Uli Jon Roth/Kaleb McKane –
Corporation, Sheffield, Thursday, 29th November, 2018
Okay, so I only really found out about Kaleb McKane due to Uli Jon Roth telling me who was supporting him on tour, while in conversation with him – be sure to check out the interview if you haven't already done – quick plug there... Oh and my buddy, Steve Cooper said he witnessed him at a recent Hard Rock Hell.
Anyway, he has a slick, serene air of grace about him that's rather flash that wouldn't be out of place in the film 'Velvet Goldmine' that was released a few moons ago.... It was quiet in attendance early on but built up bit by bit – no doubt a few were up at the Dev Cat!
Musically, Kaleb and his band have a quirky proggy rock style that's merged with old school glam rock – imagine Bowie meets Floyd with both sounds winning at the same time. It did take a bit for folk to warm up to him but worked it after a bit.
He informed us he has a debut album out so go and buy it. This was a cool opener and it fell in to place when they sorted out the bass overload that filled the speakers to near point of ear-drum explosion. If you like long tracks filled with pzzazz and flamboyance then you'll take an interest in Mr. McKane.
There's a fair more in when Uli is ready to take to the stage for the show which marks as the premier concert of a long tour which celebrates his 50th Anniversary of being on stage. I must say the man is a pure professional who melts in a healthy helping of Jazz, Classical, Blues, Rock and Indian music into the night.
Using at least four of his custom built Sky guitars which are themselves magnificent in looks before they are even played – absolute works of art but with a high price tag. The fact he mixed up styles made it musically interesting with a lot of added colour sonically, if that makes sense to your eyes and ears.
The German Genius started with Electric Sun material with the man himself taking lead vocals for, as well as stunning us all with his slick and effortless virtuoso moves which was followed by a couple of numbers by his brother Zeno who passed away not so long ago. The rest of the band are made up of Niklas Turmann (Vocals/Guitar), David Klosinski (Guitar); Corvin Bahn (Keyboards) and Jamie Little (Drums).
The show came in two sections a bit like they often do in a theatre setting with the incredible but devastating 'Hiroshima' being an epic presence in the first half. With screen backdrop with footage of clouds and the band themselves shot onto it, this proved to be an impressive setting in Room 3. Not to mention the good lighting overall as well. Uli is really informative too, telling us about the songs and parts of his career as well.
The crowd was really enthusiastic and it's hardly surprising with lead vocals and musicianship second to no-one. It was really off the chain to put it lightly – but there was nothing light about the quality of songs that were performed tonight.
High notes were hit by strong high-voiced lead singer, Niklas with the mind-blowing finger work by Uli himself making this intimate gig all the more special. It's not very often we get treated to something of this standard in Sheffield. I have a distinct feeling this show and ongoing shows on this tour will create a big interest into his older work and none-less prestigious work.
The second half of the show kicked off with two acoustic numbers, the 1st of which had an Indian style to it that featured some of Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' in the middle of it, much to the appreciate of the fans in here – especially when the film of the same name hasn't been out that long.
We were the first audience to witness Uli play one of his early guitars that hasn't been played in public since 1968. It took a while to get the sound to the amp due to a dodgy lead but when we got it did reap through, Mr. Roth gave us a rendition of 'Apache' made famous by The Shadows a few years before. It had a really warm tone to it as well – old school baby!
It was cool to hear some early Scorpions numbers too in the set like the rarely heard track, 'The Sails Of Charon'; the incredible 'Fly To The Rainbow'; 'Catch Your Train' 'Speedy's Coming' as well as the soaring 'We'll Burn The Sky'. The classic Ian Gillan song 'A Day Late, A Dollar Short; is even presented to us as well which is a fave of Uli's.
Now even the best break a string and Uli is no exception but plays away like nothing happened, replacing his majestically jewelled axe after the song is complete. He asked the audience what to finish the night on as well. A few were shouted out with him saying one song was too long before someone bawled for Jimi Hendrix's 'All Along The Watchtower' which he gleefully said was a good one to end one. It went down a storm too.
Overall, this was a performance on musically part of another realm or plateaux and we'd been specially sucked through the spacial wormhole to take it all in. Afterwards, Mr. Roth was out in the merchandise section having pix with us, signing autographs and chatting away with us. A special show indeed.
Review and Mobile Shot Photographs By Glenn Milligan
All Main Photographs by Glenn Ashley