Category Archives: Review

Album Review: Midnite City – In At The Deep End

Review by Peter Coates –

Released – June 23rd
Pride & Joy Music

Since bursting out onto the scene in Nottingham in 2017, Midnite City have toured, gigged, rehearsed and recorded as much as possible, despite the issues from the pandemic, taken on the world and are considered one of the top modern exponents of quality melodic rock.  

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Album Review: Samantha Fish & Jesse Dayton – Death Wish Blues

Review by Peter Coates –

Released – May 19th 2023
Rounder Records

Blues powerhouse Samantha Fish and crossover rock artist extraordinaire Jesse Dayton have just unveiled the latest material from their occasional collaboration, the album Death Wish Blues out May 19th on Rounder Records.  With gritty, dirty hooks alongside fierce vocals from both Fish and Dayton, the album, recorded over just 10 days, is a bold collision of blues, soul, punk, funk, and fantastically greasy rock-and-roll.

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Album Review: Mike Ross – Third Eye Open

Review by Peter Coates –

Released – 28th April 2023

Mike Ross may be familiar to some as one of the three guitarist components of powerhouse UK Blues band RHR (Redfern, Hutchinson, Ross) alongside slide guitar hero Troy Redfern, and heavy blues rocker Jack J Hutchinson (both of whom have been covered in LMM).

I have had this album on regular play since I got an early copy, and have struggled to put pen to paper with a review until now.  Third Eye Open is not a typical blues album – it is deeply angry, grungy and heavy, and the lyrics cover a number of social topics that Mike feels very strongly about. Most of all, it rocks!

After a number of releases over the COVID period, this album is the first record of original Mike Ross music since The Clovis Limit Pt 2 in 2020, and while it includes some old riffs and licks resurrected from his archive, including the lead track I Swear, which is discordant, intense, and opens up with some heavy powerchords and searing guitar breaks before the main riff kicks in.  Mike says he had “AC/DC plays Black Sabbath riffs” in mind for the feel of the record, and this certainly fits this one. The bass from Derek Randall is crushingly heavy, and Darren Lee provides an immense and solid drum pattern that just powers the track from start to finish. 

More in the same vein with Cool Water, with a chopping guitar riff over another thunderous backing, and a pre-chorus that is out of line with the hugely melodic chorus.  Mike’s voice is not pretty, but he really shows of the strength and range in this one, and adds some nice touches on the organ to add some warmth to the track.  

Title track Third Eye Open, all 8.18m of uncompromising lyrics over the heaviest of riffage, with the vocals delivered with real vitriol tackling some pretty decisive subjects such as sexual freedom, moral signalling and a suggestion that ‘not behaving like an asshole when you knew better’ could be the path to enlightenment!  After the first rounds of verse and chords, the track morphs into a Pink Floyd-like middle-eight segment, with soaring trippy guitar lines over a 60’s bass line, and some spoken-word chatter throughout.  Then we are back with the heavy riff and some distorted guitar soloing before an even more angst-ridden verse, and a final chorus with the lead guitar shredding over the top of it. Phew!

A brief pause for breath with Born To Me, which sees Jack J Hutchinson adding some vocals, and which rolls through a couple of mellow verses, always threatening to explode, but keeping a level of restraint with some cracking slide guitar providing a neat counterpoint to the monotone of the chorus melody. Just as you think the track is over, a feedback buzz leads into a frenetic return to the main riff, heavier and fizzier, and with some intense slide guitar thrashing that must be amazing to see live (I am really looking forward to June 11th in North London).

Mike played in a band called Taller Than, and Fallen Down was one of their tracks, so it stands out slightly here as being a bit ‘off-message’, however the guitar playing remains incandescent through the light and shade of the different dynamics of the various segments of the track.  There is a real old-school Delta blues grit to Face By The Window, all slide guitar, distorted voice, and a snare-driven backbeat, with the slide guitar solo over the broken-chord plucking of the main riff.

