Pick Your Rock and Metal

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Brewing up a storm in County Antrim: The Brew & Baleful Creed

THERE are moments when reviewing gigs that you end up standing with mouth agape wondering just what the hell you are watching...and just how much you are enjoying the music. Such was the case when The Brew headlined The Diamond Rock Club in Ahoghill on Saturday (May 10th).

A wonderful surprise, and a wonderful set of circumstances that aligned the rock 'n' roll stars when too few were there to witness it.

Opening musical proceedings were local heavy southern groove metal merchants with a penchant for a catchy hook and dark choruses, Baleful Creed.

Despite being a little ring rusty the band are still a musical mountain of guitar monstrosity. It's no surprise that they are finalists in TBFM Factor. (You can vote for Baleful Creed here.)

Baleful Creed's Fin Finlay
With strong material from their début album showcased the likes of Hex, Thorazine and Illuminati featuring all band members' talents it is evident that despite the rustiness there is the muscle to the music. And, with Autumn Leaves they have a song that is as catchy as the Bubonic Plague.

The only thing lacking from the Baleful Creed performance to date is at times a remoteness on stage of the three at the front. Fin, John and Stephen all play like masters, but are at times could manage some interaction - even crossing over at times could improve their stagecraft. Sabbath may not move from their spots, but then they are Sabbath.

When Sabs emerged from the dark depths of Brum to end the Age of Aquarius with the Devil's Chord, beside them were Led Zeppelin. At times the ghosts of Zep's live shows were haunting the stage at The Diamond during The Brew's set; not just the excellent cover version of 'Whole Lotta Love', a violin laced effects section and a drum solo ending up with Kurtis Smith using bare hands á la Bonham.

Jason Barwick of The Brew
But, this was not a set of slavish blues rock, this was a set laced with energy, sewn through with talent and all behind the astonishing six-string work of Jason Barwick, who's searing solos on his battered Strat and emotional Les Paul tones earned appreciation all round.

The Brew were not just about the playing; there was an embodiment of energy from the three-piece. Tim Smith on bass may be the elder member of the unit, but managed to keep bounding throughout, and with his son on drums, Kurtis were as tight a unit that has been seen for many a long time.

Barwick's bouncing and manic drive kept on throughout the set, all the while keeping the six-string going and singing like the bastard child of Robert Plant and Paul Rodgers.

With a set varying from straightforward hard rock, through to blues rock and psychedelic passages there were highlights throughout.

'Mute', 'Every Gig Has A Neighbour' and 'Million Dead Stars' were amongst the stand-out tracks in a lengthy set.
Barwick laying down the
rock The Brew style

The only downsides were the slightly - only slightly - overlong drum solo, which despite its peerless execution could have trimmed down to keep focus on the strong set and the violin effects section that perhaps was a little too like Page. However, these are niggles in a performance that was close to perfection as any hard rocking blues outfit could hope to deliver.

Closing with a brief rendition of Hawkwind's 'Silver Machine' The Brew proved that there is still a storm of rock rolling around the world: The eye of the storm was at The Diamond Rock Club on Saturday night - and what a storm of rock it was.

They say there is nothing new in rock and metal - but whoever they are they obviously do not know that the soul of rock and metal grows and evolves with each generation as proved by Baleful Creed and The Brew.

Photos courtesy of Paul Verner, words from Jonny


Anonymous said...

I concur; I was at their Edinburgh gig the night before and was blown away by this band. I am a veteran of the rock gig and have seen many great bands throughout my time and seen many bands before they cracked the big time. I only discovered this band a few months ago and this is the first time I have seen the live and I have no doubt in my mind that there are great things in line for them. It is a shame that this band will never get any radio play on the corporate drive mainstream radio that we are subjected to here in the UK.

Jonny said...

The corporate playlist managers are tied into so many deals and backhanders that genuine good music doesn't stand a chance...or, to put a more positive outlook, so long as there are people out there prepared to see bands, buy their CDs/iTunes, and buy and wear their t-shirts the music won't die