Friday 9th March
The Water Rats, London
Riding high on unanimously stellar reviews in France, of both their new album and recent live shows, Parisian rockers Carousel Vertigo duly delivered their promise of “Ia hi-energy rock & roll show with 70's rock overtones” at London's The Water Rats in Kings Cross last Friday night. This short headlining tour of intimate UK venues supported last September's release of the band’s classic second album, ‘Revenge of Rock and Roll’. Consisting of three native French rockers and an American - namely Vincent Martinez - lead vocals and guitar, Jansen Press - guitar and vocals, Olivier Brossard - bass and vocals and Jimmy Montout - drums - as expected, this band did what it does best: pedal to the metal Rock and Roll!
Arriving on stage to a backing tape of 'Rocky' and announcing "Hello London - we are Carousel Vertigo ... and we play Rock and Roll" - the Parisian rockers certainly didn't pull any of their punches opening with five songs taken from 'Revenge of Rock and Roll' - testament to the quality of their new material. Brossard's harmonica intro on the rockin' 'Well, Alright' immediately saw the nucleus of the band, namely New Jersey son Jansen Press and Gibson Guitars endorsed Parisian Vincent Martinez duelling guitars go into overdrive - with an amazing Rock voice to match from Martinez. And there was 'No More Hesitatin' as they went straight into this stand-out from 'RORAR' with its killer riff and more Lizzy-like guitar harmonies, living up to their bad reputation, despite no live keys, as "the best music you haven’t heard yet but already love", before the break-neck opening concluded with the heavier and faster paced 'Get It On'. Ooh La La - as the bandana/goggled wearing Press changed his guitar and announced that "It was good to back in London again" before the beat of the diminutive but colossal Montout's drum saw everyone clapping along to the harmonies and rallying call of of 'RORAR's title track - evidence - if you needed it - that these guys play Rock and Roll with a smile on their faces - purely out of a shared love for the classic Rock music they revel in and play so well. The last song in the quintet - 'Honey Do' - with its Status Quo influence kept the joint rockin' - despite the constant chatter in the venue (please join our campaign #shutthefuckup).
The band were on fire by now and deviated from the new to the old and 'Last Call For Love' from their very first 2013 album release 'Mighty' - and then literally gave us the '3rd Degree' - another from 'Mighty' - in both instances think The Black Crowes meet The Faces - showcasing Martinez's rasping Rod-ish like vocals. 'Get To You' with its Bad Company/Free influenced riff from their very first eponymous EP released in 2009 was followed by the similar rockin' formula of 'Just Wanna Get Back' - again from their 2009 EP. And did I detect the ghost of Bon Scott in Martinez's vocal on 'Mighty Good Women' - - the cracking opening track from 'Mighty' - before it was back to 'RORAR's slower 'Don't Take It To Heart', a hometown point of view on the terrorist attacks in Paris on 13th November 2015 with an amazing and fitting guitar solo from Martinez. It was then back to 'Mighty' for the last two tracks of the set - the palpable Quo/ZZ Top vibe of 'Long Highway' and finally I'm A Comin' World with another awesome solid guitar riff - "Are you feeling it London" asked Press - as he introduced the 'Huggy Bear' capped Montout, before a cool bass solo saw Brossard bump his head as he jumped on to a speaker stack. Not to be outdone, Martinez's Gary Moore like facial expressions on an outstanding guitar solo was more than matched by Press's slide guitar. Cries of "We want more" were answered by a Blues power encore - B.B. eat your heart out - this was Blues driven Rock and Soul - yes the set was really that wide-ranging! If you get the chance to see Carousel Vertigo on the last date of their tour tonight at The Priory Hotel, Dover, then do it. If not then make sure you buy a copy of ‘Revenge of Rock and Roll’. Either way - you won't be disappointed!