Iconic Eye / Daylight Robbery / RKB - The Station, Cannock (UK) - 25 February 2017
Tonight's show, which was being put on by Rockers Through the Ages and in aid of Epilepsy awareness, saw three of the West Midlands premier Melodic Rock/AOR bands come out in support of this worthwhile cause. Cannock's The Station' was a new venue for me, and it's evidently great for Rock bands as it's a relatively compact venue, with a cool, friendly atmosphere and boasts a really good sound too. As I said, three bands came out to support this cause and were thankfully supported by a healthy turn out of West Midlands Rockers.
First up were RKB, who breezed through their set which was delivered with gusto and enthusiasm. Front-woman Kim Izzard lead the way with her infectious personality and impressive voice, with guitarist Paul Hennefer also worthy of note with some nice touches too. The band were also giving a debut to a new keyboard player, and in fairness it did show at times. Their particular brand of Melodic AOR does tend to veer more towards Pop Rock, with the sort of material that bought to mind bands such as Spider (the Amanda Blue-fronted variety) and Heart at their most commercial... however, it was a good start to the night.
Daylight Robbery were next up, but they were rather more like co-headliners than support act. Their hour long set was peppered with some solid and, at times, really impressive Melodic Rock which in truth bordered on good old fashioned Hard Rock. Front-man Tony Nicholl had an imposing presence (in a good way) and commanded the small stage, with a range to his voice that was most impressive, with a real richness to it and not without a certain grittiness too. The rest of the band were no slouches either, they were a tight unit and the subtle harmonies and keyboard infections gave both colour and texture to their material. Stand out songs?
'Fallen Star', the new single 'Paradise Is Lost' and the atmospheric 'Samarah Never Sleeps', and with two albums under their belt already, the band are really well versed and that came through in their live performance. The sound, I must add was crisp and clear all night with the mix being particular good for Daylight Robbery, giving the keyboards a real chance to shine.
That left the final act of the night having to be right on the money to follow-up the previous excellent sets. Iconic Eye are a band I've followed since their inception and I've watched them grow and mature into a really polished AOR band, but these past few months the band have gone through some major changes with the addition of young gunslinger Robin Mitchard on lead guitar and Janey Gillard on lead vocals. For any band to go from a male to a female lead is certainly a brave move, but there was no need to worry as it has paid off in spades. Both new members fit like a glove and have now given the band a real lift and their songs, although impressive before, have now had new life breathed into them with dazzling runs from Mitchard and Gillard adding a completely new dimension to the material, her voice being strong, crystal clear and perfectly suited to the Iconic Eye brand of AOR. Considering this was one of the first gigs with the new line-up it certainly didn't show, but with the foundations of the band still firmly in place – Gary Slater (bass) Paul "Emo" Emery (drums) and Gren Dean (guitars/keys) – it couldn't really go wrong. With material from their 'Hidden In Plain Sight' album being showcased as well as a couple of well chosen covers, in particular the Jefferson Starship classic 'Jane', the band were pretty much spot on throughout. With their own material being is so strong, from the FM-tinged 'Now That I've Found Love' to the urgency of 'Better Place', they were always onto a winner.
I managed to grab a quick chat with Iconic Eye main man Dean who told me that the band are planning an EP in the near future and an album before the end of the year, which is excellent news. British Melodic Rock/AOR, judging on what I've witnessed here tonight, is in more than safe and capable hands. The three bands showcased all put on sterling performances and all in all this was indeed a grand night out.
(photos courtesy of Ruskin Roader)