These Wicked Rivers’ ‘Force of Nature’ Tour Rolls Into Chester  

Live Review

John Hallam and Dan Southall of These Wicked Rivers. Photo by Terry Marland.

By Terry Marland, Rock At Night Manchester

Live Review: These Wicked Rivers  with The Karma EffectThe Live Rooms Chester U.K.Thursday 14th December 2023 

These Wicked Rivers are on a roll. Earlier this month they opened up the main stage at Planet Rockstock to favourable reviews. Singles released from their  forthcoming album have been given a thumbs up from the  music press and have featured extensively on national radio. Their next album (and the title of this tour) Force of Nature is released next March and the early-bird tickets for the album release concert have already sold out. 

Tonight their tour plays at the Live Rooms in Chester, but first up it’s support band The Karma Effect. 

Robbie Blake and Liam Quinn of the Karma Effect. Photo by Terry Marland.

The Karma Effect has been receiving excellent feedback across social media. Word is obviously getting around  and there is a healthy crowd of early arrivers that have turned up to catch their set.  

Introducing themselves as a “Bunch of twats from London”, they smash through any north south divide with a high octane set  of pure Rock and Roll.  

They maximise their 45 minutes to full effect showcasing songs from  their forthcoming album release “Promised Land “including the single “Living it Up”.  The band hits it off with the crowd big time and has them joining in with the songs towards the end of the set.   

If belting vocals, searing guitars and classic keyboard float your boat, try this band on streaming platforms or get down to a gig.  

The Karma Effect comprises: 

Henry Gottelier (lead vocals and guitar)
Robbie Blake (guitar)
Seb Emmins (keyboards & vocals)
Liam Quinn (bass)
Ash Powell (drums & vocals) 

These Wicked Rivers 

Arran Day of These Wicked Rivers. Photo by Terry Marland.

The Grandma’s Living Room stage set, with strategically placed vintage lamp shades, is a fitting backdrop for the Live Rooms intimate setting. It is also evocative of the southern infused retro rock style of the band that has seen them develop a rapidly growing fanbase and garner favourable reviews from the music press. The current tour to showcase the forthcoming “Force of Nature” album is their biggest to date and has seen some venues sell out. 

The band is a water-tight outfit featuring John Hartwell on lead vocals and guitar, Aaron Day on lead guitar, Dan Southall on drums,  Rich Jones on keyboards and Jon Hallam on bass. 

The set tonight is a rich mix of new songs skilfully  blended in with seasoned favourites. The title track of the new album, the anthemic “Force of Nature” kicks things off and from the start the energetic Aaron Day is traversing the front of  stage demonstrating his glittering guitar skills. Meanwhile front man John Hartwell with his distinct gravelly vocals fills the room with his presence.    

The crowd  is buzzing from the off and things go up a level as the band launches into an explosive take on 2020’s “Evergreen” that dovetails with another newer track “Black Gold” It’s a scorching start and things slow down a touch for an emotional “When The War Is Won” 

John Hartwell of These Wicked Rivers. Photo by Terry Marland.

“Floyd,” is a  personal highlight for me that sees the band deliver a haunting and atmospheric rendition that gains a menacing edge when performed live.  

The audience, who have been excellent throughout, seem to surprise the band with a raucous, and deserved response to ” World In Chains,” leaving John Hartwell to exclaim “For crying out loud!”  At this point he takes a moment to thank the audience, welcoming new members to the TWR family, and introduces the appropriately titled  “The Family.”  

John Hallam of These Wicked Rivers. Photo by Terry Marland.

After this the stage clears, leaving Hartwell and Wilson to deliver a spine-tingling “Lonely Road” to the stripped down accompaniment of an acoustic guitar and moody keys. It’s a special and affecting moment.  

As the set draws towards a close the band sticks to familiar territory and delivers towering versions of “Shine On” and the much streamed “Testify”. They announce the final number without the pretence of an encore before a heart wrenching “Don’t Pray For Me” sends the crowd home, or to the Merch Stand, buzzing.   

This finely crafted set adeptly balances introducing new music with familiar tracks, showcasing TWR’s versatility as a band who are growing in stature. The current tour is drawing to a close but there are dates on their calendar for next year. If they come anywhere close to your town go and see. them. 

Learn more about the band here including up and coming shows here 

These Wicked Rivers’ album “Force of Nature” is set for release on March 1, 2024 



These Wicked Rivers

The Karma Effect


Terry Marland

Forest Live Festival – UK

Forest Live Festival – UK