild Messiah – The Roman Bath 15/08/08

After a brief sojourn as a solo music lover, followed by an appearance in the reserves, it was time for me to rejoin the rest of the first team for a trip to the Roman Bath.

Apparently, the Bath had been playing musical bands again and, in place of the Rory Gallagher tribute that at least some of us (those that could remember what was on Roj’s listings email) were expecting, we were treated to Wild Messiah (and on MySpace), four fresh-faced young lads from, I believe, Barton-on-Humber.

As is general at the Bath, the band played mostly covers. This time it was mostly a mix of soft and power rock – the likes of Poison, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, ZZ Top and Kiss. On top of that, however, they covered U2, Neil Young, The Who, Michael Jackson (a pretty good version of Beat It. The original, of course, featured the likes of Steve Lukather and Eddie Van Halen so does fit with the rock theme) and Mika (a strange choice but Big Girl (You Are Beautiful) was introduced as the band’s attempt at a gimmick song).

On stage the band seem to have a bit of an image problem, in that they can’t quite decide what image they want to project. Lead singer and rhythm guitarist Mark Williams seemed to have based himself on Jon Bon Jovi while bass-player Martin Shepherd, with his chest bared to the audience, reminded me, for some reason, of John Frusciante (of the Chilli Peppers – answers on a postcard if you can explain why to me…). Lead guitarist Glen Brown exhibited some of the excesses of 70’s glam rock, with his black and red striped trousers and (ahem!) red feather boa. I’m afraid I didn’t get a good look at Brad Brown on drums.

Despite that, though, the set was impressive and, towards the end, the audience got involved in a bit of singing along and the requisite Dad-dancing (Grandad dancing, in at least one person’s case). Williams is a good frontman, both in terms of his vocals and interaction with the audience. Glen’s guitar playing was impressive and after a while he even seemed confident enough to smile a couple of times. The bass was perhaps a little high but the instrument itself was of the five-stringed variety (I’ve mentioned before – that must mean the player is pretty good). Again, while I like watching drummers, I find that I have very little to say about them (sorry Brad…)

The band had also sprinkled the set with a handful of their own songs and it was mainly during these that Williams picked up the rhythm guitar. Again, rock-based, none of these sounded out of place and they were available to purchase in shiny disk form at the gig. As usual, being a sucker for helping out new bands, I put my hand in my pocket and handed over the requisite fiver for seven tracks (actually, five tracks and two radio edits). So far, I’ve only had a chance to listen to the CD once, in the car, so it’s perhaps a little unfair to put my thoughts down so soon. However, this is my last post for a couple of weeks, so I’m going to anyway. Unsurprisingly, the songs on the disk are soft/power rock, reminiscent of a cross between Bon Jovi and earlier American rock such as Boston and Reo Speedwagon. The five tracks are competent enough, if a little samey and the overall package is excellent for a small band – proper jewel case, nicely designed cover and interior and the CD itself is printed to look like a vinyl album. The one downside is that the sound seems to be a little flat and quiet – I had to turn it up to 15 to hear it properly in the car, when I normally listen to things at around 10 to 12.

Surrealy, the live set ended just after eleven o’clock, about half an hour earlier than the Bath’s normal. Apparently, this is because of the distance the band had to travel home. Personally I think that, given the youthful nature of the band, it’s just that they were out past their bedtime…

Good effort, lads. I, for one, hope to see you in York again soon.

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About Ian

Regular gig-goer in York, both to see local and touring bands. Huge music fan, with more CDs than my wife thinks any one person should own. I also collect American comics, read a lot of SF and fantasy and am a season-ticket holder at Leeds United.
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