Review by Joe Day – a young person who attends and helps out at Livewire. Grateful thanks for the photos by Mike Pitches Photography.
Livewire has been a strong part of Saltash’s music community for many years, ever since its reopening in the 1990s as a youth club based around all aspects of the popular medium. Initially opening in 1946 as a youth club in a mission hall for young men with military family, it’s rather hard to believe that the organisation is coming up to it’s 70th anniversary without any intention of coming to an end – heres to another 70 years.
For many years Livewire was backed financially by Saltash council, however this came to an end last June, forcing the now self-dependant youth club to find other ways of keeping their doors open for eager young musicians. Shortly after this unfortunate happening came Livewire Rocks, an all-day music event starring both home grown and local bands, taking to the building’s iconic stage in order to raise the money for its survival.
The music put on throughout the event was of varied, but equally enjoyable and refreshing genres, ranging from outgoing, innovative indie to head-bang inducing 70’s – 80’s rock. The day’s performances began with a bang thanks to The Dastardlys, who brought a truly British Rock vibe for the audience to sink their teeth into, presenting both their own gritty guitar-filled originals, and covers of The Fourtops and The Jam, both of which were gladly welcomed by the early birds of the day.
Following this newly raised bar was a contrasting but equally outstanding acoustic set by The Sugar Thieves, taking no time at all to remind us that music doesn’t require thrashing guitar and gravelly vocals to capture an audience. From the get go, vocalist Melissa Adams stopped the audience in their tracks with an exceedingly smooth, pitch perfect performance, blending unexpectedly well with pleasantly raspy, rocker-style vocals from guitarist Gary Platts as the two presented their own take on various pop numbers, including a chilling yet memorable alternative spin on Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean. Needless to say, the day had truly begun.
Despite a clear display of genuine talent and creativity, the audience had come to see music of their time, songs they could dance and prance to as if they were born again. As if on cue, the Barracoodas brought classic rock to town, launching the audience back into the era of thrashing, crashing, face mashing rock n’ roll, grinding through classics such as ACDC, The Who, even an admirable performance of Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb was blasted through the building, reeling in latecomers with the iconic solo. It was at this point that the TV was switched to the Rugby World Cup, sucking the audience in much like moths to a flame, giving the impression that a naturally occurring break was occurring.
It was at this moment that Unorthodox, a talented young 4-piece alt-rock band took to the stage with a cool confidence that can only be admired. Frontman Ollie Kellaway stood strong and sang stronger as the group re-attracted many of the audience members back into the venue with a cool Red Hot Chilli Peppers inspired sound with both covers of RHCP classics and similar sounding originals, edging into what they describe as ‘passionate rock’. Contrasting genres reenforced the youthful quartet’s demand for attention – switching between nerve exposing rock and well-renowned funk-rock simply couldn’t go unnoticed. An experience to remember, without a doubt.
The alcohol has started to kick in, the bacon sarnies have all been snatched up by those that missed their breakfast and ACDC-related withdrawal symptoms are cropping up fast. God bless Metal Fatigue for their timely entrance, taking to the stage with gusto and delightful enthusiasm, immediately captivating the audience with screeching guitars, dirty vocals and childish grinning from every member as they launched swiftly into their 80’s rock cover set. The audience quickly joined in with choruses and iconic lyrics as frontman vocalist Bruce Richards pumped out anthem after anthem, gleefully bouncing around the stage with visible euphoria comparable to that of an excitable puppy. ACDC’s The Jack stole the show when Richards joined the audience to bask in the glory of Tony Chiswell’s solo work, greatly amusing the audience and encouraging them to interact with the bands they had come to watch. It was Metal Fatigue’s joy and carelessness that shows us how irrelevant age is in the music world, making their performance one to remember.
Madame Guillotine’s youth rendered them somewhat unfamiliar to the crowd, however their iconic and familiar sound was immediately recognised and welcomed. The group somehow both matched and stood out against many of the other acts, maintaining the audience’s excitement with a tight, impressive group of songs, matching the musical talent of their predecessors and bringing a youthful spark which ultimately left the audience hungry for more. Bouncing around the stage (bar the drummer) with a childish charm, it would be unsurprising to hear the audience discussing the impressiveness of the up and coming metal group.
Evening had comfortably settled in, the perfect time for Livewire’s own Jimmy Appuduari-chua of The Meltones to take smoothly to the stage under a cool blue light, warm guitar tones at the ready. Blending together songs of both Jazz and Rock n’ Roll into an unforgettably euphoric set, the 3 piece effortlessly brought a genuine coolness to Livewire’s venue, highlighting the beauty of music that has sadly lost its wide popularity over the decades. Neil Bailey and Ryan Bailey both worked together in satisfying unison, maintaining a surprisingly professional standard of Pianism/Drumming throughout, highlighting the reward of youth work much like that of Livewire, which in turn reminded the audience why they had come to this event, why they were supporting such a wonderful charity.
Flood had an insanely contrasting but welcomed performance, opening with a gritty Led Zeppelin style riff and catapulting into a wall of solid sound, lights blazing and quite-drunk audience laughing and dancing a varying points. Midway through the exhilarating set Youth Coordinator Andy Rance took to the stage for his Harmonica debut, insisting that “everything is better in the key of G”. Needless to say, the exuberance of his contribution lifted spirits even higher than anybody could have anticipated, and as the set progressed the audience sunk into an air of excitement. Flood had set a bar, seemingly daring the next a final band to try and beat them. King Creature, it seems, were ready…
Marching onto the stage in full metal garb, the prestigious 4-piece took up arms and proceeded to deliver one of the most face-melting, gritty, roaring metal purity that the venue had even bared witness to, with blatant inspiration from the likes of Metallica, Pantera, even Soundgarden. Guitar play from Matt Vincent and Dave Evans worked seamlessly together, delivering an awe inspiring combination of growling rhythm and quite frankly delicious screaming lead, whilst Drummer Jack “Dirty” Bassett and Bassist Dave Kellaway held everything in place with truly satisfying displays respectively. The stage presence was flawless, drawing the audience in further and further with every power stance, every roaring riff leaving nothing but sweat and ringing ears in it’s wake. The pinch harmonic perfection, the sensational shredding, the definition of all things metal was the perfect way to bring the day to a close.