Hardrock supergroup Snakecharmer is back with a new lineup and an extensive tour in support of their sophomore record.

Snakecharmer are no strangers to the North East of England, all of the members of this group of seasoned professionals have performed in the region with their respective projects numerous times throughout their extensive careers.

Snakecharmer was originally founded in 2011 by former original Whitesnake members Micky Moody and Neil Murray. This formidable duo recruited a who’s who of hard rock heavyweights including the likes of Laurie Wisefield (Wishbone Ash), Harry James (Thunder, Magnum), Adam Wakeman (Ozzy Osbourne), and Chris Ousey (Heartland).

However, following the band’s first record, last year founding member Micky Moody parted ways with the group and has since been replaced with blues-rock guitar virtuoso Simon McBride.

British Blues Award winning vocalist Rebecca Downes opens the show this evening. Despite being from the Midlands, Rebecca has some strong support in the North East of England having previously performed in the area with the likes of Ryan McGarvey and King King as well as many headline shows.

Downes is joined by her superb five-piece band, who this evening can barely fit on the rather tight stage in the O2 Academy 2. However, that doesn’t stop the band from giving their all. 

Rebbeca and company take the Geordie faithful through songs from her first two albums Back To The Start and Believe respectively. These include the likes of her incredibly infectious up-tempo opening number “Never Gonna Learn”, the funky and soulful “Night Train”, which is one of the standout tracks of the set, along with a passionate rendition of Janis Joplin’s “Another Piece Of My Heart”.

Downes closes out her set with a song which has almost become her mantra – “Believe”. Tonight each track in Rebecca’s short but ever so sweet set is greeted with rapturous applause, and it’s fair to say that she has picked up a whole raft of new fans in Newcastle.

For those who have yet to see Rebecca Downes perform, give her first concert album BeLive a listen and find out for yourself; you don’t know what you are missing.

Snakecharmer’s appropriately titled new album Second Skin was released earlier this month. They always say that the second record is the hardest for a band; try telling that to this group of talented individuals. The band’s set this evening largely centers around their latest offering with the likes of “Are You Ready To Fly”, “Fade Away” and “That Kinda Love” all featuring. The latter of which is one of the standout tracks of the set, with its catchy hooks and superb twin part guitar harmonies from McBride and Wisefield; the pair, play off each other all night long.

Snakecharmer’s distinctively classic rock inspired sound in places is reminiscent of the likes of early Whitesnake and Bad Company. The group’s frontman Chris Ousey has the vocal prowess of Paul Rodgers, he is both engaging and entertaining and commands the stage all night long.

Of course, there’s room for a few Whitesnake classics in the set. During “Crying In The Rain”, which is one of three covers this evening, each member of the group gets their moment in the spotlight. Both McBride and Wisefield deliver blistering guitar solos which are intricately laid over a solid rhythm provided courtesy of Harry James and Neil Murray respectively. As the song ebbs and flows Keyboard wizard Adam Wakeman’s melodic playing effortlessly holds all of these working parts together.

Snakecharmer closes out their main set with another old favorite in the shape of “Here I Go Again”, and a mass singalong ensues. The Geordie audience is left wanting more, to which they are duly rewarded with “Dress It Up” from the band’s new record.

On the strength of tonight’s performance, the Tyneside audience would most definitely agree that Snakecharmer are British hard rock at its very best.

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Rebecca Downes
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Event Date: 19-MAY-2017

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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