Forget 2 for-1 Cocktails at the bar across the road, The Grace had 2 headliners for the price of 1.
Troy Redfern brought with him a raw, blues rock swagger. A real diesel-soaked set with his dirty slide guitar and heavy-duty vocals. Showcasing tracks from his album 'The Fire Cosmic', including the excellent 'Scorpio' and 'Sanctify'. He also performed songs from his latest album, 'The Wings of Salvation' which features the cinematic roots track 'Dark Religion' and there was even a taste of his new work with the equally scuzzy 'The Fever'. Troy's gritty music wouldn't sound out of place on a 'From Dusk To Dawn' or 'True Romance-style soundtrack. He's supporting Philip Sayce later in the year if you want to check out his music.
The Commoners from Canada proved to be a terrific surprise, and could easily be your new favourite band. They are best described as every 70s band you love tossed into a blender and cooked to perfection to create their own sound. Yes that might sound a tad cliched, but you can expect flavours of the Allman's, early Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Led Zep all rolled into their set, and yet they successfully manage to create their own retro-inspired brand of southern blues rock. It's comfortingly familiar, but their energy gives them a lifeblood of their own. The stage of The Grace almost seemed too small to give the band the space they needed for their twin guitars and jam interludes, yet I'm sure that bigger things are on the horizon for the group.
Frontman, Chris Medherst, has a real on-stage charisma that makes you warm to the band from the outset. He's not an out-and-out showman, but his commitment to the music is admirable. Perhaps it's something in the familiarity of the music that lets you get drawn in by their songs, perhaps it's their on-stage inter-play that mixes things up and makes it visually interesting, maybe it's just the fact that the songs are engaging, dynamic and easily memorable that makes the set by The Commoners a total winner.
During their set the audience were treated to new tracks 'Devil Teasin' Me', 'Ain't Knocked Down' and a cover of Donnie Hathaway's 'The Ghetto'. Aside from that 'Mellisa' was a crowd favourite.
On their own website, they sum up their live experience perfectly: " You can expect to leave fully satisfied, sweat-drenched, and heart-racing, a good time guaranteed—just what we all need."
Photos by Gerry Driver
Review by Cathy Clark