StoneWire + Dead Writers
Thursday 14th November 2019
Hope & Anchor, Islington
Following their well documented rocking performance at Hard Rock Hell 13 the previous weekend, StoneWire played Islington's Hope & Anchor last Thursday night, their album launch for 'Life As We Know It' released earlier this month. With great support from Dead Writers, StoneWire draw from many wells - fusing elements of Classic Rock, Blues and Southern Rock to create a melting pot of addictive melody and biting riffs. Together, frontwoman Sky Hunter's soaring Rock vocals and gravely Blues tones and StoneWire's conscious whole-band chemistry and synergy, all give the brew a distinctive tang that has built up their fan following. Sky is complemented by Gaz Annable - guitar, Duncan Greenway - guitar, Steve Briggs - bass and Rob Glasner - drums.
Home town support band Dead Writers describe themselves as a bohemian affair between the intensity of Rock and Roll and poetic sensitivity. A blend of rawness and evocative drama, wanting their songs to have the depth and variety of book characters. No pressure then as the 5-piece, originally formed in 2017 by songwriter Paul Shine, entered the stage, alongside his fellow authors/musicians - Sebastian Harl, Agustín Molinari, Fil Faustini and Dan Borgato. Shine by name - Shine by nature, as the charismatic frontman took those of us who had already ventured downstairs early doors, through their ambitious, quirky, unique novel of early 70's style Classic Rock including new chapter 'Beautiful Mess', plus some well read material such as last year's debut single 'Medusa', its follow up ‘Echoes In The Sun’, the slower 'December', plus their powerful and catchy, recently released third single ‘She’s All The Animals’, the recording of which featured Ben Ellis (Iggy Pop/Swervedriver) on bass guitar.
The music of The Struts, Placebo and The Manic Street Preachers also sprang to mind, given their explosive, twin layers of guitars and anthemic choruses, excellently built around and complemented by Shine's soaring vocals and occasional keys. There was even their own brave take, dedicated to "The Black Star himself", of Bowie's 'Ziggy Stardust', before Shine ended their set with "one more Rock and Roll song" and proceeded to leap off the stage. This was the band's last gig of the year, but on this evidence, are fast building a reputation for themselves in the capital’s Rock music scene, due in no small part to their arresting live performances.
By the time StoneWire made their way on to the stage, the venue was rammed, albeit, reassuringly, by a very young Rock demographic. Sticking to their album launch guns, the 5-piece proceeded to reel off 'Life As We Know It' in its ten track order. A reviewers dream. Album opener 'Monkey Talk', with its awesome 'Slither'-esque riff was well received, the stage presence and powerhouse vocals of German born, and now a Lady Of Kent, Sky, immediately a major factor, and one that would be a common denominator for the rest of their set. Hunter heralded 'One For The Road' by raising her hands and clapping in the air, before the shades wearing Annable launched into another mean riff, doing a fair impersonation of Faith No More's Jim Martin not only guitar-wise, but visually as well. "Hello everybody" enthused Sky - "we're only eight tickets short of a sell-out" as she deservedly gave those gathered a thumbs up before introducing the Southern Rockin' slide of 'FTM', their very first single from the new album.
After Hunter generously thanked Dead Writers, it was time for their slow burner 'House Rules', and another gem of a riff, that saw a young lady in front of us rockin' out big time, followed by 'Hero's Journey', Sky admitting beforehand that despite not being a Prog band and having to cut this track's length back from a Progtastic nine minutes, it was still one of her favourites that "gets you right here" and accordingly we not only witnessed some side to side arm waving but also some great vocalisation from the band. The title track and third recent single from the album took things down a gear, but not without a great Gaz guitar solo, as well as on their second single, 'All That Matters', the stand out for mine so far, a headbanger personified with its "sexy mother fucker of a riff". With just three tracks from the album to go, Hunter raised her glass. "Cheers everybody" as they then belted out the slower but still rockin' 'Kick Up Some Dust', followed by 'Top Shelf Conversation' - think Nazareth meets ZZ Top - cue further understandable freaky dancing from their faithful.
The album was complete as they finished off true to their CD with 'A Step Too Far', with its 'Children Of The Revolution' sounding riff, before Sky poignantly praised her band of brothers, given the trials and tribulations of being in a Rock and Roll band. Suffice to say their last album 'When The Crow Flies' was released nearly five years ago, but there's no doubt that 'Life As We Know It' more than complements their previous material, as they ably demonstrated, showcasing the impressive engine room of baseball-capped Glasner and Edgar Broughton Band t-shirt wearing Briggs, by blasting out five nuggets from their previous release, namely 'Southern Honey', 'Favourite Bitch', the awesome, headbanging 'Walk The Line', with exceptional guitar harmonies from 'The Too Old to Die Young' attired Greenway and Annable, and finally the Black Sabbath influenced last track 'Fix You', with yet another superb Gaz solo. And if you missed out, the good news is that the five-piece return to London on Saturday 7th December at The Cavern.
AJ (photos courtesy of Bruce Biege)