The Fleece is packed again as the band makes a welcome return in support of the new album Cradle The Rage.

Opening the night is local band The Vigil. Olly Smith on guitar and vocals, Robbie Schuck on guitar, Dom Mehigan on bass and Jamie Davenport on drums are a tight young band. They are no strangers to the Fleece, nor to many of the crowd. The set is taken entirely from their soon to be released debut album, Save Our Souls. They open with “No One Wins”, which they play as the room is still filling due to the doors opening late. The band press on and give it all, and the crowd are soon enjoying it.

“All You’ve Done” is a great number — rocking bass and drums giving it an angry edge. The guys are lively and animated, proving themselves a great live act. “Liar’s Chair” has an almost Sabbath feel to it — dark and ominous, before more the radio-friendly, “Do You Feel Alive”, finishes the set to great applause.

Illustr8ors are no strangers to The Fleece either, having played here several times under the former guise of Blackwolf. The name may have changed, but the band are still the same — Scott Sharp on vocals, John Greenhill on lead guitar, Jason Cronin on rhythm guitar, Ben Webb on bass and Tom Lennox-Brown on drums. Apart from that, the Blackwolf days seem to have been left behind, with a set of all-new songs.

The band opens big with powerful “Stratosphere” before “Something Biblical” carries on with a similar vibe. Scott prowls the stage, his voice sounding great as ever, and the band are in top form with John playing his typical killer guitar riffs. “Shush Shush” is a funky number, with great bass and drums.

“Fever” gives Scott the chance to show off some beautiful falsetto vocals, before it’s time for the new single, “Your Animal”. The song has recently appeared on the Classic Rock magazine cover cd, so is known to a lot of the crowd. Live it is great, with a lively band, and Jason is obviously still possessed by Angus, as he plays some great rhythm. The set finishes with “Cellophane Dreams”, and the audience are left wanting more, having seen a great set.

Toseland are back too, and it’s great to see them playing to larger crowds every time they visit. James Toseland on vocals, Zurab Melua on guitar, Ed Bramford on guitar, Roger Davis on bass and Joe Yoshida on drums make up a great band, and always have a great time on stage. The hard rocking “Cradle The Rage” opens up the set. The band are lively, with Ed and Roger moving around like caged tigers.

“Puppet On A Chain” sees the crowd clapping along, and they are soon swept up under Jame’s control. Zurab lets out a great solo in “Stranger Things”, before a great intro to “Gotta Be A Better Way”. “Life is Beautiful” was the band’s first song played on Planet Rock and has a special place for James. It’s a great song, too, and the crowd are singing along.

“Never Love Another” is introduced as being a song written with Toby Jepson (ex Little Angels), and he is in the crowd tonight. It’s his birthday too, so we have the obligatory “Happy Birthday” sing-along.

The piano is wheeled out for “Kingdoms” and “Fingers Burnt” — giving James the chance to show his keyboard skills along with some incredible vocals. “Waiting For The Answers” gets a live debut on this tour, and sees both guitarists moving around the stage while Joe hits us with some superb rock drumming. “Hearts And Bones” and the ever popular “Crash landing” finish the set before the band go off and the crowd are yelling for more.

Joe comes back out to stand on the safety rail and encourages the crowd before their encore starts with “Singer In A Band”, to which the audience sings along.

The piano is brought back for “Renegade”. James introduces the song, telling the story of the song being named after a visit to Scarborough to meet up with Toby for the first time. After hearing James’ story, he said “You sound like a renegade!”, and the song was born. It’s another crowd favourite, and has the whole room singing again.

Before their last number, James tells the story of playing in Bristol four years ago to 100 people and having their van burglarized. Many of tonight’s crowd were at that show and have been fans since. “Look where we are now — thank you!” says James.

Toseland wrap with “We’ll Stop At Nothing” and the band leave the stage with the crowd repeating the line. It’s a fantastic set from an amazing band, topping off a brilliant night.

Photos by Becky O’Grady

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Event Date: 09-Oct-2016

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