We stray into Black Crowes / Blackberry Smoke territory with The Preacher, with a hard-driving guitar riff over the off beat bass and drums.  Powerplay magazine described Mike’s work as “like Led Zep fronted by Charlie Starr” and this track epitomises those words.  A scintillating old-school guitar solo.  The track also has a similar feel to band-mate Jack J Hutchinson’s material, and I love the way the last couple of choruses are delivered with a whole host of extra harmonies (including JJH) and crowd-shouted vocals, while Mike lets rip on the guitar.

There is a southern rock feel too to Ugly Brain, which rumbles along driven by a solid cowbell that provides the straight-up beat, while the band plays around with circular riffs and patterns.  The pre-chorus has a huge hook, and again the chorus melody is a little off-key, but complements the basic sound of the track perfectly.  Eulogy is a return to the steamhammer riffing that by now we are sensing Mike Ross is so comfortable with, with a tension in the lead vocals, and some spaced out guitars, and an almost white-noise bridge of swirling guitars and voice.  This almost has a Talking Heads vibe to the structure and tone, but there is no doubt that it fits with the Mike Ross sound.

The odd-ball of the record – in that it is perhaps the most straight-up song, is (Be With You) Tonight, a duet with well-known London blues-rock singer Jess Hayes.  This adds some country to the southern rock feel, with clean and melodic vocals.  Mike delivers a powerful solo, and gets the chance to show off some subtlety in the longer solo section.  The third of the tracks that were part of a crowdfunder project in 2022 is Never No More, and this sees angry Mike bemoaning the lack of depth of so much modern music, and lambasting the faceless elite who control and manipulate public opinion to serve their own ends.    This is a fine slab of grungy southern rock, with a clean lead-break over sparse bass and drums (Brian Irwin on the kit for this one), before Mike ramps up the anger in both lyrics and delivery before the final chorus and a howl of feedback to close.

The record comes in at 72 minutes so you are getting value for money here, and it closed with the epic Kicks Like A Mule, which sees Mike produce something a bit more mainstream in terms of melody and structure, a driving 1980’s rocker, featuring twin-guitar harmonies, some superb accents in the pre-chorus, an extended solo that sees Mike really shine, and which then slides into a lengthy outro of chorus and guitar breaks that will no doubt be a feature of the live shows.

There is a darkness and an edge to much of the stuff on this record, and the lyrics are angry and harsh a times, but there is so much to like in Mike Ross’ work, honest, gritty and earthy, like all great “blues” artists.  This record will appeal to a whole range of listeners, from classic blues guitar fans, to grungier heavy rock and southern rock aficionados.  Most of all, if you enjoy loud heavy guitar-driven music then sit back, turn up the volume, and enjoy the power and passion of Third Eye Open.

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UK Dates – 2023
May 13: Stockton Blues Festival (solo show)
May16: Broadstairs The Wrotham
May 20: St Austell Band Club (solo show)
May 24: Brighton The Greys
May 25: Bournemouth Poole Hill Brewery
May 26: Gillingham (Kent) Riverside Music Club
June 11: London Princess Alexandra, Crouch End (solo show)
June 23: Hastings, Black Box (solo show)
June 24: Sheffield Honey Bee Blues Club
June 25: Leicester HRH AOR Blues Crows

Full details and tickets available from   

Pic – Halek Gurer

Album Review: Davisson Brothers Band – Home Is Where The Heart Is

Review by Peter Coates –

Released – May 5th 2023
Red Dog Recordings

These down-home, bluegrass / country / rock / stomping country boys from the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia first appeared on the Aussie radar when the often prescient Michael Chugg pulled them across for CMC Rocks in 2018, and then got them back for some headline shows in 2019, and they certainly attracted some positive attention here for The Fighter album that they toured.

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Live Review: Don McLean at Palais Theatre, Melbourne – 29 April 2023

Review by Natasha Wyborn

Don McLean Live in Concert 
Palais Theatre Melbourne Australia
Saturday, 29th April 2023. 

Don Mclean has been announcing through his extensive 19-date Australian tour that this would be his last. On Saturday night, it was Melbourne’s turn to experience the 77-year-old American troubadour’s presence and what better venue to see him than the Palais Theatre.

