Romeo’s Daughter with Serpentine – The Railway Venue Bolton, 15th November 2012

Being a fan of the more melodic end of the rock spectrum means that I currently find myself spoilt for choice when it comes to bands coming back for a second crack at the industry. All of them seem to have learned from the past and are now taking much more direct control over their destiny – perhaps because the disposable nature of the Top 40 means the likes of devil incarnate Cowell have no time/energy/money for real musicians who have a brain of their own or maybe simply because they can. The re-emergence of Romeo’s Daughter is a true case in point. Having been persuaded to get back together for Firefest a couple of years ago, Leigh Matty and the boys were so delighted by the response they decided to stick around a bit longer. This saw them touring as support for FM and then, as Leigh discussed in her recent chat with Rock-Zone, getting together to write the new songs that came to be the “Rapture” album. Romeo’s Daughter were a part of my youth and the fact that they were coming to the best venue in the North of England filled me with joy and excitement.

Support came from the rising stars of UK melodic rock, Serpentine. Having been introduced to the guys earlier this year when they were part of the package supporting Ten I was really looking forward to seeing these young Brits again. Matt Black is clearly settling in superbly as vocalist (having taken over from legendary Tony Mills who sings on their first two records) and the band as a whole have a real air of sophistication about what they produce live. The near capacity crowd (see Mr Cowell, AOR/melodic rock is NOT the past, it’s the future!) were captivated from the first notes and judging by the merchandise stand, many Romeo’s Daughter fans went away clutching CDs and t-shirts. The extremely busy Serpentine hit North West England again on 23rd November as part of the bill for the “Rock for Ann” event in Wigan to raise money for two great cancer charities and then follow this up a week later at Hard Rock Hell VI. With this much talent and hard work success is certainly deserved – they are excited at the prospect of recording album number three and I have no doubts that it will be their best yet – their energy and enthusiasm combined with quality music makes it clear for all to see why they deserve to make it.

What can be said about Romeo’s Daughter? Phenomenal! Awesome! Genius! All these superlatives and more were flying around an all were correct. With a set encompassing all their best known songs from the past (“Heaven in the Backseat”, “Don’t Break My Heart”, “Attracted to the Animal” and more) and a great selection of tracks from “Rapture” this was an hour and a half of total brilliance. The superb sound that is the hallmark of The Railway blended perfectly with what the band produced – not just one person was heard to comment that they sounded just like the record. Craig’s guitar parts perfectly crafted so that they illuminate and enhance the songs rather than simply illustrate his (world class) talent as a guitarist and song writer.

Highlights for me included the stunning “Cannot Be the One” from the new album – a beautifully crafted song that really paints a picture. Just like all the songs on the new album, this one sounds like a band with this history should sound like – not rehashing old times but taking their old style and and showing the development that only time and experience can bring.

Romeo’s Daughter prove the football adage – form is temporary but class is permanent. Leigh Matty and Romeo’s Daughter are just that….pure class. From start to finish they were clearly having an absolute ball. Leigh laughing and joking with the crowd between songs and the whole band spending time after the show talking to the jubilant crowd, signing autographs and just being totally beautiful. These guys can teach a lot of other bands how to be classy – how many bands would give signed posters free with every t-shirt purchased? I won’t name them, but one artist that I have seen in the last two years was more than happy to sell autographs (and the opportunity for an audience member to sing his/her biggest hit) but not, God forbid, actually speak to the fans.

Romeo’s Daughter have always, and still, produce stunningly well-crafted music for grown-ups, if there is any justice in this world, should see them playlisted by Radio 2 in the same way that FM (who include Leigh’s other half in their line-up).

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