FM River Rooms Stourbridge 22-4-18

First up was a 35 minutes acoustic set from Rebecca Downes who possesses a huge bluesy vocal range which at times took the breath away.
Her set included a cover of Janis Joplin's Piece Of My Heart which stood comparison alongside original material that included Sailing On A Pool Of Tears and Believe and I look forward to seeing the full electric show one day.

FM have for more than 3 decade's been one of my favourite band's so the chance of a Sunday night at an excellent venue that I have visited before just had to be done.

This was the the last of 3 warm up show's before their set at the Frontiers Record Festival in Milan next weekend where they are recording a live dvd/cd set.

For 95 minute's their career retrospective set was rapturously received by all with the band firing on all cylinder's.

This is what they played.

Black Magic
I Belong To The Night
Life Is A Highway
Let Love Be The Leader
Someday (You'll Come Running To Me)
Killed By Love
Over You
Closer To Heaven
Blood And Gasoline
All Or Nothing
Love Lies Dying
Bad Luck
Tough It Out
That Girl
Burning My Heart Down
Encores Of Story Of My Life
Does It Fell Like Love
Other Side Of Midnight

With their excellent new album Atomic Generation now on the shelves for 3 weeks opener Black Magic with it's big guitar riff and huge chorus after Pete Jupp on drums setting the pace in the intro and plenty of woah woah's with the crowd in good voice from the off.

Killed By Love was the only other new song played with Steve Overland telling us it will be the next single sent to radio.The band looked visibly shocked at the crowd participation with the yeah yeah refrain sounding 10 times bigger and you would have believed it was a song from Indiscreet not a song only just released and played only 3 times in the live setting as the reaction was that big.

A big shout out to the sound man as everyone was audible with Jem Davis on keys and Merv Goldsworthy on bass adding a real depth to the mix.

Jim Kirkpatrick on guitar is a wonderful player happy to riff away and add guitar flourishes where required.His solo's are short sharp and to the point always melodic and when he open's up he is very fluid and expressive.Metropolis seems him centre stage but never over playing.His style sit's wonderfully alongside Steve's when he plays and their twin soloing is exquisite.

Steve Overland in my opinion is one of the true great vocalist's of this or any generation and he was in fine voice and still needing St John's Ambulance after his vocal performance on Someday where as he added it has been requested for but not by him as he has to sing it.
His tone and range are wonderful and he really does get better with age and to see him at such close quarter's had the hair's up on the back of my neck on many occasion's.

Their had been a small change in the set as Steve had hinted in our recent chat with a 3 song Aphrodisiac interlude with Steve's showcase vocal Closer To Heaven and his chance from Jim to have a guitar solo too.Blood And Gasoline and All Or Nothing saw the crowd in fine voice with great backing vocal's from Jim and Merv only adding to the sound.
Over You off Metropolis was a great opener of this part of the show with lot's of crowd clapping and singing and backing vocal's a plenty too.

The band chemistry is to die for.You can see the enjoyment on every face and so many great moment's.With a nod or wink or a quip there was laughter and smile's as Steve tried to get past Jim to sing the lead on Burning Jim's head nod was going on then.
After one guitar solo Jim added a tap on at the end which gave Steve a laugh in fact Jim liked it so much he did it again.And as Jim solo'd at the end of Love Lies Dying Merv and Steve stood back smiling and watching like proud parent's.
All of the band are constantly looking into the audience nodding and smiling at friends showing they are a band for the people.
It is so great to watch and I have seen them 24 times and maybe never as good as this.

The end of the set had staple's Bad Luck,Tough It Out,That Girl and Burning My Heart Down as a 1-2-3-4 punch it doesn't get much better than that.

First encore Story Of My Life had a short Jem key's intro before Steve's tour de force vocal leaving us all stunned in the majesty of it.

Does It Fell Like Love and Other Side Of Midnight brought the house down and to see the band so tight and in such amazing form only 3 days into a tour well it is an amazing testament to the band's chemistry and love of playing.

After the Milan show the band play their first ever show in the US before 5 dates in the UK with Dare and Toby Jepson that should not be missed.

A quick chat and cd signing session after the show had Pete talking black cd cover's again and Steve saying their may be a few changes to the set for the next UK dates after the dvd recording next week and that this only the beginning of their road work in the UK with more dates to be announced.

Milan may be a fashion capital of the world but for tonight Stourbridge was the capital for melodic music.

Quite stunning.

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