Continue reading Live Review: Don McLean at Palais Theatre, Melbourne – 29 April 2023

Live Review: Sleep Token at The Metro, Sydney – Saturday 29 April 2023

Review and photos by Krista Melsom – kristabellaphotography

Full disclosure. Prior to the tour announcement, I had never heard of Sleep Token. However, when their tour announcement flooded my social media, I was intrigued and decided to request to cover the gig. BEST. DECISION. EVER. I left the venue in a state of euphoria, my mind still trying to comprehend what I had just witnessed and experienced. Gather around, get comfy and let’s dive into what was likely one of the best concerts I’d ever been to. 

Continue reading Live Review: Sleep Token at The Metro, Sydney – Saturday 29 April 2023

Album Review: Winger – Seven

Review by Peter Coates –

Released – 5th May 2023
Frontiers Records

This is the first album release from WINGER in more than 8 years, since the excellent Better Days Comin’ was released in 2014.

The band includes all four original members, Kip Winger himself on bass and lead vocals, virtuoso lead guitarist Reb Beach, Rod Morgenstein on drums and Paul Taylor on keys and guitar, plus John Roth who has been the additional guitarist for some time.

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Live Review: Bluesfest Byron Bay 2023 – Day 4 & 5

Review by Wanda Hill
Photos by Ant Ritz Photography/Rock Shots

featuring Bonnie Raitt – Trombone Shorty& Orleans Avenue – The Cat Empire – Mavis Staples – Yirrmal – Michael Franti and Spearhead – Tash Sultana

The final two days of Bluesfest had a bit of a wild west feeling going on, with autumnal tones, dusty grounds and police people riding around on horseback occasionally, looking very relaxed about the state of affairs at the festival. This may have been the calmest Bluesfest I have ever witnessed, well suited to the sweet sounds of Tash Sultana’s voice gracing the air waves on Sunday night. There never seemed to be a hassle lining up for anything or finding a good spot to dance.

Continue reading Live Review: Bluesfest Byron Bay 2023 – Day 4 & 5

Live Review: Bluesfest Byron Bay 2023 – Day 3

Review by Wanda Hill
Photos by Ant Ritz Photography/Rock Shots

Last night the Crossroads became Buddy Guy’s intimate lounge room for a few hours where the many thousands gathered, were treated to a warm and humorous insight into the world of this 86 year’s young, blues legend. He warned ‘if you don’t like Blues you’re in the wrong fucking house, I’m going to play something so funky you can smell it.’ He played many of his own songs and those of other legends he has influenced, interspersed with cheeky stories. After playing Hoochie Coochie Man he observed how Hip Hop has changed the musical landscape and ‘you can say whatever the fuck you want now’ not holding back on any details with his lyrics and stories. Playing with not just his well worn hands, but his sleeve, overall front, teeth and towards the end walking right out into the the audience, letting kids play his guitar, giving old and new fans the experience of a life time. As he promised at the start of the show ‘I don’t get out here very often, so I’m going to give you the best that I got.’

Continue reading Live Review: Bluesfest Byron Bay 2023 – Day 3

Live Review: Red Hot Summer Tour at Gateway Lakes, Wodonga – 1 April 2023

by David Jackson – shotz by jackson

Red Hot Summer Tour
Gateway Lakes Wodonga Victoria
April 1st, 2023

featuring: Paul Kelly, Bernard Fanning and Missy Higgins, Mark Seymour, Vika & Linda, Ian Moss and Troy Cassar-Daley

Attending a Red-Hot Summer Tour is like witnessing the perfect storm without the rain. Combine an incredible line-up, a great venue, and a schedule that runs like clockwork. Add in near-perfect weather; seriously, what else could a person want? On Saturday, the crowd flocked to the Gateway Lakes in Wodonga, Victoria, selling out the show weeks before. Listening to the crowd on the way in this is the staple music diet of many, often buying tickets months in advance, and there is little wonder why. This is one of the country’s best venues to see a live act. Unlike many other venues, the venue has easy driving and parking access without the headache of waiting hours to get out. The mood throughout the day was one of ease and calmness. Children were welcome, with many getting an early education into some of the country’s best music and artists.   

