Bernie Tormé at the Robin 2, Bilston, April 6th 2017.

Bernie Tormé sports a fine musical pedigree having played alongside the likes of Dee Snider in Desperado, Ian Gillan in Gillan and  in bands such as Atomic Rooster and then took over from the late Randy Rhoads in Ozzy Osborne’s band.

Before we get to hear this Dublin offspring we have 3Sixty from Worcestershire. Formed by long-time friends and writing partners Mark Grimmett and Nick SIngleton 3Sixty pump out a set of, often poignant, rock songs about subjects many people can relate to and tonight the band kick off with ‘Moving On’ a guitar-rich song with shades of Southern Rock about it. The band went straight into song 2, ‘Carolina Jane’, slower, steadier but no less enthralling with plenty of strong vocals from Mark Grimmett and lots of twiddly bits (that’s a technical term for you music enthusiasts) from Nick Singleton. ‘Long Time Coming’ was up next, another piece of melodic rock with an intro that had Thunder written all over it.  The band, and the crowd, were warmed up. ‘Mine all mine’ followed ‘Can you feel the rain’ as the band headed for their finale, another energetic, yet melodic, song, ‘Just around the corner’. 3Sixty doesn’t yet have an ‘anthem’ but you could choose from ‘Carolina Jane’, ‘Long time coming’ or ‘Just around the corner’, any one of them would do the trick because they’re all superb songs, all performed perfectly on the night. Mark Grimmett and Nick Singleton may be the songwriters as well as supplying vocals and lead guitar but the band wouldn’t be complete without brothers Russell and Mark Simon on guitar and drums respectively and Julian D. Hill on bass. This is a band well worth looking out for.

Up on stage next was actor and musician JD Kelleher.

Some of you may not know the name but might recognise JD from TV programmes such as Holby City, My Family, Little Britain and The Bill, to name a few and this multi-talented artist’s abilities don’t end at stage or screen, he’s an accomplished singer with an extrovert personality. The lad isn’t shy and his appearance in leather shorts and thigh-high leather boots testified to that but his singing voice is tremendous and harks back to the days of vocalists such as Julian Cope. Tonight was a night of originals and well known covers. The night started, and finished, with songs written by Peter Smith of Silversky; ‘Imagery’ got thing going, ‘Avenge the Maybe’s’ closed the set. In between these was a set of songs that were performed rather than simply sung! JD’s voice is somewhat adaptive and perhaps that comes from the acting career, but his vocal presentation was pretty much faultless. Following on from ‘Imagery’ we had ‘People Talk’ followed by ‘Rockstar’ (not the Nickelback song) before he covered ‘Love Will Tear us Apart’ followed by the Ramones ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ which wasn’t as manic as a Ramones live version! One more original, ‘Redeem’ then David Bowie‘s ‘Jean Genie’ saw the setlist complete. An interesting set, in more ways than one, and very entertaining to say the least.

Time for Irish rocker Bernie Tormé.

This man’s history pretty much speaks for itself although not so many people would recognise the name or the face if pushed. Tonight both the name, and the face, lit up the Bilston crowd as Irishman Bernie Tormé entertained a decent crowd. Tormé was to release a triple album, ‘Dublin Cowboy’ on Retrowrek Records, the day after this appearance but as has become the norm with bands having a significant discograp

hy very few songs tonight come from the new album. Instead, Tormé took the audience on a journey through his associations with bands such as Gillan and GMT as well as his own solo career.

The first two songs almost span that career as he starts with ‘Wild West’ before moving swiftly on to ‘Dublin Cowboy’, the title track from the new album. Throughout the set Tormé chatted with the audience, reminiscing about local venues that had come and gone and musician friends that had also come and gone. The songs that followed swung from early to recent then back again until the band exit the stage leaving Ian Harris, the drummer, alone to undertake a drum solo. Bernie was joined on stage by guitarist Mark Williams for the final few songs and who raised the bar even further with some excellent riffage alongside the ‘old man’. This signalled the end of the solo material as the band come back with songs from Tormé’s time with GMT and Gillan. The set ends with ‘New Orleans’ a Gary U.S. Bonds song Tormé recorded with Ian Gillan on the 1981 albums ‘Future Shock’ and ‘Double Trouble’. No time to leave the stage before the encores ‘Possession’ and ‘No easy way’ get played. Is that it….no it isn’t as Tormé has one more trick up his sleeve as the band launch into Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke on the water’, an excellent set closer. Tormé is no spring chicken, he was 65 years young earlier this year, but he still manages to sweep around the stage and play guitar like a youngster even throwing in the (very) occasional jump as he emphasised the music. A smashing night’s entertainment from the Dublin Cowboy himself.

Words & photographs: Reg Richardson (RockStarsRising – RSR-Photography)

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