Snakecharmer - LIVE: Islington Assembly Hall, London 2013

Snakecharmer Album Showcase
February 23 (20:50-22:30)
Capacity 700

Snakecharmer, being based around ex-members of Whitesnake, started out playing exclusively Whitesnake songs, but now they've released their first album of all new material and this small London show was their first chance to showcase some of it in a live setting.

Following support from outstanding English rock trio Motherlode, Snakecharmer defied expectation by kicking off neither a Whitesnake song nor new album opener My Angel, but mid-album tracks Guilty As Charged and A Little Rock & Roll. In truth though it didn't matter what they started with, it was clear that the audience were already on board with what the band were doing and were mostly familiar with the songs from the off; it wasn't a room full of nostalgic Whitesnake fans.

Surrounding the gently swaying Neil Murray on bass and jovial guitarist Micky Moody are a band of names who turn up in new projects often, largely because they're dependable professionals, and together here the likes of keyboardist Adam Wakeman (Headspace/Ozzy Osbourne) and drummer Harry James (Thunder) prove their mettle once again backing the superb new material brilliantly.

But in terms of showmanship it's clear the band's most potent weapons are guitarist Laurie Wisefield (ex-Wishbone Ash) and especially Heartland singer Chris Ousey. Ousey is perfect as the frontman for the band, and a brilliant stand-in for David Coverdale on the Whitesnake material (it goes without saying that his voice is better than Coverdale's right now), sounding just as good live as he does on the record; he was excellent for the whole 100-minute set and was the centrepiece of the entire performance.

The set was weighted in favour of the new material, quite rightly, and besides Micky Moody's usual slide guitar showpiece in the middle, just six Whitesnake songs were selected. The choices were perhaps a little obvious (was Here I Go Again really necessary?) but hopefully this sets a standard for the balance the band are going to adopt between their own material and the old songs.

As more touring takes shape, if they slip in more obscure Whitesnake songs once their own songs are more established they have the best chance they've ever had of making the ex-'Snakes thing work and build genuine credibility as an outfit in their own right. They've got the material, the singer, and the band to go as far as they want to.

“ Ousey is perfect ”

Setlist: Guilty As Charged / A Little Rock & Roll / Ready An' Willing / Accident Prone / To The Rescue / Falling Leaves / Walking In The Shadow of The Blues / Moody's Blues / Slow An' Easy / Cover Me In You / Nothing To Lose / Here I Go Again / Take Me With You // My Angel / Fool For Your Loving

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2013, Gigs, Hard/Heavy Rock,

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