After a week where Bannermans was trending for all the wrong reasons (google Majik Carpet – Bannermans), it was great to get back to what the establishment does so well, and put on a rock ‘n’ roll show. It’s also Six Nations weekend in Edinburgh, so it’s a veritable minefield as one navigates the hordes of pissed up Frenchmen struggling with the cobblestones in Edinburgh’s Old Town. Piles of puke avoided, it’s a welcome relief to make it into the bar relatively unscathed and hear The New Roses sound checking. Calm is restored.
Kicking off the evening with their full throttle, punk infused rock n’ roll were Nottingham’s finest – New Generation Superstars. The guitars were slung low and played at a furious pace. They’ve got The Mountain from Game Of Thrones behind the drum kit, and they’ve got Ozzy Man on guitar. Frontman AJ is an old hand at this, and his years of experience show as he led the band through a rip-roaring set. The camaraderie between the bandmates is genuine, and the band were clearly having fun where they belong, on stage. There’s a great moment when guitarist Davey Messiah (Ozzy Man) was eyeing his pint on the floor thinking… can I get that before AJ counts us in? Get it, he did, managing a massive swig seconds before his guitar skills were required. If you ever see New Generation Superstars on the bill, get your arse out of the bar and enjoy music played fast and loud, the way God intended.
Headliners The New Roses are in town for their debut Scottish gig, acting as an unofficial warm up to their appearance at Rockmantic Festival, just over the border in Carlisle the following day. Proverbial road warriors, it’s obvious from the off that the guys from Wiesbaden, Germany have put in the miles across mainland Europe over the last decade or so. Polished, professional, seasoned, and confident… these are just a few of many words that you could use to describe The New Roses. Beginning with the glorious ‘Every Wild Heart’ is a masterstroke, signifying to the crowd that they will be required to sing tonight. One of the many highlights on current album ‘One More For The Road’, it has a chorus tailor made for bellowing out with a pint sloshing about in your hand. It rattles along at a fair old pace, and is a perfect opener, as the crowd are on their side straight away. When you catch a relatively “new” band making their debut in a new country, the worry is that not many people will know the songs. Here, it is quite the opposite. Vocalist/guitarist Timmy Rough wastes no time in cajoling a response from the crowd, leading the call and response, getting the hands in the air, but even he must be taken aback with the crowd singing along. It helps that the songs are catchy as hell, though. Shit, I’m still singing them now!
Rough is an engaging frontman, ever-smiling as he soaks in the atmosphere. Most songs are preceded with a short introduction about the subject matter. One, in particular, elicits a favourable response from the crowd as Rough explained, ”Although this is our first gig in Scotland, I did come to Edinburgh for Hogmanay one year, and if I hadn’t already written this next song, then I would have after that visit.. this is called “Whiskey Nightmare”. This is quickly followed by one of the crowd walking to the bar to buy him a dram. Down in one, sir! Another tale is about how he was beaten up at school because of his “long hair, up like Elvis!”. This, of course, serves as an intro to ‘Life Ain’t Easy (For A Boy With Long Hair), and I’ll be damned, everyone is singing the words. Next to Rough are his accomplished bandmates; guitarist Norman (Norman Bites? Really? Cool!), Hardy the bouncing bassist, and the big man at the back, Urban on the drums and backing vocals. Years of playing together, schlepping across border after border, mile after mile, has given them an almost sixth sense on stage. It’s a small stage, but Norman Bites knows intuitively that as soon as Rough moves over next to Hardy, that’s his cue to take centre stage for his solo. Bands are made or found out on the stage, and The New Roses prove that nothing can be a substitute for learning your craft on the road.
Set wise, it’s a blend of material from last years ‘One More For The Road’ (including the epic title track, which features a Max Weinberg-like performance from Urban), 2016’s ‘Dead Man’s Voice’, and the debut ‘Without A Trace’. Before Rough introduces “2nd 1st Time” from the debut, he tells us that although it is some years old, the band very rarely play it live. I’m not really sure why, as it is a belter! Talking of belters… ‘Thirsty’ is incredible live. It’s foolish to even attempt not singing along with it, go with the flow, dude. Finishing with a few verses of the Bob Seger classic ‘Old Time Rock N’ Roll’, the New Roses take their bows. Hardy quickly sets up the merch desk, and the others start to break down the equipment. Life sure ain’t easy for a boy with long hair…
The New Roses will be out with The Dead Daisies in mainland Europe during the Spring. When they come back to the UK, don’t just phone a friend… phone them all.