Just days after Muse frontman Matt Bellamy announced the death of rock ’n’ roll, and guitars in general, three bands playing Islington Assembly Hall prove how wrong he is.
Midlands hard rock trio The Bad Flowers are first to take the stage. The band, who recently released their first studio album Starting Gun, have already grabbed the attention of Planet Rock, scoring a nomination for The Rocks 2018 Awards in the Best New Band category.
A sold-out headline show at Islington Assembly Hall will soon be a reality for these talented men. For the moment they’re first on the bill, starting with Hurricane and Who Needs A Soul and setting the tone for the night.
The groovy sound of Dale Tonks’ bass, combined with the energy of singer-guitarist Tom Leighton and power of Karl Selickis’ drumming, get the crowd on their side from the first to the last song. The short set, featuring the album’s first single (Thunder Child), as well as Secrets, Lion’s Blood, Be Your Man, and City Lights, is met with well-deserved applause and causes some swinging in the audience.
Next up on stage is American singer-guitarist Jared James Nichols, fronting a power trio that look like they come straight out of the ’80s with their long hairstyles. Together they bring a whole new level of energy, led by Nichols’ breathtaking solos (created without a plectrum) and charisma.
Striking his best poses next to bass player Erik Sandin, he entertains the audience, not only as a great musician but also as a great performer, as best heard during Can You Feel It, a catchy tune with audience participation.
By the time Stone Broken hit the stage the crowd’s already buzzing. They start with a solid body-shaking tune (Heartbeat Away) and drift into some well-known, fan favourites like Just A Memory, Stay All Night, Let Me See It All, Broken, and set finale Worth Fighting For.
It’s been a while since Stone Broken headlined a London show and frontman Richard Moss takes the opportunity to ask who saw them that night, back in a small club in Camden. From the raised hands and cheers it’s pretty obvious a large number of people a tonight’s Islington Assembly Hall gig saw them years back at Black Hearts.
The band have, without a doubt, evolved since then. Even looking back a year ago, to when they opened for Glenn Hughes, they’ve changed a lot, with guitarist Chris Davis and bassist Kieron Conroy especially seeming more confident and now owning the stage. Showing more presence on raised platforms and engaging with the audience, they prove once again that rock ’n’ roll is alive and well. And, despite Bellamy’s opinion, it looks like it will be that way for decades to come.
The Bad Flowers, Jared James Nichols & Stone Broken live at Islington Assembly Hall, London, 24th February 2018
Words and photography by Edyta K