Continue reading Live Review: Red Hot Summer Tour at Gateway Lakes, Wodonga – 1 April 2023

Live Review: Bluesfest Byron Bay 2023 – Day 2

Review by Wanda Hill
Photos by Ant Ritz Photography/Rock Shots

Good Friday in the fields of Tyagarah had all the feels. An emotional tribute show to Archie Roach was a highlight. Bringing together First Nations artists from around Australia and even Tibet to celebrate this wonderful man who has been moving people to tears at many Bluesfest’s over the years. You know a show is going to be good when festival director Peter Noble comes out to watch it. So great to hear Uncle Archie’s songs living on and well cared for by artists such as Shellie Morris, Tenzin Choegyal, Radical Son and Deline Briscoe who brought us all to our core with her heartfelt version of A Child Was Born Here.

Continue reading Live Review: Bluesfest Byron Bay 2023 – Day 2

Album Review: Jim Kirkpatrick – Dead Man Walking

Review by Peter Coates –

Dead Man Walking
Released – 21st April 2023

Songwriter, vocalist and guitar slinger Jim Kirkpatrick announces the release date of his latest, eagerly awaited, 10-track solo album Dead Man Walking, which impressively showcases Jim’s multiple rock and blues talents and expands his variety and range into pastures and prairies new. 

Dubbed “England’s equivalent to Joe Bonamassa” by Blues Matters, Jim has built up over a quarter-century’s experience in Blues and Rock and earned a tonne of respect from his fans, peers and critics alike. Not only is he a gifted songwriter (who’s written numerous nationally UK playlisted songs) but he’s also a deft-fingered, multi-skilled, guitarist who’s famed for possessing both Bonamassa-type energy and slide guitar and fingerstyle— worthy of the great Duane Allman — as well. 

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Live Review: Bluesfest Byron Bay 2023 – Day 1

Review by Wanda Hill
Photos by Ant Ritz Photography/Rock Shots

My favorite time of year is here again, where no bigger decision needs to be made other than – what band should I go see now? A fantasy life for five days where Bluesfest serves up an irresistible menu of musical treats. With a plethora of choices laid out before me, I just need to wander around and discover music, new and old to love. Lured in by hot organ sounds I found Southern Avenue at the Juke Joint, just in time for a wicked drum solo by Tikyra Jackson. This band has a big Memphis funk sound with vocalist Tierinii Jackson wielding a powerful voice that can do anything. A perfect initiation into what promises to be another soul shaking festival.   

Check out the Photo Gallery: Bluesfest Byron Bay 2023 – Day 1

Continue reading Live Review: Bluesfest Byron Bay 2023 – Day 1

Live Review: MORGAN WALLEN + HARDY + ERNEST + BAILEY ZIMMERMAN at Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney – 21st March 2023

Review by Peter Coates –

BAILEY ZIMMERMAN opened up the show with a three-song acoustic set that was markedly different from his powerful performance at CMC Rocks, with two of his band accompanying on guitars he trotted out a couple of his better known songs, which due to traffic I missed, and then gave us an impressive performance of Rock And A Hard Place which came across really well in this stripped-back format.  He is a bit of a rough diamond in performance, but his association with the likes of HARDY and Morgan Wallen will not hurt his profile at all, and the more experience he gets of performing, the better he will get!

Continue reading Live Review: MORGAN WALLEN + HARDY + ERNEST + BAILEY ZIMMERMAN at Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney – 21st March 2023

Live Review + Photos: Brad Cox – Yarns & Yodels Tour at Riverlinks Westside, Shepparton – 16th March 2023

Reviewer and photos by David Jackson – shotz by jackson

Brad Cox has grown a reputation throughout Australia as a country rock artist collecting thousands of fans. Since hitting the country scene five years ago, Cox has shown his writing, and performing skills are some of the best in country music. This tour and opening concert, in particular, allowed fans to hear traditionally louder songs in an intimate environment.   For a confessed “softie” that “cries when he gets a mosquito bite”, Thursday night’s warm-up show of the ‘Yarns and Yodels’ tour in Victoria must have been emotional overload.

Continue reading Live Review + Photos: Brad Cox – Yarns & Yodels Tour at Riverlinks Westside, Shepparton – 16th March 2023