Romeo's Daughter / Beth Blade and The Beautiful Disasters

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Romeo's Daughter / Beth Blade and The Beautiful Disasters - Waterloo, Blackpool (UK) - 15 February 2020

After a fifteen or sixteen year break Romeo's Daughter reformed for the 2009 Firefest show in Nottingham. Since that time they have issued two full-length studio albums, 'Rapture' and 'Spin', both receiving positive responses from the music press. To coincide with a brief run of dates in the UK they are also releasing a six-track EP featuring acoustic re-workings of five recognised favourites and a brand new song. Despite the inclement weather the turnout at the Waterloo was healthy, with many clearly being RD fans.

Beth Blade And The Beautiful Disasters are a hard-rocking four piece based in Cardiff, with Beth actually being from Blackburn. Even though I'm familiar with the name I have to admit to never hearing any of the three albums they have recorded so far. The fourty-five minute set highlighted Beth's great voice and personality alongside the high-energy performances from the other guys in the band. I wouldn't say the no-nonsense songs were original or memorable, but they did prove to be entertaining and perfect for the live arena. Watching from the bar, in relatively close proximity to the stage, meant it was easy to be drawn into the band's welcoming attitude and with some family members in attendance it generated a great atmosphere. My first experience of BBATBD was a great one and I will be keeping an eye out for more shows.

I saw Romeo's Daughter for the first time in 1989, when they supported FM on their 'Tough It Out' World Tour. I caught three dates on that tour and still remember them quite well (thanks to some photos that I took) and was quite impressed at how well the material from their Mutt Lange produced self-titled debut album transferred to the live environment. I also caught the Firefest performance in 2009 and have seen several shows since. The band's core is still Leigh Matty (vocals), Craig Joiner (guitar) and Andy Welsford (drums). Following the departure of Tony Mitman, the keyboard elements have been taped and bass duties have been handled by a number of guest musicians. It was past 10pm when they took to the compact Waterloo stage, but I don't think anyone minded about the late hour. It was good to finally witness a full RD show and the ninety-minute, eighteen song set highlighted just how much fantastic material they have in their cannon. Older established favourites such as 'Heaven In The Back Seat', 'Attracted To The Animal', 'Velvet Tongue' and 'Have Mercy' were very warmly received, but it is testament to the quality writing mantra that "newer" songs, including 'Radio', 'Bittersweet', 'Enemy' and 'Trippin' Out', were received just as well and still seemed very familiar. Leigh Matty's vocals are still sublime and she has a comfortably relaxed stage manner that brings everyone in. Craig Joiner's melodic guitar work may not have been flashy, but the songs are the heart of what RD are all about. The sound was crystal clear and everyone seemed to be having lots of fun. With 'I Cry Myself To Sleep At Night', 'Wild Child' and 'Don't Break My Heart' the set came to an end and I think everyone in the crowd would not have minded if they had carried on into the early hours.

Venues such as the Waterloo allow for the audience members to interact with the band after the show and it was nice to chat briefly with Leigh and Craig and also get some signatures on CD booklets. The walk back to the hotel may have been unpleasant (thank you Hurricane Denis), but the gig went a long way to making it tolerable.

Dave Bott

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