Now if Chantel McGregor had chosen to record her new live album in tonight’s venue – the ARC in Stockton, maybe the title wouldn’t have been as catchy as Bury’d Alive. It might have turned out something like Live-Stock or Stockton, Aitken and Waterman – who knows, but I digress. Tonight’s show on Teesside marks McGregor’s first appearance in Stockton since 2015.
It’s fair to say that over the years Chantel McGregor’s sound has developed and matured. Starting with her blues-based roots, through to the hard rock influences of her last solo album. Although McGregor’s recent progressive rock compositions have been simply astonishing. No matter which direction she moves into musically, the versatile artist can turn her hand to anything and do it well.
This evening’s show gets underway with some of McGregor’s faster tracks with the likes of Take The Power, Killing Time and Your Fever all featuring before Chantel switches gear with the ethereal Eternal Dream. The latter of which being one of the many standout tracks of the set.
Asides from the fully electrified numbers in the setlist, a short acoustic segment follows that includes both a beautiful airing of Anaesthetise and a majestic rendition of Inconsolable. The latter of which meanders between acoustic and electric guitar, as well as taking the song through shades of darkness and light. This epic track is one of McGregor’s finest compositions to date.
Chantel’s prog-rock tracks by her admittance are hardly ‘little songs’ when they are all ten minutes long, but who would want to truncate such beautiful pieces of music. New track April, which is presently only available on Chantel’s live album, also sits perfectly in this category.
Chantel McGregor has always had great chemistry with her bandmates. And in particular, her onstage banter with bass player Colin Sutton is as witty as ever. It’s of no surprise that he still hasn’t been given a microphone to this point.
Racing towards the finish line, it’s all about the rockier side of Chantel’s repertoire with a whole raft of tracks from her last studio album. This includes the incredibly catchy Southern Belle, the up-tempo Lose Control and a show-stopping rendition of the fast and furious Burn Your Anger. An encore featuring the dark and brooding Walk On The Land brings McGregor’s 90-minute set to a close.
Having been fortunate enough to see Chantel perform live several times this year, she is currently in the form of her life right now. Tonight’s show at the ARC chronicles the artist’s musical growth and development as both a singer, songwriter and guitarist.
Whilst Chantel McGregor may be touring in support of her new concert album Bury’d Alive, still, the best way to appreciate the Bradford based guitar slinger is live and in person.