Stone Broken (2018)

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 10, 2018    
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Stone Broken - Live Rooms, Chester (UK) - 06 March 2018

The Stone Broken star is well and truly in its ascendancy right now. At the time of writing this review, the new album 'Ain't Always Easy' (released March 2nd) had entered the national album charts at #15 and tonight's show is a sell-out. These announcements were made from the stage during the set by lead-singer Rich Moss and were greeted enthusiastically by the partisan crowd, though one gentleman was keen to shout out that his wife couldn't make it. I have seen the young Walsall band several times during the course of the last eighteen months at various sized venues and I have never failed to be impressed by the energy levels and enjoyment they seem to generate, whether it be in front of fifty people or several hundred.

Before the show I was fortunate enough to have a quick chat with the band and found them to be down-to-earth and honest. Moss was suffering with a virus so was cradling a cup of honey and lemon to soothe his throat, but that seemed to deter him very little. The crowd had been warmed up nicely by lively performances from The Bad Flowers and Jared James Nichols, so when Stone Broken took to the small stage at 9.15 everyone was dripping with anticipation. They opened with 'Heartbeat Away' from the new album which was a bold move, but the band have a great amount of faith in the new material and included most of the eleven songs in the ninety minute set.

Sone Broken Live 1

Though the songs on 'Ain't Always Easy' have an "if it ain't broke don't fix it" feel, it was obvious that long periods of time on the road has aided in the band's growth and development. The intimate nature of the Live Rooms venue allowed little room for my 6'5" frame in the meagre photo pit and the fact the show was also being filmed from the balcony and several hand-held devices meant I only got two songs to get really up close and personal. The new songs sat nicely next to the more familiar ones. Fans of the band who have seen them on numerous occasions since the debut was released in 2016 may have grown tired of the same ten songs again and again so it was great to hear the likes of 'I Believe', 'Just A Memory', 'Worth Fighting For' and 'Let Me See It All' alongside 'Be There' and 'Stay All Night'.

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Lead guitarist Rich Davis and bass player Kieron Conroy swapped places constantly and made use of the raised platforms located stage left and right. These platforms seemed to cause Moss a few problems however, as he nearly concusses himself on the overhead rig. Drummer Robyn Haycock may have been hidden by a few shadows to the rear of the stage, but made her presence felt in the powerful nature she attacked her kit, especially during a brief solo spot. The melancholy nature of 'Home' reflected how the guys (and gal) took to lengthy periods of time on the road and also indicated how they really have paid some dues to get to this stage of their career.

Sone Broken Live 2

When the main part of the set concluded, there is just a short break before Moss re-appeared with an acoustic guitar. 'Wait For You' was the big audience participation song and a highlight. The rest of the band came back in for the songs conclusion to rapturous applause and then the night came to a close with 'Not Your Enemy'. Stone Broken have a number of big tours in the pipeline during 2018, alongside some festival appearances, and if they can maintain the current momentum, then it should prove to be a defining year for them.

Review and photos by Dave Bott

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