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The Classic Rock Society Awards Night: Pallas, Jump (Acoustic)

Posted on February 24, 2015 at 6:50 AM

Montgomery Hall, Wath 21st February 2015

The Classic Rock Society (where music matters), not quite up there with the likes of Classic Rock and Prog in terms of prestige, yet a long established , erm, establishment which has supported rock music and its various branches for many years out of South Yorkshire. Always looking to up their game, their glossy bi-monthly Rock Society magazine boasts increasingly better production values and content and with promoting gigs not only in their homeland but further afield, the CRS seems set to be a well patronised and ever expanding body.

Their ‘BOTY’ (Best Of The Year) event for the year brought together the usual round of loyal punters who could easily rub shoulders with some of their attendee heroes for the night as well as being thoroughly entertained for a few hours. This year the awards were presented by a certain Gordon Giltrap, who folks will surely recognise from his ‘hit’ – Heartsong if nothing else, but as an established and highly regarded musician it goes to show that the CRS does carry some clout. Not only did he present the wards, but offered up quite a stand up repartee with the Society’s Chairman Stephen Lambe and Secretary Steve Pilkington.

Opening proceedings at the un-rock-like hour of just before a quarter to seven was an acoustic set from Jump. Now Jump have always been well served by the CRS over their 25 year career and the in paired down trio of John Dexter Jones on vocals with ‘Ronnie’ Rundle and Steve Hayes on guitars almost seem to have discovered a renaissance in this format which allows the quality of the songs to shine through without the usual electric dressing. Their last album, The Black Pilgrim had even gone down a more organic (some may say folky) route, and was none the worse for it, opening a few more doors for a band which, some would say, is another of those ‘best bands you never heard’.

JDJ himself is often compared to ex-Marillo Fish, mainly due to (a) his size, (b) his fierce patriotism and (c) a cutting wit and propensity for ever so eloquent rants, although his voice has worn somewhat better than Mr Dicks. A band for whom the segue simply doesn’t exist “because I like talking too much” the banter is as much a part of the performance and just as compelling. The evening’s targets were a certain coffee chain and the onset of certain rock and roll behaviours in service stations. You have to be there…..and what better opportunity than celebrating a quarter century of Jump later in the year with the CRS at their Maltby base (unless you fancy a mash up in Bethesda?).

Pallas similarly have been around for some considerable time having been big players in the neo-prog revolution of the early eighties and stuck pretty much to their guns ever since. Again benefitting greatly from the support of the CRS and what could be seen as a resurgence over the past few years with their XXV album and the new Wearewhoweare album released at the end of 2014 and all ready to be performed live. Playing to a packed house in Glasgow the night before must have served as a thorough warm up as Pallas were, as the phrase goes, on fire. Singer Paul Mackie has settled into the role having established his credentials comfortably with the new record and with the core trio of Graeme Murray, Ronnie Brown and Niall Mathewson continuing to fly the flag, their dedication to the prog cause, together with that of a loyal support remains undiminished.

Bombastic and unapologetically prog and with a penchant for bass pedals which all prog fans will appreciate Pallas don’t break any barriers yet build a wall of dense sound over which Mathewson casts his Blackmore inspired guitar lines. No denying that they pack a formidable wallop alongside some memorable melodies and frankly good songs. Of course there was a undeniable keenness to showcase the new and more recent material, and why not as they have enough in the back catalogue to fall upon should the time come when the time for a nostalgic dip into the past is right.

In between the two performances were the awards of course. With many of the recipients in attendance to collect their awards, there were also recorded messages of thanks coming through from long time supporter of the CRS Steve Hackett and keyboard wiz Clive Nolan. Despite the ‘classic rock’ labelling, the shortlists displayed a healthy prog bias – the stars of the night IQ, taking the coveted ‘best band’ and ‘best album’ titles while three of the five nominations for ‘best track’ were from their The Road Of Bones album – Pete Nicholls and guitarist Mike Holmes humbly receiving their acclaim with dignity and appreciation. Having followed them from their beginnings, it was particularly pleasing and although they only make an album ever four or five years, but rest assured that when they do, it’s one which is well worth the wait.

Best male vocalist – Damian Wilson (Threshold)


Best female vocalist – Olivia Sparnenn (Mostly Autumn)


Best band - IQ


Best album – ‘The Road Of Bones’ by IQ


Best track – ‘The Road Of Bones’ by IQ


Best guitarist – Steve Hackett


Best drummer – Johanne James (Threshold)


Best bass player – Pete Trewavas (Marillion)


Best keyboardist – Clive Nolan (Pendragon)


Best lyricist – Peter Nicholls (IQ)


Best overseas act – Moon Safari


Best CRS gig – Mostly Autumn


Best newcomer – Cloud Atlas


Unsung hero award - Dave Roberts (Cambridge Rock Festival)

Categories: LIVE REVIEWS

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