There are few bands who have lost their original frontman and managed to successfully carry on but try telling this to the guys from Federal Charm.

Following the departure of both drummer Danny Rigg and lead vocalist Nick Bowden shortly after the group’s run on the 2016 Planet Rock Roadstars tour, it looked like it was curtains for Federal Charm. However, the band’s remaining original members lead guitarist Paul Bowe and bass player LD Morawski weren’t ready to throw in the towel just yet.

Following the recruitment of new frontman Tom Guyer, along with Josh Zahler on drums, Federal Charm have returned like a phoenix rising from the flames. Tonight the Manchester-based blues-rock outfit make a welcome return to The Cluny in Newcastle to conclude their current six-date mini-tour.

Joining Federal Charm on select dates of this run has been Gabriella Jones who makes her first appearance in the North East of England this evening. Gabriella’s band also feature’s Planet Rock’s multi-talented radio DJ Wyatt Wendels on drums, who holds down a tight groove throughout.

Jones captivates the Tyneside audience from the off with her blistering fretwork and beautiful voice whilst simultaneously showcasing her versatility and a wide variety of musical styles. 

Gabriella performs the likes of her funky set opener “Gimme More”, the heartfelt “Midnight Drive”, a show-stopping rendition of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Ain’t No Love In The Heart of The City” before picking up the pace with “Little Boy Blues” and the incredibly infectious “Take Me To The Party”. Gabriella delivers a short but sweet set, that leaves the crowd wanting more. Expect big things to come from Gabriella Jones in the not too distant future.

Tonight Federal Charm make their first appearance in Newcastle in approximately two years. This short run follows hotly on the back of recent high profile support slots with the likes of UFO, Y&T and Brian Downey’s Alive and Dangerous. With a now regrouped Federal Charm, the band are also getting ready to unveil their eagerly anticipated third studio album which is currently scheduled for a Fall 2018 release.

As Federal Charm hit the Tyneside stage with all guns blazing, tonight it feels like they have got something to prove. Exploding onto the stage like a vortex of energy, they kick off the proceedings with a trio of groove-heavy numbers including their new song “Swing Sinner” which is followed in quick succession by the frantic “Hercules” and the grungy “Master Plan”.

Immediately you can hear the evolution of Federal Charm’s sound which has taken a somewhat heavier harder-hitting direction since the release of Across The Divide back in 2015. The beauty of this is that these tracks perfectly dovetail the band’s more uptempo numbers from their first two albums. Guyer’s powerful rock vocal, Bowe’s atmospheric and sometimes emotive Zepp tinged riffs along with the pulsating rhythm section of Morawski and Zahler seamlessly come together like a huge wall of sound.

Eager to showcase their latest material, five tracks from the band’s forthcoming offering feature in the set. This includes a fierce airing of “Choke”, the southern rock-tinged “Death Rattle”, the almost Sabbath-like “Concrete” along with funky number “Get Through”.  

Of course there is plenty of room for old favourites, however, this time around the new members of the band have added their own personal touches and embellishments giving these fan favourites a new lease of life. As the band hurtle into the final flings of their set, they erupt into a triumphant airing of the classic “Silhouette” along with crowd pleaser “Lounge Fly”. The set concludes as Federal Charm take things full circle by going back to the very start of their careers with the opening track of their eponymous debut release with “Gotta Give It Up”.

As the old saying goes, sometimes you have to take a step backwards to move forward. Based on tonight’s performance it’s fair to say that Federal Charm has returned stronger than ever, with a united front and an arsenal of new material that is set to blow your socks off. Onwards and upwards for this incredibly talented bunch of charmers.

Federal Charm
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Event Date: 18-May-2018

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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