Whitfield Crane/Baranovich/Mr. Shiraz –

O2 Academy, Sheffield. Monday, September 9th, 2019

Well after a full-on fun packed weekend at this very venue, what is the most ideal thing to follow it up with the night after? Yep, you got it, another show again at the O2 Academy, Sheffield.

Set List: Sway/Heavy Flow/Friends/Labracore/Step Up/Flatliners/No Prophecy/21 Grams.

It started out with a band, going by the name of Mr Shiraz that was pretty new to many of us who had a ton of wild energy whose frontman, Mikey Shiraz came across like a Yorkshire Equivalent of Sam Kinison, oozing with crazy personality and zany, cocksure confidence. A ballad in their set? You must be f*ck*ng joking from this lot. This was full on New York Old School Hardcore – think Cro-Mags, Bad Brains and all the brutal bashing stuff of that ilk.

They were as tight as humanly possibly and almost like the cousins of Sour Tusk with extra members. Loved the part when the Mikey asked if anyone would buy him a beer after because he couldn't afford the O2 prices! Nice touch in having a brilliant female bassist, Tori Shiraz in amongst this unit who was like Steve Harris with those fingers. Definitely a band to catch again for sure.

Set List: Have A Nice Day/Firing On All Cylinders/Maneater/Astray/Fire In The Sky/Hyde/Tie Your Mother Down.

Sheffield's Baranovich were definitely on fire tonight and I must say it was the best I have ever seen them. Stevie B himself assumed standing position throughout as he has done sat down gigs for a while due to illness and got through it all excellent

Mr. Baranovich always gives off a radiant happy vibe to those in the audience and very happy to be there in direct support to a legend like Whitfield Crane. Highlights in his set include the ballsy 'Firing On All Cylinders'; the kicking cover of Queen's 'Tie You Mother Down' and the rather brilliant 'Hyde'.

Was brilliant to see my old buddy Russ Parker up there on stage too as I've not seen him in yonks with the rest of the guys looking and sounding great too. I know we'll be seeing Baranovich again very soon!

Set List: Devil's Call/Find A Way/Distant Signs/Amends/River Runs Red/This Time/Sunday/Black And White/Heard The Light/Everyone/Would You Like To Be There/It's A Lie/Strange/Inside/Green Manalishi.

Now here's something that when many of us found out about, was like a bolt out of the blue – a solo tour from Whitfield Crane – 'Playing All The Songs...' to be exact where the famed Ugly Kid Joe frontman was able to perform a variety of songs of bands he had fronted over the years that included that said band, Yellowcake and Life Of Agony to name but a few.

With a band made up of members of Haggard Cat and Toshi of Clam Abuse fame and many others, Whit had a marvellous, solid unit that could tackle anything thrown at them while we took it all in and were amazed at how much the man had done over the years. A lot of the material was obscure to a lot of us but in a way, it makes it more interesting than simply hearing a bunch of Ugly Kid Joe Songs done by a him and as a solo outing.

What is cool about the show as well is that he tells us about where he was at the time, what's going around in his head and other bits n piece, involving us all in the proceedings and openly having a chat with many folk in here – it wasn't one of those auto-pilot nights where one gig is the same as the one the previous night because it's different folk to have a banter with and this fact makes it uniquely special.

A guy in the front row had travelled all the way from Poland and was going back the next morning which totally blew Mr. Crane's mind and everybody elses – he received a round of applause and claps because that is true dedication right there. By the way, if you are wondering, the band did perform a small handful of UKJ songs but Whit opted for an album track or two instead of obvious hits – no doubt because they don't usually get a look in and he basically had a chance in his own show.

There were a number of styles and dynamics throughout with hints of all out metal, hardcore, a tad of country and other elements thrown in that included some gorgeous acoustic stuff too. So funny when Whit referred to Toshi as a young sexy looking waiter and as an added bonus served the frontman a drink on the back of his guitar – nice quirky touch there that I have never seen done.

Plenty of song highlights in the duration of the set included the opening pounding stoner sludgery of 'Devil's Call' by Yellowcake; the beautiful ballad 'Black And White' from Richards/Crane; the sinister and ballsy 'Distant Signs' (as penned by Another Animal); a fave Life Of Agony song that is 'River Runs Red'; a killer cover of Fleetwood Mac's 'The Green Manalishi' and Ugly Kid Joe's almost anthemic 'Would You Like To Be There'.

Overall it was a deep, interesting gig with twists, turns and unexpected highs in there and although the lights were a bit crazy and over the top at the beginning and rather dark, this improved as the night went on. |It would have been better Whitfield's vocals were put higher in the mix though as myself and Nic Rudd both struggled to make them out quite a bit – that aside it was an eventful show that so many folk in the area very much missed out on.

8/10

 

Review By Glenn Milligan

 

Set Lists Provided by Tonito Bermudez.

 

Mr Shiraz Photographs By Tonito Bermudez & Christopher Merrick.