First things first, and here’s my pet gripe. The show – as printed on the entry tickets – kicked off bang on 9pm. Many of our entertainment shows on the Rock just don’t get it and start 10, 20 and some times more minutes late…I don’t understand why promptness is not upheld. It shows lack of professionalism at the very start of a performance, any performance! Anyway, I digress…
Ace of Shades kicked off the evening with a very good set of songs getting the mix of covers and original compositions just right, I thought. I’ve witnessed some of the ‘Slade Corporation’s’ on stage work in the past, as they’ve appeared in different incarnations over time, and on Saturday night I was blown away! What an improvement.
It was obvious they’ve rehearsed, rehearsed and rehearsed coming across as, well…well rehearsed!’ Michael, Keeran, Della (in her Rock personification), Zoe – she gave it all, just great – and Ernest as the band leader. A wonderful set of tunes, even tackling a Police hit with their sometimes tricky and difficult-to-follow off beat rhythms…And lead guitarist Ernest…Wow, what a nifty, effortless set of fingers he has with his guitar riffs way up front, sometimes harmonising with second guitarist Della…Great opening!
Next were the Uninvited, who were invited onto the stage…and they did to great applause from the almost 200 mainly lovers of Rock in the crowd. Megan, Noni, Kyle, Douglas and Nathan entertained us for the next 40 minutes. I was told they also appear as Canadian hit maker, Alanis Morissette tribute band, but on the night they gave us more: Megan gave us covers of hits by other artists too.
A very good band with most of them on stage seasoned musicians, who have worked with many other outfits and singer Megan has come a long way, looking good and performing well in the outfit she wore on the night. I first heard her sing at a Mrs Gibraltar Pageant in the Alameda Open Air Theatre just a few years ago. Towards the end, the Uninvited gave us the Morissette hit, ‘Uninvited’ which gave the group its name to much appreciation from the crowd. They put on a good show!
Professionalism showed up again during the evening’s proceedings where both supporting bands stuck to the agreed 40 minute slot they were given on the night…and so we moved on, and after a well earned drink during a 20/25 minute break we were ready to be entertained once more with a touch of magic…sorry, MAGIK!.
They were the stars of the night coming on stage after the two support bands and proved to be tops! A combination of Spanish and Gibraltarian musicians made up the Rock quartet…Carlos ‘Tibu’ Sanchez on bass, Manolo Arias on lead – and every other function – on guitar, Peter Chichon ex Breed 77, on drums (and what a drummer) and Giles Ramirez on vocals…All seasoned musicians, who’ve been around for a long, long time. ‘Tibu’ has, since doing the rounds in different groups in Spain, lent his talents to managing a number of acts in Spain including, Alejandro Sanz, El Canto Del Loco and others.
Manolo has been all over Europe more notably involved in ‘Niagra’, ‘Ñu’ … and ‘Mago De Oz’, amongst others…And so the tunes came roaring towards us in the Aurora banqueting/conference/concert room on the Sunborn… great versions of well known classics like, Show me the way, Desperado (during an acoustic set), Don’t Stop, Up Around the Bend and many more during their well over 60 minutes set.
Giles was in fine form and his version of Albert Hammond’s, It Never Rains in Southern California was a highlight. I always say if you’re going to do covers (other than as a tribute band) you need to make them your own and not a copy of what is already there…great example of that is Joe Cocker’s version of the Beatles’, With a Little Help From my Friends, totally different to Ringo’s rendition.
I felt Manolo’s clever guitar riffs could have been a little louder and more upfront to really show his playing prowess. Other than that, it was all good…The crowd loved it all not least because it was a well organised evening/night of Rock. Top marks to all three acts and the organisers…We’re getting better at it and ‘professionalism’…is on the UP!!
Text By Richard Cartwright
Photohgraphs By Mark Galliano Photography