Having been turned on to Stone Axe’s first couple of releases by fellow Ripple Music residents Grifter, I jumped at the chance to review this recording from let years triumphant set at Holland’s annual Roadburn festival. For those of us who don’t even get a sniff of a ticket and read line up and reviews whilst wiping off the drool from our chins, live recordings emanating from this event are as welcome as finding a tenner in the pocket of those jeans you wore out at the weekend when its the end of the month and payday still seems a mile off.
Kicking off with a veritable winning opener of Stonin from their sophomore album you just sense that this was a band made for the festival as it gives way to the stomping On With The Show. From here on in the Port Orchard crew drip with retro cool. Make no mistake though this is no hipster cool pretension, this is the real deal.
On record the band live and breathe the embodiment of everything that was cool about 70’s music, on the stage they take the effortless swagger to a different level as both they and the audience revel in the atmosphere of being at one of the best showcases for underground music around. There’d Be Days oozes Thin Lizzy with an updated twist which allows Dru Brinkerhoff to conduct the whole shebang with the pose and expertise of a circus ringmaster.
Over the course of the 15 track set Stone Axe run the gamut from balls out rock n roll, spacey Led Zeppelin takes and slow igniting psychedelia making this a funky and extremely entertaining album to listen to. The rest of the band – Tony Reed on guitar, Mykey Haslip on drums and Mike DuPoint on bass – are perfectly poised to augment the show stealing frontman by executing their parts with clinical precision when needed and taught muscular jams when they can indulge themselves.
The fact that this was recorded by band member Tony Reed means that not only is the sound captured about as well as a live act can be, but he has tried to capture the essence, the ethos of the band as well. The results are audible – the band sound great – like they are having the time of their lives – the crowd is a part of the recording rather than dominating or seeming tacked on. The whole package works in a raucous, party fuelled soundtrack to having a good time, from set highlights such as Black Widow right through to the closing track Nightwolf.
Captured Live! is an accurate title for this record as it does exactly what it says on the tin, it showcases the band as you would find them in the live arena minus the drunk stepping on your toes or the impossibly tall ginger bloke who seems to follow me to every gig I attend and stand in front of me! This is old school because it doesn’t care that a new school opened. Stone Axe isn’t trying to wow you with the latest fad, they want to crank AC/DC, Bad Company and all the other greats, kick back and have a blast.
On the strength of this if you are not there next time they tour, you are missing out.
Scribed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden