Review – Savanna Bones at Firebug, Saturday 15th June 2019

Photo: Savanna Bones by Kevin Gaughan

with 94 Gunships and Tilted Smile

Organised by Strangling Vinyl Promotions
Reviewed by Kevin Gaughan

Tonight’s free gig at Firebug was battling against it – one of the wettest June weekends known to man and Download festival pulling a hundred thousand gig-going punters just up the road meant it could have been a sparsely attended gig.

In true gig-going fashion, the first band, 94 Gunships, started a bit late, all great stuff for building the anticipation and getting more beers in!

Hailing from Nottingham, this six-piece blues/jazz/funk/rock fusion put in a heart-felt performance. We got a cut down version of the band tonight, with only three band members.

Will Jeffery’s vocals were gravelly and bluesy, clearly singing with the blues in his heart, and looking rather depressed throughout, he put in a genuine performance. Nice touch of keyboards to enhance the mood of their fusion of genres meant the music was good to listen to and nicely performed.

94 Gunships Photo: Kevin Gaughan

A rare break in the rain meant the venue was steadily filling up with curious punters as well as fans of the second band, Tilted Smile, who are a three-piece rock outfit from Burton on Trent.

Tilted Smile might be small in number but were HUGE in sound, not to mention their stage-owning ability.

I loved the sound of this band, proper, well crafted indie rock sounds from this three-piece with great vocals from Jack Poxon who amazingly, for the whole performance, had a very dynamic stage presence. Clearly suffering from a huge dose of ants-in-his-pants, he was constantly on the move, sometimes hopping across the stage, Angus Young fashion, sometimes jumping across, but always on the move while performing some amazingly intricate guitar solos, occasionally pausing at his microphone to sing, without seeming to be out of breath.

I don’t envy any band who have to follow that performance!

See Tilted Smile perform We’ve got the Ghost at this gig:

Tilted Smile Photo: Kevin Gaughan

Time for the headliners, dropping the band-member count down from three to two, while increasing the effects pedals to quite a lot, were Savanna Bones, a hard-rock band from Leicester.

Attracting a good sized and enthusiastic crowd, and named after their favourite cider, again, they put in a very animated performance. Unusually, main vocals came from the drummer, Robbie Hesketh – always makes me think that must be quite a talent to beat the hell out of the drums while having enough breath left to sing! However he did it, he did a remarkable job of it, too.

The comprehensive array of effects pedals were put to good use with plenty of distorted guitar, sounding much larger than the sum of their parts. Not quite as dynamic as Tilted Smile, but still putting in an engaging and entertaining performance, ticking all the boxes for any rock fan, like myself.

Apparently, they are setting off for world domination – I wish them luck with that, definitely a great start, though!

See Savanna Bones perform at this gig:

Savanna Bones Photo: Kevin Gaughan

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