By Mark Lear, Rock At Night Manchester
Live Review: Dare and Troy Redfern at the Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, UK – October 14, 2022
Troy Redfern – Support acts can have a tough life, often only performing for what they can make out of merch sales on the night or ‘for the love of it’ but if you have a new album to promote you have to put in the miles and the effort. Tonight’s Support is a little different as he has two new albums to promote ‘The Fire Cosmic’ released in August and ‘The Wings of Salvation’ in September. Troy Redfern is a man with a mission, and he isn’t scared by miles or effort.
He appears on stage resplendent and looking every bit like a dude from Louisiana or Tennessee – until you find that he hails from the English / Welsh border. It matters not though as the music tells it like it is. It’s strong and powerful stuff and belies the fact that there’s only Redfern and a drummer (think White Stripes) to deliver the goods, but deliver they do. Drum and base it would appear, is so last year (if it were ever, for some of us) and drum and slide guitar is the new world order.
We start with ‘Scorpio’ which quickly demonstrates why Redfern is classed as the UK’s king of slide, and ‘Sweet Carolina’, the latest single from ‘The Wings of Salvation’. Nottingham begins to get the measure of what Redfern can deliver, and they begin to show that they like what they can see and hear.
‘Come On’ includes another powerful solo delivered at breakneck speed, which is fair enough as we are on an early curfew that we don’t know about, but more of that later.
‘Dark Religion’ follows, which gives us a chance to get our breath back as it’s a bit slower paced (not by much though), and you only get the one chance because Redfern follows this up with ‘Waiting for Your Love’. We are back at the pace that we started off at and the riffs come thick and fast and his description of “bombastic” and “with a sassy, blues, rock boogie” which didn’t make sense and went over my head before he played it causes the penny to drop. It’s all very well received as was the final tune of the set ‘Sanctify’ which the people of Nottingham are well into with plenty of movement – heads and feet – showing as much.
Redfern worked hard tonight and left nothing on stage, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he did well out of merch sales having gained a new audience. Nottingham was appreciative, and I can’t imagine it will be long before he’s back.
Dare – The good and kind people of Nottingham had turned out in numbers tonight, not just to support Troy Redfern but for a band that they know and love – and they weren’t to be disappointed.
When you’ve been around as long as these guys have, and you’ve got a rich back catalogue to call upon, you don’t need fillers to make up the numbers, so Dare enter stage right and hit ‘em hard from the first moment with ‘Born in the Storm’ and ‘Cradle to the Grave’. It is a very good start.
Wharton’s tells us about a time when he was “living in North Wales (still does apparently), being in the band and it all just felt good” as he introduces ‘Home’. This was all getting rather warm and friendly with a synergy between the band and audience showing through, which is just as well as Wharton starts off “Lovers and Friends” with the 2nd verse, then forgets the lot, and admits that he was “gonna feck it up”, so he stops, resets and starts again. “Who wrote the song?” says a wag in the crowd. Everyone laughs. Nobody minds.
‘Days of Summer’ tells the story of “when you see a girl and immediately fall in love” before we’re back on script with the title track of the new album ‘Road to Eden’. Wharton then tells us about a song “tucked away in my heart, a song that I love” and ‘Sea of Roses’ begins with a long keyboard led intro that literally makes you picture the mist rolling across the sea.
‘Into the Fire’ from the band’s first album ‘Out of the Silence’ from way back in ‘88, was ‘stadium rock’ at its very best and must have opened many a gig in its day. What a tune. A big tune and a big favourite, driven by keyboards and drums which are visually hidden away in some ways, behind the three animated frontmen of Wharton, Burns and Clutterbuck, but Whitehead and Roberts are very much part of it all with Whitehead providing a solid backbeat with an absolutely gorgeous green drum kit, and a myriad of cymbals including a china – oh how I miss china cymbals, very much of the 80s, but very much at home in this genre.
‘Wings of Fire’ from ‘91’s Blood From Stone is another anthem and features Burns at his very best, but then we are transported forward 30 years for ‘Fire Never Fades’ “about a father and son conversation” says Wharton, from the latest album, written in lockdown “when we were all locked down and none of us knew what was going to happen next“ and the inspiration behind “Thy Kingdom Come’ – which was meant to be the last track of the night, well, before the fake encore, but Wharton tells us “we’re on a strict curfew tonight so we’re not going to go off and come back on again, there isn’t time” (apparently there’s some Manchester rapper called Aitch – no, me neither – on at the venue next door, and we have to have staggered exits) so, being generous to a fault Wharton asks what we would like for said encore, which he probably shouldn’t have done because there’s a deluge and two dozen suggestions are hurled forward.
We settle on ‘King of Spades’, so that everybody can reminisce about Phil Lynott (doff of cap) and all the good times that were had, ‘The Raindance’ and ‘Return the Heart’, another blinding anthem to circulate the head for the journey home.
So, at ‘half nine’ on a Friday (yes, you did read that correctly – ‘half nine’ ! !) we were done and off to the bar next door which the band had spotted on their way in and to which Wharton had extended an open invitation to anyone that wished to join them, to meet, greet, reminisce and drink beer for as long as they could. Now that my friends, is a most pleasant way to spend a Friday night in Nottingham.
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