Anybody who reads my writings regularly will know about Strangers In Paradise (SiP) and Recovery and it continues to be a privilege to have a ringside seat as these bands develop. It’s been a challenging year for both bands with personnel changes; more on which later. Just a note on the occasion; this gig was part of the Friday Night At Rehab series which appear to have moved from the smaller Zoso venue and are organised by Lobo Lex. I’ve said before that the people who make any events happen don’t get enough credit, let alone regular events so Lex – respect to you.
The first act on stage was MC Lence who I’m almost certain is the rapper who performs with the Blues Bar house band on Monday jam nights; it’s an unconventional pairing but makes for something of a showstopper. However last night Lence was forced to perform with just his voice which, unfortunately, made it seem like somebody talking in the background – a shame since the Blues Bar experience has showed me what he’s capable of. That said his role that night was primarily as a warm up for the acts to follow.
SiP were up next. The passing of the drumming baton to Andy Schofield seems pretty much complete and the band can look ahead to 2014. It was curious that the three tracks from the band’s first EP were all present and correct while its superior follow up was almost completely ignored. Also missing were the epic cover versions (five covers from as many genres in one song) that have been a staple of SiP gigs from the beginning. On the plus side Crosswire and Land Of Later On are always worth the trip, there was a new song (never piss these guys off on Twitter appears to be sound advice) and the contribution of Soul Deep and Tre – sometimes a distraction – seemed to gel last Friday.
I’ve already made the comment on facebook that an SiP/ MC Lence collaboration could be interesting given that lyrically they breathe similar fire.
After ruling the battle of the bands in Spring Recovery have been on a forced break following the departure of Matt Jones and difficulties in recruiting a replacement. However that problem has now been solved and this gig was the debut of Gavin Ramsay, a veteran of several local bands and somebody who – on first impressions – should compliment an already interesting mix of characters. The vacancy may have been hard to fill but it’s clear now they found the right man for the job.
Recovery were only allowed five songs and no less than two fifths of their set was new material. Live Forever was the middle song of the evening and the one I want to focus on. Imagine (bear with me here) a mountain plain somewhere. A mouse runs across the ground, dwarved by the landscape. Then there’s a shadow as a eagle descends followed by the strike as it catches the mouse in its talons. What happens next we see from the mouse’s point of view as it sees the ground grow less and less and knows that it is lost but also that in its final moments it will it least rise higher than it ever dreamed.
The point of this waffle – this was what ran through my head as the band debuted Live Forever. The intro is innocous at first but with just a hint of menace, then the attack as the riff and Skinner’s vocal kicks in and the rise as the song finds its pace and hits again and again. In simpler musical terms the Foo Fighters influence is there, however this is a tribute to nobody – it’s a Recovery song.
Put simply (yes these guys are mates of mine so I am biased) Recovery were Harrogate’s second best band and with the Four 45s currently regenerating they’ve – temporarily at least – become the best (no mean achievement with SiP and Pips also in the field). 2014 should hopefully see the long promised EP and, as I’ve said a few times, this band deserve a producer to match their vision.
The headliners for the night were the Unity Reggae Band but I only caught patches of their set and reggae isn’t my thing so it would be unfair to comment.