Pick Your Rock and Metal

Sunday, August 28, 2016

LIVE REVIEW: Maverick go large for Big Red launch with spikey Kildare metal crew Stereo Nasty

WHEN you have a 'product' that is a massive step up in terms of everything you have done before then you might as well make a big deal of it - and Maverick went large when it came launch their new album 'Big Red' on 27th August.

Rock and metal luminaries from across Northern Ireland were among the healthy numbers crammed into Limelight2 to celebrate the massive Maverick release.

To help the occasion kick off with a bang the County Kildare metal crew Stereo Nasty, who have been faithful visitors to Northern Ireland.

They have become more poised since their first tentative steps and their presentation has upped the stakes. From the first days with spikes through denim jackets now to spiked armoured shoulder pads and spiked leather.

All would be for naught were it not for the songs and the ability of the band. Mick dominates the stage, and sings as if his life depended on it. Adrian is an accomplished player, ably assisted by Rud's bass playing, who commands his side of the stage as if there was a legion of Roman soldiers about to storm it. They'd have no chance.

Fran sits behind his kit, headphone monitor and shades, a picture of concentration.

What Stereo Nasty have in proverbial spades is a succession of songs, with massive riffs and massive choruses, traditional heavy metal played well.

Maverick have grown up in front of many in the crowd at Limelight2 who turned out on to see what is close to being a band who can challenge many of the so-called big names across Europe and the US who are re-treading licks and producing samey songs.

None of what Maverick does is samey. Nothing they perform - live or on album - is a re-tread. Yes, there is homage to their influences of the 80s, but there is no sense as the 10-legged rock monster is living in the past - even if they did one cover version that harkens back to 'the day'.

Sure, the 80s heyday is celebrated, but the tightrope of hard rock and metal sensibilities is walked with sure feet and balance to give each track the sound of 2016 rock.

Not only are the songs strong, but the performance is superb. The dynamic stagecraft sees them move constantly, working every inch of the stage - and David grins like a hyperactive Cheshire Cat at every opportunity.

However, it never comes across as contrived - rather this is a band who understand that we listen with our ears but watch the performance. And, it is clear that they are fans of the bands that use that same principle.

The new songs may be unfamiliar to many, but they work superbly on stage, and instantly garner support and unanimous approval. 'Forever' is so much stronger live to what was already an impressive recorded track.

The party anthem 'Whiskey Lover' sits a well in the set as the detailed storytelling of 'Beyond The Gates'.

Ryan has developed more tricks to his already impressive array of licks, but with the flash there is form and structure. As always Richie and Mike are formidable holding the songs together, but the addition of Terry to the line-up had enabled them to step up even further live.

Of course, Maverick are great at the little twists in the set and the aforementioned cover version of 'Get The Funk Out' has the Limelight complex bouncing.

'In Our Blood' from Quid Pro Quo is a statement that resonates with everyone in attendance no matter the age. Yes, quality rock 'n' roll is in all our veins - and when Maverick play we feel that pure musical joy course throughout our bodies.

The boys "done good" in the past,  but this was men who strode on to the Limelight stage, they were great, and we believe they can only get better still.

Review by Jonny
Pictures by Jonny and Lizzie Torbitt
Big Red is out now - Maverick play The Diamond Rock Club on October 15th

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