Pick Your Rock and Metal

Monday, August 04, 2014

LIVE REVIEW: Super and fantastic night with Eric Martin and Phil & Bam (M$R) in County Antrim

WHEN it comes to acoustic rock 'n' roll there are often audible groans from those who believe rock should be played via a specialist six-string, plugged into an over-sized amplifier, and with a PA loud enough to cause fractures in the earth's crust.

That's their loss. Even hardened metalheads like this site's review team and our colleagues and friends from Planet Mosh know the real power of a good acoustic show

Eric Martin, of Mr Big, was the latest artist to walk onto the hallowed stage at The Diamond Rock Club. Following in the footsteps of luminaries such as Danny Vaughn, Toby Jepson, The Quireboys and Dan Reed a goodly crowd made its way to north Antrim on Sunday (August 3rd).

Opening proceedings were Phil and Bam from Million $ Reload. Seeing the pair on stools, strumming easily at their acoustics was a strange sight for those of us more familiar with the full speed rock they normally front.

But, acoustic rock 'n' roll can be a powerful force. Choosing to air new songs for a long awaited new platter, 'Waiting For Holywood', 'Under Your Skin', and 'Penny For Your Dirty Mind' all sounded familiar, despite the review team only hearing them once before.

They are destined to be firm favourites when released and in future live outings. The banter between the pair was genuinely amusing, when with much teasing Phil played the "tuning song". As Bam adjusted the tuning on his acoustic the "tuning song" was delivered by Phil in the shape of 'Bullets In The Sky' with the Diamond Rock Club choir accompanying the track.

Eric Martin was an obvious draw, with his background in Mr Big  providing tracks for many of those present teenage years (yes, it is that age group that makes up much, but not all the Diamond clientele at this show).

Asides from the obviously strong track list Eric laid down, his easy on stage chat had laughter and amusement throughout the venue. But even Eric had to admit it was the first time his appearance saw a marriage proposal when Stefan made his engagement to Susan official on bended knee. Eric did comment that breaking off to shake his hand may be the first row of the marriage, or was Stefan's proposal actually to Eric....

Musically the strength of the material, and the aplomb of his presence made an ecstatic crowd rise to every song, clap along and sing every chorus.

Of particular note were 'Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy - the Electric Drill Song', 'Superfantastic' and 'Promise Her The Moon'.

What is clear is that whether it is a stage only persona, or the full-on Eric Martin live he is a performer in every sense of the word, from tales of the road with Mr Big and Paul Gilbert, through to inviting Phil (M$R) to join him for a sing and mock admonishing him for his "potty mouth".

Acoustic rock 'n' roll delivered with charm, wit, talent and verve - sure what else would be better on a Sunday night?
Review by Jonny

Next Saturday the Diamond Rock hosts local rock act Ajenda

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