By Terry Marland, Rock At Night Wales/Manchester
Live Review: The Heavy North with the bands Alffa and Emily 7 – The Live Rooms Chester – Thursday, May 25, 2023
The Live Rooms is the largest live music venue in Chester and has hosted a range of musical highlights in recent months. Rock and Blues acts include Robert Jon and the Wreck, Eric Gales, Reef and Anna Popovic. The venue is in close proximity to the City’s main railway station and a wide range of hotels and eateries. Tonight The Live Rooms welcomes the hotly tipped Liverpool blues rock band The Heavy North who have been making waves in recent months with their acclaimed live performances in support of their highly rated 2022 album Electric Soul Machine.
Kicking off the evening is Irish band Emily 7. It’s a lively start with scorching guitar riffs layered with distinctive vocals. They produce a powerful performance that sets the bar high for the rest of the evening. The band is over in the UK for a few dates in the Chester area and is worth checking out.
Welsh guitar and drums duo Alffa are next up and deliver a short, but explosive set of songs in both English and Welsh. Based on what I witnessed tonight, they would cut it in any language. They perform a riveting version of their latest single “Unkind Mind” before rounding off their set with an electrifying and feedback infused “Gwenwyn”(poison in English). This is the song that saw them come to prominence with and become the first Welsh language band to have over 1 million Spotify streams. Just brilliant.
Link to the latest single “Unkind Mind.”
The Heavy North
Liverpool six-piece band The Heavy North have been receiving accolades from esteemed
voices in the music business including Chris Hawkins (Radio 6) and Classic Rock Magazine. Their debut album “Electric Soul Machine” has been highly acclaimed by a range of music business commentators and their fanbase is growing steadily.
Their music could be described as a heady mix of blues rock blended with soul. It embraces an array of influences from some of the great sixties and seventies artists across a range of genres which the band has taken and moulded into their own unique sound.
The Heavy North is Kenny Stuart (vocals, guitar and harmonica), Jose Ibanez (guitar), Ste Penn (Keyboards), Mark Rice (drums), Jeff Birch (guitar) and Andrew Horrocks (bass)
Their first song “The Genie” from The Electric Soul Machine album is a powerful opener with a pulsating guitar refrain that is the perfect accompaniment to Kenny Stuart’s soulful vocals. Next up is their latest single “Where Are You Now?” a song that questions the whereabouts and fortunes of former associates and has a Cream “I Feel Free” vibe as the vocals kick in. It’s a strong start from the band and a statement of intent of what is to follow.
All the songs are well crafted and the lyrics concentrate on a myriad of different topics including the pain of rejection in “No Good” and the in-your-face refusal to comply with those who aim to control you in “Satisfy You”. The musicianship is top notch across the band with scintillating guitar breaks a recurring feature.
“To the Wind I Go” has a hook reminiscent of Canned Heat’s “On the Road Again” that settles into its own groove and is a set highlight.
New songs “Delta Shakedown” and “Round Again” are vibrant and well-structured and give a promising insight to the quality of the new album scheduled for release in the Autumn.
The night concludes with a pulsating and passionate delivery of the customary set-closer “As Long As You’re Here With Me” that is dedicated to friends and family who have supported them so far. If the Heavy North is a new band to you, give their first album a listen. They are a well-polished outfit whose star is in the ascendancy.
A series of live dates for the band includes several gigs on the continent and an appearance at the Kendal Calling festival in July. One for the diary is a full twelve piece band show at Camp and Furnace in Liverpool on 1st December this year. You can order their next album (Delta Shakedown) now. Full details and videos of the band can be found here.
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