Living in London means one thing, you are always surrounded by live music. If you’re lucky and choose correctly, you could have a decent feast almost every night. If your choices fail you might end up in a need of ear plugs in a pub that charges you more than a fiver for a beer. So choose wisely. If you notice Pete RG is playing in your town, do not hesitate, grab a ticket, take your mates and experience real music at it’s finest.
American singer-songwriter Pete RG came to London’s Underground venue in Camden to support fellow American band Candlebox and to promote his first full-length album Tender Souls. His deep, warm baritone and catchy melodies are hard combos to resist. Joined on stage by Kevin Haaland (guitar), Adam Kury (bass), Scotty Kormos (drums) and Brina (keys), Pete RG put on one of the best performances I ever witnessed and let’s be honest, you don’t expect the support act to be that good! The set kicked off with album opener Our Escape, the air filled with something more than just music.
It was the experience of a journey. You could close your eyes and feel the sun and the wind on your skin, feel the road beneath your feet. It’s a very rare ability to paint such clear imagery images with music and Pete RG mastered it. His songs are almost physical, by the end of the set he completely got me. With his album’s title track Tender Souls and I believe closing the set, one thing was certain: he owned The Underground that night.
The second part of the evening belonged to Seattle-born trio Staticland. Jeff Angell (vocals, guitar), Benjamin Anderson (keys, bass) and Joshua Fant (drums) might be new as a band but they’re all musicians with years of experience both in the studio and on stage.
Jeff Angell has been involved in various musical projects throughout the years, collaborating with Barrett Martin of Screaming Trees and Guns N’ Roses own Duff McKagan. After decades playing with various artists, he finally put out his own project: Staticland, the group’s self-titled debut album being released in May 2016.
Their music is the combination of hard-rock tunes dressed in distorted guitar and charismatic vocals with bluesy roots. Like a good martini – shaken not stirred. The Edge and I’ll find you unlock the group’s potential as a band. Jeff sets the tone of the night which, in a way, resembles some of Jim Morrison’s live performances. He is a seducer and treats the whole audience as the girl he wants to take home tonight. Nothing short of music alchemy – a deeply haunting, disturbing performance with provocative singer in the middle.
The sound of Seattle took Camden by the storm that night and the storm was just about to come in the form of Candlebox. Despite the fact that the American rock band founded in early 90’s has not much in common with the Candlebox of today, it still gathered a crowd of die-hard fans.
The band evolved over the years, losing much of the original line-up with the only vocalist Kevin Martin and drummer Dave Krusen remaining. Sadly on the European leg of the Disappearing In Airports tour, promoting the group’s sixth studio album by the same title, Dave was replaced by Robin Diaz (known from collaborations with Courtney Love).
So today’s Candlebox was not exactly the same band as it used to be in the glory days. Adam Kury on bass and Brian Quinn on rhythm guitar Candlebox nowadays still does not disappoint. Mike Leslie on guitar has been replaced by the enigmatic Island Styles.
Martin’s vocal worshipped by fans remains untouched over the decades. He sounds as good today as in the 1990s and still owns the crowd. They adore him like the day he sang Cover Me for the very first time in 1993. Although the night in The Underworld is part of a tour promoting their latest album, the setlist reads more like a gift to fans than a promo tour.
You, Change, Far Behind, Cover Me … the band is going through their greatest hits cycling in only two new songs: Supernova and Crazy. They might be a different band to that seen decades ago, but they keep the music going and that’s the most important thing.
Pete RG, Staticland, Candlebox live at The Underground, Camden on 21st January 2017
Live Review and Photography by Edyta K