BritRock Must Be Destroyed Tour, Leeds 02 Academy 2018

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Its Thursday, 5:30 and there is no sign of crackerjack in Leeds, but instead it is Britrock time.

Ahh… Britrock that anti-Britpop movement that really was not a movement at all, but a collection of good old rock and roll bands that turned the amps up louder than their chart-topping cousins.

First-up Dodgy. Not quite in the same, brash, balls to the wall vain as the others on the bill and some might say a weird kind of fit. However, those who managed to get away early from work were treated to a short but sweet set, including their biggest hits “Staying Out For The Summer” and “Good Enough”. Frontman, Nigel Clark was appreciative of the Yorkshire welcome and the band were sounding as good as they ever were. Indeed a fine start to the evening ahead.

The fact that each of the three remaining bands were given full set rights on this tour was a mark of respect for their talents and a huge pull for the audiences. This has proven its worth with many venues either selling out or being close to one.

Here in Leeds, the rotating roster had The Wildhearts on first. Ginger and the boys hit the stage like a whirlwind and delivered a 14 song set that was to die for. Opening with “Sick of Drugs” they thundered through their hits delivering the classic 90’s hard rock that they are famed for. They are as good, now if not better than they were in their heyday. Back to the classic lineup, the setlist pulled heavily from their debut LP “Earth vs The Wildhearts”. Tonight was already shaping up to be a corker.

The bill rotated once more and up third were Reef, another band whose grooves are infectious and stage presence, enormous. If you have not had a chance to listen to it yet, Reef have a new LP for your listening pleasure. go do so now, you will not be disappointed.

As expected tonight’s setlist featured songs from the LP including title track the AC/DC-like  “Revelation”, new single “All My Love (Feat Sheryl Crow)” alongside the classic “Place Your Hands” and Faces cover “Stay with Me”. A truly eclectic set of groovers and rockers that we come to expect from the Glastonbury boys. Frontman Gary Stringer interacts with the audience making each and everyone in the room feel a part of the show in what can only be described as a religious experience, helped along by bass player Jack Bessant sporting a hairstyle and beard of biblical proportions.

“We’re Terrorvison, and we’re from Bradford” announces frontman Tony Wright as the local heroes hit the stage like a set of fully charged Tiggers, seriously they bounced on and never stopped till the closing notes of the 20 song set. This band are performing better than they ever have done and tonight really was a triumphal return for the Yorkshire lads. I have never seen them perform so well, and that is a fact.  Opening with the mighty “Discotheque Wreck”, the setlist was a truly a greatest hits and more collection that the audience went nuts over. “Alice What’s the Matter”, “American TV”, “Middleman”, “Alone”, Celebrity Hit List”, “ Perseverance”, “My House” were all in there and just what the doctor ordered. Every inch of the 02 Academy was covered tonight by the band as they ran around the stage with the energy of youngster who has eaten far too many additives. What a show.

A triumphal return of the local boys accompanied by some of the greatest music ever produced by all three co-headliners made for what can only be described as an awesome night of proper rock and roll.

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