Wildfire Rekindled Feb28


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Wildfire Rekindled


Wildfire Rekindled

Dave Ritchie take a bow. The man behind Wildfire festival in Scotland has been showcasing talent for a number of years and tonight he had a four band bill at the brilliant Audio in Glasgow. Four bands, all different but all extremely talented and it made for an amazing evening and a real taster for the main event in June.

Tonight is a very unusual event for me. I had not heard the first three bands and rather than diving into facebook pages and youtube I decided it would be good to go in blind and I am glad that I did.

I walked into the venue as first band Landslides kicked off and as I heard those electronic backing sounds I thought “Oh,no” but that faded in a flash as the guitars kicked in. The music was not drowned out by the backing tracks, they were more of an accompaniment which in my eyes was great. When you saw how good this band was you would be surprised to know that they only released a debut single last year and they basically had nothing to flog tonight. This is something that they need to sort out as I would have been opening my wallet.

The four piece alt rock(sorry, I have to have a moan as I hate that label) hail from Glasgow and really got the crowd going even this early in the night. Go check out the single “Make me Feel Something” on their facebook page for a little hint of what is on offer and I for one cannot wait to see them again and watch them grow just as I have done with tonight’s headliners.

After such a great start I was looking forward to Darkness Divine who at least had some merch to sell( and I walked away with two copies of their EP…and for two quid). They burst out with guitars set to kill, drums looking to pierce your eardrums and an absolute live wire in singer( I am going to step in here and give a bit of very important advice to the band. It is something I cannot stress enough. Use the about function on your Facebook page, have that fill to bursting. It is where people and more importantly media go for info and without this we do not know who you are, what you want, what makes you tick and first up…why should we be interested in you. Make it funny, make it stupid but most of all, make it stand out).

So I shall set forth to imbed what a difference it can make(by being a bit stupid). Ripped jeans, docs and white t-shirt girl is a great singer, the person inside those clothes loves a stage, she was all over it and was thoroughly enjoyable to watch. Her voice can soar to brilliant heights. Sometimes her antics on the stage does effect the vocal performance but the more the nameless blonde gigs she will adapt and in my mind thrive.

The music behind the woman was intense. The dual guitar attack from Mr Guitar 1 and 2 were fast, furious and very technical. Classic Priest in there for sure with a real modern twist. Short haired, four stringed chap and Mr bashes lots of round boxes and metal thingies provide brutal stability and round the band off perfectly.

This band made a lot of people pay attention and although I may have had a laugh at their expense here I was really impressed. They are playing in Glasgow’s Metal to the masses heat and I hope to catch them again…and check up on that facebook page again. If there is no change be ready for some pelters.

My night has already been made and the ticket price has been covered easily so anything else is a bonus…and bonus is what you get with Sauza Kings. I had heard a few mentions of how good this band from Kirkcaldy were and every positive mention was spot on.

The band were a perfect choice before the headliners as they have a groove all of their own. A very well crafted sound, a well hidden blues backbone with a bit of indie but with crunching guitars and brilliant vocals from Mark Burdett, a very cool looking character behind his mic and megaphone combo.

The band have been going for eight years now so I am surprised I have missed them until tonight but that is probably because they are too busy supporting the Foo Fighters, Eagles of Death Metal or Serj Tankian.

After the performance tonight I am not surprised at all that they have been knocking on doors. Just one listen to “Stone Machine” should turn any rocker onto these guys. That song has shades of Big Country hidden deep in the groove and the brutality. A corker of a song and what a set they played. The name Sauza Kings is now deeply rooted in my brain and I will be keeping a close eye out on them.

And now to the main course, Black King Cobra’s first headline show and to say it was dramatic is an understatement. I literally went into this gig in shock as the boys announced the bass bad ass Johnny Keel was leaving the band. This one actually hit me hard as I watched the announcement on Facebook.

I may get some abuse about this comment but I think there are very few bands out there who would struggle to change bass players seamlessly. I reckon I could count on one hand where a bass player is so imbedded in a band they would be difficult to replace and I include Black king cobra in this statement. This band has so much energy and presence on that stage, something I noticed the first time I saw them. Johnny was a huge part of the experience. The man is a maniac on that stage and he is a bass genius and I am sure after tonight he had to stick those hands in ice as he gave the performance of his life.

The band is all about groove and these four guys came together and created some magical moments. Tonight was one of those moments and I can honestly say that I will always remember tonight’s set, the first time they headlined and the night Johnny bowed out. Of all the gigs I have been to none have been more emotional. I have shed a tear many a time at gigs, be it from a performance, a vocal, a song that means everything to me or a bands last performance. Two of the latter were Motley Crue and twisted Sister and both were up there as my favourite gigs. Those were emotional as I was saying goodbye to a part of my youth and although Black King Cobra will continue it will be minus one of the most energetic, talented and genuinely nice guys on the planet.

Even as I write this it is difficult to balance how I feel about it all. I do not want to be too harsh on the rest of the band with my comments but I do need to say how I feel and tonight took me back to a band that I loved when they changed their singers. Iron Maiden got rid of Paul Dianno and then Bruce Dickenson, the first for the better and the second a serious mistake. I now just need to bide my time to see how things all pan out.

The one thing that was different about this parting to every other one I have seen was how deeply affected the rest of the band were. This was Johnny’s decision as he has moved away from Glasgow and is expecting a baby(and I really do wish him and his good lady all the best in the world).The rest of the band were gutted with tears galore from them, the fans and myself so this speaks multitudes about the man.

I could go over the songs played by the band tonight as I have done in the past but this evening was just about so much more. The fact that they were headliners, the departure of a beloved brother, the fact that they walked onto that stage after three brilliant bands and still blew us all away.

I spoke to singer Callum prior to the show and he was still in shock that they were headlining. Even knowing how good BKK are after watching all those bands perform blistering sets even I was worried but there was no need. Give this band a stage and they will pay out tenfold.

They deserved that slot tonight and when I looked back into the packed room every single punter here tonight agreed. They should be headlining across the UK, Europe and eventually the States. They are that good I promise you. This show blew every single show I have seen them do out of the water with ease. They are performers a step above everyone else tonight. This will be the first of many headliners until the day passes when they are even considered for a support slot.

I knew as I watched this show how important it would be for the band and I just smiled as they took the challenge in both hands and wrung its scraggly neck until it submitted. All hail Black King Cobra, one of the vipers may have left the nest but you go forward and you will bite everyone you see.

As the show ended the tears began to flow as the realisation hit that Johnny had just whacked his last string with the band. The photos below tell their own story but the man said goodbye to the stage with style, grace, a boiler suit and a heap of integrity, Goodbye brother and thank you for the gigs, the laughs and the friendship. Good luck with all you do and I hope to see you soon.


Images and words Ritchie Birnie


Wildfire Rekindled

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