Playing only their third live gig (and the second I’ve seen) this was a chance to find out if ROGUES had built on their promising start at the Green Door Store last year. The Pellirocco, for those not familiar, is a smaller, more intimate venue where the choice is 1) crank everything up to 11 and blast the audience into submission or 2) Ask your drummer to use Canes (between brushes and sticks, don’t you know) and build from there. Many bands would stumble with option 2) but ROGUES carry it off and the lower volume allows us to hear the subtleties of their arrangements and…the words! Brownie points also to the band’s own Soundman- recent articles in this mag have highlighted these unsung heroes with good reason!

First things first, the evening kicks off with the vocal duo “James & Nat”, who turn out to be ROGUES bass player James and his mate Nat. This acoustic warm up proves effective as their sound fills the venue well, Nat’s pure voice  the duo’s wonderful harmony singing and excellent acoustic guitar holding the attention of (most of) the punters.

Their seven song set contains 3 covers ~ Frank Turner’s “I Knew Prufrock….”, Dylan’s “Released” and Ed Sheeran’s dragon bothering “I See Fire”. What impresses is that the quality of their four original songs does not make the covers stand out particularly. The duo’s evident musicality comes across as relaxed rather than a studied bid for fame ~ evidenced by their lack of polished between- song banter (loved the snail joke!….it was worth the wait).

And so….. ROGUES >

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Post gig I heard a number of attempts at descriptions of their sound.…”punky”, “new wave”, “grunge” etc..OK folks, let’s be honest, this is rock music! It’s unlikely that we’ll hear anything truly “new” in rock. What we can hope for though is something that grabs the attention and hold it for long enough to enjoy.

ROGUES kick off with the catch “Walk Away” with its classic guitar riff and singer / guitarist Glen introducing a voice that is also classic rock ~ from the back of the throat, almost shouting the lyrics (think Jagger, Cobain). Even at lower volume he holds our attention with the intensity with which he delivers the lines. On the set’s slower numbers, such as “Love Is Not Enough” or the almost spoken start to “Conquer”, his voice shows that it can be softer if the song allows. And the words…..again classic rock ~ “I was never your man, this was never my plan”, “I left my happiness at your door” …the stuff of angst filled doomed romantics throughout (rock) history are present and correct and, when he sings “This girl is everything” on closer “Turn On The Lights”, you know it’s gonna’ end badly! Hey, if we wanted happy songs we’d listen to pop music!!

Colour and shade is provided by the input of bassist James and drummer Alex. The bass, as is often the case in trios, provides melodic touches as well as propelling the songs and both provide backing vocals that enhance the songs, particularly the slower numbers.

The set is well balanced. Don’t Stray” has a middle section of sludged out fuzzed guitars as Alex desperately spits “Don’t go, Stay with me” that sounds like a slackers version of the old seventies standard the “slow, heavy blues break”, while “I Don’t Know” is a briefer, Troggs-like rocker. Second song, “Only You” has a nice funky feel that puts me in mind of Gang Of Four. Lead guitar breaks are refreshingly economic throughout (phew!!).

 While I’m talking of “who do they sound like”….at various times in the set I was reminded of a range of sounds from sixties r&b, to seventies rock (Led Zep?) and even glam (T.rex), paisley underground (early Giant Sand, Green on Red?) but these moments only added to my enjoyment and kept my attention, rather than making me think “this lot are just ripping off…….”

The tightness of the band is something that is improving all the time and a new set of demo’s should soon supersede their current Sound Cloud content.

All in all a good night out and evidence that ROGUES are coming along nicely. Word is that they’re trying for a spot in the Great Escape this year…if you get the chance give them a go. Onward and upward!

 

ROGUES are: Glen: Vocals & Guitar

                        James: Bass & Backing Vocals

                        Alex: Drums & Backing Vocals

                        {Sound Sound-man: Will}

Words by Parker Osmeroid

ROGUES
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