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 Dirty Lions/Shouting Signals - Live Review

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PostDirty Lions/Shouting Signals - Live Review

Dirty Lions/Shouting Signals
The Rock Den, Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK 28th June 2014

I don't even feel like the ink has dried on my last Rock Den review but here I am, ready to do it all again! Before I start this month though, I hope you don't mind me saying something that I think needs to be said and please bear in mind this is my opinion not that of anyone else at the venue!

Dean, as Promoter, and the team work extremely hard to bring the best possible evenings of music to The Rock Den, they have made tremendous progress since it re-opened just over a year ago and, as most of us do, persevere for the love of the music and without earning a single penny from their endeavours in fact any profit goes to charity! There are also bands, managers, venues, fans and other staff who go the extra mile to help promote events and get people through the doors, which is how it should always be. Everyone has to combine their efforts to make the best of difficult times and most of them earn virtually nothing.

However, there are some that don't and it pains me to say that one of the bands on the bill at this gig didn't really portray what you would consider to be the most professional attitude. Now I know The World Cup is on, as is Wimbledon, It's also Festival season and the weather has been fairly good all of which impact on audience numbers but that does not excuse lack of promotion, an unwillingness to take part in freely provided print and radio publicity in the days leading up to the event, a comment, however flippant, on stage regarding the low turnout and also failure to stay in the hall and watch the other band play! These are all big NO's and if you want good venues & promoters to stay around and great evenings of live music to continue then it would be wise to remember that 'co-operation' is the key word and not 'ego' The Rock Den isn't a pub which might be crowded but ultimately 95% full of people not interested in the band playing, it's a proper music venue, with excellent sound engineer and desk, a professional stage and knowledgeable people whose first love is the music, not the beer! Rant over!

Even though the turnout was smaller, the assembled crowd were still in for a good evening. First up were Shouting Signals, a young four piece band from Essex who formed in 2011. They play a more modern style of Rock & Metal, the sort that Kerrang and Rock Sound magazines would promote heavily as would Scuzz TV. Even though they got a pretty good reception, they are, in my opinion, a band aimed at a younger audience! They played a tight set and for the genre they play came across as proficient musically. It would however be wrong, even though I am the resident/guest reviewer at the venue, to wax lyrical about a band that didn't really do it for me. Shouting Signals may be tight but they have no soul, which is a problem many modern bands seem to have. I'm sure vocalist Bertie Scott has plenty of people thinking he's fabulous but to my mind he just shouted his way through Shouting Signals set, there was no emotion in his voice and even the harshest of singers need emotion to make it work. Likewise, the rest of the band had a similar problem. I do listen to and watch much heavier and more brutal bands than Shouting Signals but it still has to give me goose bumps and I'm afraid to say this band didn't. They still have a very healthy following and I'm not suggesting they are bad, they just aren't for me!

HELLSMETALVIXXEN's Shouting Signals album on Photobucket

In complete contrast Dirty Lions arrived on stage a little later in the evening and within five minutes had completely captivated me. Also formed in 2011 they blend the diverse styles of Rock, Blues and Jazz plus everything in-between and have named their sound 'Sonic Esperanto' which is a very clever genre tag because Dirty Lions are not a band that can be pigeon holed at all! Fronted by the beautiful and very talented Michelle Jimenez-Alder, whose voice has the power, emotion and feel to bring to mind Janis Joplin, Lauren Smoken and a bit of Robert Plant, yes she really is rather good! Backed up by the fantastic talents of Mark 'Dusty' Wright & Ken Day on guitars and the brilliant 'Medicine Hat' rhythm team of bassist Lol Dalziel (I don't think I've ever seen someone play the bass that high on their chest) and drummer Garry Bowler, Dirty Lions smouldered and 'roared' their way through fifteen fabulous songs including all of their album 'Raw' (separate review coming soon) and an absolutely spellbinding cover of Led Zeppelin's 'Whole Lotta' Love, and quite frankly I don't know if Heart's Ann Wilson (who I regard as one of the finest female singers out there) could have done a better job! They also provided the comedy relief moment of the evening as Garry emerged from behind his drums to come to the front of stage with two tiny cymbals to use during a song. He got his cue and completely missed actually hitting them together. Cue lots of grins and laughter from band and audience!

HELLSMETALVIXXEN's Dirty Lions album on Photobucket

Thanks to the wonderful sound team at The Rock Den both bands were blessed with an excellent live mix, but this made Dirty Lions music come alive even more as you could hear everything whether it was high, low, loud, quiet, intricate or simple. Every note danced beautifully and it was obvious that the band enjoyed every single second of their time on stage and once again the end seemed to arrive far too quickly!

Afterwards I chatted to the band, got some more photos and a nicer five people you couldn't possibly wish to meet, I just think it's a shame that more people weren't there to witness them play. However they are back at the venue later in the year where I will be doing a full interview with them and I hope to see a lot more of you then!

So kudos to Dean and the team for providing yet another great evening of music, it's really rather a clever idea to have such diverse bands on the bill because, even though I wasn't so keen on one of them, I'm sure some others there were and it introduces you to acts you might not usually hear about. It's also worth mentioning that my two children also accompany us now as The Rock Den operates an 8+ age limit as opposed to the usual 14+. They have been pestering my wife and I for ages to take them to a gig and we usually have to say no. Now we have somewhere to take them and are safe in the knowledge that they are also totally safe in great and friendly surroundings. Roll on next month!

Review written exclusively for Brutiful Entertainment by Rick Tilley

A special thank you to Helen Tilley for the photos!

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