Graham Bonnet / The Brink Hot
Written by Central Electronic Brain     December 12, 2017    
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Graham Bonnet / The Brink - The Underworld, Camden (UK) - 29 November 2017

The Brink have tons of attitude, energy and a go get it, gutsy, unapologetic, in-your-face, effective stage presence. Their material is also very accessible on first listen in an American freeway style which is a little bit AOR and otherwise classic style, Melodic Hard Rock. It's kind of old-school, but delivered with the fresh energy of youth and they are also professionally polished giving the impression they have gigged a lot.

While the singer Tom Quick can sing, his vocals are very low in the mix making them at times hard to hear, but when audible they are pretty good. Their bassist, Gaz Connor, looks constantly surprised with a sense of wonder like he has just hatched out of an egg which is quite endearing, but despite this impression of innocence, he gets the job done with much enjoyment. Female rhythm guitarist Izzy Trixx is rather cool looking and pulls her weight in tough Rock chick glamour as well as being able to play. Much of the focus, however, is justifiably on the lead guitarist Lexi Laine and his solos are played with feeling and skill (although I could have sworn he delivered pretty much the same sounding solo twice in succession at one point), and he is a huge asset to the band.

graham bonnet live 1

Since the first support dropped out, The Brink play a pretty long set. In general, I preferred the first half because in the second the sound seems to become more generically transatlantic and I enjoy them most when they are stamping their own individuality on songs. They may have more to do on that count with their sound to stand out from the crowd.

Graham Bonnet is on good form, delivering a set that spanned his career and looks at ease on stage, making jokes and interacting well with the rest of his band. Supported by his partner on bass, Beth-Ami Heavenstone, she makes playing bass in a Rock band look effortless and seemingly not breaking a sweat, and just does her job incredibly well with ice cool and style, taking the mike to introduce the rest of the band. New Guitarist Joey Tafolla delivers plenty of widdly widdly solos and has the big eighties attitude towards showmanship which is an asset for a Classic Rock crowd. He rises to solos performed by Michael Schenker and shakes a fist at Yngwie Malmsteen in 'Jet To Jet'. Finger tapping from the off, whammying at the end of lines and using bags of tremolo and echo effect on 'Assault Attack', he has the technique and background needed for the post and is a good addition to the band. They are apparently planning a new album next year and so have big ideas for the future.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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In terms of the set, the mood is lifted very early on by 'All Night Long', a crowd favourite. Unfortunately, as with the vocals for the support band, for the first half Bonnet's vocal is quite low in the mix, meaning it is necessary to strain to hear at times for much of that portion of the gig. 'Night Games' reminds us that Bonnet is one of the masters of Pop Rock and, always short haired, he has always done his own thing, aiming for the commercial mainstream and hitting the jackpot more than once. Keyboard player from Alcatraz, Jimmy Waldo, is given a big build up by Bonnet, but he is almost out of sight behind a pillar to the right of the stage and seems content to take a back seat while contributing to the richer sound of numbers such as 'God Bless Video'. 'Island In The Sun' also sounds titanic and is still Rock while having that Pop sensibility for which Bonnet has a great nose. Unfortunately, it is not until Michael Schenker Group's 'Desert Song' that Bonnet finally pulls out his electronics and turns himself up in the mix and we start to be able to hear him more easily.

graham bonnet live 3

It was nice to hear the background to the song 'Starcarr Lane' which apparently is about a place Bonnet use to stay when he was a little boy. It has a lovely guitar into and the vocals are much clearer and distinct now. Next up is 'SOS' which Bonnet credits to Ritchie Blackmore with its atmospheric Morse code effects. Bonnet is enough of a hero to grant the request of Quick (the support band singer) to come up to sing for 'Since You've Been Gone'. Thankfully Bonnet at least sings the first verse solo as some people have been waiting for him to do this song all evening, what with it being arguably the biggie in the set. Bonnet mentions Cozy Powell naming him as a great friend "who always will be" before 'Eyes Of The World'. We get the slightly slower and sad 'Hiroshima Mon Amour' before the climatic 'Lost In Hollywood', another song irretrievably linked to Bonnet customised with passion lyrically to "and there's fuck all I can do".

graham bonnet live 2

Bonnet still has a distinctive tone, attempts all his hits fearlessly and tonight he does a pretty good job. While not every note is perfect, he gets there the majority of the time and it is appreciated that rather than cut classics out of the set, he still gives them all a good seeing to. He gave the crowd what they wanted, and had come to see, to the best of his ability and was a gracious professional host. Others could learn from him in that regard.

Review and photos by Dawn Osborne

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