Ugly Kid Joe has come to the south-west to promote their new album Uglier Than They Used To Be.

The Marble Factory is busy early, with the crowd keen to see Whitfield Crane’s side-project, Richards/Crane, play an acoustic set to open the evening. Crane has joined forces with original Godsmack guitarist Lee Richards to form a duo playing soft rock, continuing their collaboration after the Another Animal project.

Joining them live is Tim McMillan on acoustic guitar, adding an extra dimension. The songs are well written and well played. The short set includes Another Animal’s “Left Behind” along with four tracks from the new album, including the great “Here in the Light” and “Someday.” Before the last song, Crane tells the crowd he would like to thank Ugly Kid Joe for letting them play, and what an awesome band they are! “Everyone” finishes the set, which they dedicate to the crowd.

Next up is Hailmary from Australia, which seems to be producing some great bands lately, these guys being no exception. The four-piece band is made up of Kevin Curran (guitar/vocals), Paul Cush (guitar/vocals), Mick Quee (bass) and Vas Shevtsov (drums). Head down, hair-flailing rock is what pursues; loud, heavy, and hard!

The highlight is their new single, “My Song,” taken from the latest EP, Navigate The Sunrise. Two further tracks from the EP are mixed in with three tracks from the Choice Path Consequence Solution album, including the head-splitter “Yellow Light of Death.” The set ends with “Good to Go” from their first EP, Lottery of Life.

Ugly Kid Joe hits the stage with a long intro into “Neighbor,” a fan favorite when first released and still sounds great now! The crowd is in loud voice from the start. Crane circles the stage like a panther,  seemingly loving it. The band reformed in 2011 and the current line-up includes original members Klaus Eichstadt (guitar) and Cordell Crockett (bass) joined by Zac Morris (drums) and Sonny Mayo (Guitar).

The show continues with a mixture of old and new. Their set list includes “She’s Already Gone” and “Hell ain’t Hard to Find” from the new album and a couple of tracks from the Stairway to Hell EP. The rest is made up of the old classics and fan favourites. “Milkman’s Son” and “Jesus Rode a Harley” are sung along word for word by the audience, as were most of the others.

As “C.U.S.T” plays, Crane has the crowd under his control. He gets the audience – everyone one of them – to raise their arms and clap along. “I’m Alright” has the crowd jumping up and down to his command again, and the mosh-pit is in full effect. The rest of the band give it 110% and have great fun doing it. Apparently Zac is playing through a severe dose of man-flu though you wouldn’t know it to see him bashing the drums in just his underwear!

Classics “Cat’s in the Cradle” and “God Damn Devil” are also real crowd-pleasers, with “So Damn Cool” finishing off an incredibly energetic set.

The crowd gets their encore with “VIP” followed by the obvious but still brilliant “Everything about You.” The latter has everyone singing along. It is an excellent set, strangely with no covers, despite “Ace of Spades” being on the setlist (though not played). It is a fantastic night for all and good to see them back!

The new album Uglier Than They Used To Be is out now.

Photos by R-O-C-K Photography

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