Since starting life as a passion project several years ago, TOSELAND have grown into a real force to be reckoned with. Now with a UK Top 40 charting album under their belts, the band hit Sound Control in Manchester to show off some of their new material.
Tonight’s openers, Brighton five-piece COLOUR OF NOISE, fall very much into the template of classic rock. Opening with You Only Call Me When You Want Something, the band quickly make their style known, and are luckily greeted with open arms by an enthusiastic crowd. Frontman Matt Mitchell quickly demonstrates a powerfully charismatic stage presence, with a bluesy and soulful voice that frequently straddles the line between classic Robert Plant and Myles Kennedy of ALTER BRIDGE. The band’s set seems to fly by, with the hard-rock of tracks like Hit Rock Bottom and Drive It Like You Stole It blending in perfectly with slower numbers like Head On and Can’t Take It With You. They also take time to début a new track, with Lucky Number Seven taking the penultimate slot, before a triumphant run-through of fairly appropriately-named Heavy brings proceedings to a close.
“Thanks to you lot they upgraded us to the main room tonight”, claims eponymous TOSELAND frontman James Toseland shortly after his band take to the stage. “That’s a lie”, he quickly corrects himself, “The basement room was f****** flooded!” This humour is one of the recurring facets of tonight’s TOSELAND performance, and it works perfectly. Kicking off with energetic new song Living In a Moment feels like an immediate shot of adrenaline, and following it up with the swaggering Life Is Beautiful only serves to drive the audience even wilder, as guitarists Zurab Melua and Ed Bramford trade riffs back and forth over a grooving bass line.
Boasting a bulky 17 song set list gives the band a chance to showcase almost all of their impressive catalogue, with every track from Cradle the Rage getting an airing, excluding Waiting For The Answers. Of these, it’s the title-track and Puppet On a Chain that provide the biggest fist-in-the-air rock moments – the latter in particular boasting a spectacularly huge chorus that many huge bands would surely kill to have written themselves. The fact that the show never devolves into boredom is sheer testament to the quality of the band’s song writing. The likes of Crash Landing and Hearts and Bones ensure that their heavier side is well represented, while a keyboard-led performance of ballads Just No Way and Fingers Burned show off their more tender side. Of these it’s the latter, taken from the new album that impresses most – and shows James Toseland is more than capable of carrying such an emotional tune almost single-handedly.
Closing out the main set tonight is fan-favourite Singer In a Band, essentially an autobiographical account of James Toseland’s dream of becoming a rock-star. Clearly he’s reached that point now, and so we’re left with a ridiculously fun rock anthem that tonight seems to be sung word-for-word by an entire crowd.
After the world’s shortest break, the band return to the stage, and plough into new hit-in-the-making Cradle the Rage with an impressive amount of gusto. It’s soon followed up with old favourite Renegade and the night is finally brought to a close with We’ll Stop At Nothing – a track which seems to more or less represent the band’s mindset at this point. Tonight they’ve done more than enough to prove they deserve big things though.