Live Review: Gin Annie at Nightrain, Bradford 20-05-23 supported by White Raven Down and Liberty Slaves

Written by: NICK ASHTON

Photos by: NICK ASHTON


Gin Annie have been criss-crossing the country to support the launch of their album UND/V/DED and tonight they bring White Raven Down and Liberty Slave along for a trip on the Nightrain.

Liberty Slaves kick off the proceedings with some raucous rock and roll fun. This is the first time that I have seen the five-piece band from Huddersfield and their good time, infectious vibes soon hit the spot. Opening with Cat Got Your Tongue and Hell On Wheels, the agenda for the evening was soon laid out for all to enjoy. Singer Ryan Meehan quickly gets the audience on his side, persuading some of those lingering at the back of the room to come and join in the party. Dirty riffs are provided by Paul Brooke on lead guitar, aided and abetted by Mark Ogley on rhythm guitar and Craig Hopkins on bass. As they only have a short set, there isn’t much time for banter between songs; so instead the band let the music do the talking. New song Ain’t That A Bitch keeps up the pace with an AC/DC vibe, driven by a catchy bass riff, before we tumble headlong into Losing My Touch which features a tasty solo from Paul. All too soon the end of the set arrives with Never Enough, the final track from the band’s debut EP Everyman For Themselves. If you like your rock and roll fast and dirty, then Liberty Slaves are the band to satisfy your cravings.

After a quick change over, White Raven Down hit the stage with a huge sounding Mind Reader. This track hits hard and heavy on 2022’s debut album Don’t Shoot The Messenger, but it is the live setting in which this song really comes to life. Stu Bailey can’t hide his excitement at being back on stage in front of an enthusiastic audience. Now firmly established as the vocalist, as well as playing guitar, you’d never know that Stu only took over the job of singer 12 months ago. He has grown in confidence, and has taken a willing audience with him, to the point where it’s hard to remember the band as a four-piece. All Day Long is gone in the blink of an eye, driven by Luke Chappell’s bass and powerhouse drummer Tomáš Mrázek, and then we come to an early set highlight in the form of Salvation. This is one of my favourite songs from the Conspiracy EP, which showcases White Raven Down’s song writing strengths: a catchy melody with a sing along chorus, driven by a brutal riff and killer solo. Honestly, what more could you want? Next, we have a change of pace as Stu peels off the tasteful opening solo that heralds the arrival of Demons At Your Door. Written on a wide, cinematic canvas, this song represents another side to the band showing that they can paint soundscapes as well as bludgeoning riffs. This is definitely a song designed to be heard in arenas. Take Me follows with another killer solo from Stu before we get to Roll Of The Dice. Luke and Tomáš provide the brutal underpinning to the melody and yet another sing along chorus so typical of WRD. All too soon the end of the set arrives in the form of Lost Your Hold and some audience participation. Stu runs us through some scales and then the song kicks in properly with a staccato riff over the verse before heading into the woh, woh, woh chorus and a spiralling solo. Despite a valiant effort by the crowd, it’s probably just as well that the band were a lot louder! White Raven Down are a band that thrive in the live setting and always reward the crowd with a set of pure rock and roll energy. Do yourself a favour and catch them on the road: I guarantee that you will not be disappointed.

Now for the main event: tonight is all about Gin Annie and the opportunity to showcase their excellent new album UND/V/DED. Based on the number of people wearing tour t-shirts, Bradford is not the first time that many in the audience have experienced the album live, which demonstrates the loyalty of the Gin Annie Devils. Opening with the double salvo of Rain and Last One Alive, it quickly becomes apparent that tonight’s set is going to be dominated by new songs. The band are on top form, with live wire guitarist Byron Garbett occupying every inch of Nightrain’s stage and trading licks with new guitarist Marc Bradley.  Marc has brought a new energy to the band, filling out the trademark Gin Annie sound with tasty melodic riffs and acting as a foil to Byron’s extrovert style. Front and centre stands ringmaster Dave Foster, who leads us quickly into New Bad Habit; one of the highlights from debut album 100% Proof. Dave knows how to work a crowd and soon has everyone eating from the palm of his hand as the cheers echo around the room. After a short breather and hellos, Until You’re Mine gallops out of the starting gate with an incessant riff and lolloping bass line that greets you with the enthusiasm of a Labrador puppy. If this doesn’t bring a smile to your face, then you really ought to check your pulse to see if you’re still alive. The Seal hit Crazy came as something of a surprise on the album, with perhaps a little bit too much polish; but live it is rougher round the edges and works well.

If you’ve seen Gin Annie live before then you’ll know the backstory to Next To Me. Tonight there is no need for an explanation of what may – or may not – have been one of Byron’s youthful indiscretions. Instead, it is straight into that familiar riff and the tale of the morning after a one-night stand. Driven by Phill Burrows on bass and Lewis Turner on drums, this is a feel good, sing along song with an earworm chorus that refuses to leave your head. Paired together on the UND/V/DED album, Perfect Nightmare and Someday follow in quick succession demonstrating how the Gin Annie sound has moved on and matured since the debut. This is a more sophisticated and confident sound, with layered guitars and balanced harmonies.  Someday is the big ballad complete with soaring chorus and tasty solo: you can just picture Byron atop a windswept cliff in a November Rain style video. After that diversion we need to bring the energy levels back up and Fallin’ does the job, with yet another hook-laden riff and chorus that you just have to sing along with. Now we are in the final stretch; the end is in sight but not before the hard rocking duo of Before and Not Gonna Take It reinforcing the strengths of the new confidence in the Gin Annie camp. The set closes with Devil In Me, the band’s most popular song on Spotify which has earned them approximately 6×10-6 pence according to Dave (that’s equivalent to bugger all for those who gave up on maths!). Judging by the smiling faces on stage at the end of the night, the band have enjoyed themselves just as much as the audience. Gin Annie are back and it’s time to take notice of the UND/V/DED.

Shopping cart0
There are no products in the cart!
Continue shopping