Cam Cole/Mike West –
The Local Authority, Sheffield, Thursday 24th November, 2022
Well I have personally not been in here since before the bullsh*t hit the fan, as I like to refer to it as and it was totally wonderful to get back in The Local Authority after so so long. What impressed me immediately was how many folk had come out of their way tonight to see the opening act.
One man and his act who began with a bit of Black Sabbath's 'War Pigs' before venturing into his own material and completely grabbing us with his fantastically focussed material like 'Grave' and 'How To Build A Guillotine amongst many more. It was Country, Folk, Blues, Metal & Hard Rock all in one with some added personal sparks of his own thrown our way.
As Melinda Ward puts it perfectly, “Mike West totally drew me in. He had a warm and welcoming personality. His vocals were heartfelt and you could tell he wasn't just there singing some songs, but he was truly giving a piece of himself over to his performance. This along with his humour really endeared him to me and I really hope I get opportunity to see him again.”
It really does take a lot to grab an audience with just a piece of wood with a hole in the middle and six strings since many die on their ass trying but he had intriguing quirky left of centre songs... he's wrote a number about that??? No f*ck'n' way!! But yep – what can you say but top dollar ace up his sleeve stuff whilst no doubt leaving a few rabbits in the hat for next time I reckon.
Loved the song about seeing 'Mothman' with it's B-Movie brilliance and the madness of that made me want to buy a t-shirt and a CD too, making my wallet a bit lighter with the odd moth flying out of it... lol... only kidding... I do occasionally buy the odd shirt or CD but an act has to really hypnotise me and 100% take hold of my attention with Mike being a man who managed to do just that.
Now the headliner I found out about from long term buddy of mine, Bernard Froggatt who talked about him quite a lot and mentioned about seeing him in concert some time. I checked Cam out and was blown away by what was featured on YouTube from all over the world. Then this gig was announced which became a no-brainer – I was going – end of.
The Local Authority was pretty packed which was a damn good sign – even Jacob Lally of 'Ashes Of Ire' was here to soak up the atmosphere – good man – he has great taste it seems as well! You could really feel the buzz and intensity in the air amongst the audience before Mr. Cole took to the stage since the set-up he had looked so damn cool.
When he walked on he had that humble down to earth presence but encompassing an absolute star quality about him which you immediately felt. Melinda adds to this by saying, “Cam Cole was much grittier and grabbed your attention straight away. The ballsy rock/blues vibe never let up. He had the audience eating out of his hand. The beat of his music left you with no choice but to get your body moving and let yourself be totally gripped by the party atmosphere that was created”
Cam Cole really was off the chain with his unique blend music that was very much of a hybrid style where he also incorporated Grunge & Heavy Metal to the varied mix. How he managed to make his guitar and well-constructed drum kit sound like a full band was truly unbelievable and must have had few electronic gadgets and gizmos working in co-ordination while he was up there entertaining us with songs from both his albums 'I See' & 'Crooked Hill' such 'New Age Blues' such as 'Truth be Told', 'New Age Blues', 'F*ck You Motherf*ck*r' 'Steam' and much more.
It was like Robert Johnson meets Jack White all in one with some industrial effects on his voice with a sound that he had personally modified by shielding the sound of his voice using a polystyrene cup that had the microphone intact inside! What a bare-bones simplistic genius! We had to shake our heads when some guy in the crowd was heckling him for his cup but Cam refused to let him have it. There's always one right?
One of his guitars was really huge and deep that looked like it had been specially built for the purpose too - unless he picked it up like that somewhere on his worldly travels which would would not surprise me at all. He joked that the souped-up but battered electric 6-stringer was bought at a market place in London a few years ago whereby Melinda says, “I was amazed at how he was able to get a four-pound guitar to really belt out some amazing rock chords.” but he did just that blowing peoples minds with his fluid playing and second to none slide-work.
Melinda said that she would, “Definitely check these guys out again next time they are around” which I would conclude with it being a totally amazing and magical night, A feat that does not happen too much on such an intimate magnitude as this!
After the musical brilliance, he came out to meet all his fans, chatting away, signing CD's, having photographs with them and selling plenty of merchandise in the process too. It's little wonder that he marvelled and loved all over the world.
C.C. will be riding around Europe in 2023 so catch him there and/or be sure to see a show when he returns to blighty again in 2024.
Review By Glenn Milligan & Melinda Ward
Photographs By Glenn Milligan