A rare gig in Bolton centre takes me to The Blind Tiger to watch fiery, authentic rockers, ‘Mohawk Radio’, perform a fully charged live set as opposed to the acoustic tracks I had the pleasure of witnessing first hand when we appeared on Pure FM 107.8 together a few weeks earlier.
With venues in this part of the North West being quite sparse, it’s refreshing to see The Blind Tiger attempting to bring great live indie music to a central location away from Manchester. I was impressed with its layout, being of contemporary design with images of rock n roll icons plastered over the walls. There are plenty of people in as I arrive and I’m thinking that maybe the place has already gathered a reputation with several people coming from local areas to watch live music. However, I’m swiftly corrected when I run into the band and they tell me that this is just their entourage who’ve travelled down on buses from Stockport to loyally follow where they go!
With Dave Quinn on drums, Sean Frankland on bass, James Gregory on lead guitar, and the Bermuda born, powerful vocalist Mia Chambray at the forefront, the band are cheered onstage by this excitable crowd. They open with a couple of softer, dreamy rock ballads, ‘Ice Queen’ and ‘Hocus Pocus’ where Mia’s passionate vocal and tremendous stage presence shines through. ‘Ready to Love’ is a slow and sentimental rock song where she repeats the lyric, “I don’t know if you’re ready to love me”, emotionally pleading with the crowd to make you believe that we, in fact, aren’t ready!
‘Michelle’ is played next and Mia leads the tribute to its meaning, a real life tragedy about her best friend who sadly passed away. The sentiment is echoed in the lyrics and tone, a heart wrenching, tear jerking rock ballad that obviously means so much to Mia and the band. After a softer opening few songs, the heavier rock tracks begin to show, starting with ‘Million Lights’, which is heavier live than the recorded EP version, then ‘Cochise’, which starts off with a jungle type rumbling beat before exploding into life with a blazing riff driven onslaught of untainted rock. Mia again displays her vocal talent by hitting high elongated notes with shuddering ease, reminding me of Cher in the 80s when she was going through a pop rock phase! The penultimate song is a cover of Rita Ora’s ‘RIP’, and considering I’m not a fan at all of the song, it’s probably the first time I’ve ever enjoyed it, certainly easier on my ears to be played with a daring rock twist! Their final showdown is ‘Rock N Roll Heaven’, a lively guitar orientated track with great rock lyrics, and the bands personal salute to the concept of rock n roll. The fans sense it’s the final song and even though they’ve engaged throughout the night by singing every word, this song adds a bit more bite to the watching eyes, a clear fan favourite!
As far as singers go, Mia possesses a unique gift that not many female vocalists are blessed with, a tremendous range, depth and passion that’s born for the rock genre. Although her voice is hypnotically powerful, and takes much of the stage attention, it has to be said that the rest of the band give her the platform to fully express her commanding voice. Their tightness and chemistry is evident onstage and individually their talents are of an extremely high quality. With a rhythm section that drives the band at full throttle, and a lead guitar that’s fantastically creative with riffs that twist and turn throughout each song, this creates an exciting recipe for a band sure to go far and become a force to be reckoned with in the future indie scene.
Ready to Love
Seen It All Before
My Way Out
Rock N Roll Heaven
Mohawk Radio’s Rockumentary
Review by Nigel Cartner