The quiet gigs, for some bands, can be the most difficult to play. On this Sunday just under two weeks ago Manchester based, The Loaded Dice played Joshua Brooks in their adopted hometown (as they are recently from Wales) to a small crowd which felt like an injustice considering the quality of the band. Although only relatively new and playing a support slot, this was a disappointment in terms of atmosphere, but this didn’t seem to pose a problem when it comes to The Loaded Dice doing what they do best.
James Stone fronts the band with the vocals that really tend to take them from being a brilliant blues rock and roll band to being a blues band with a unique feature, something that all audiences and critics are searching for these days, perhaps in the fear that we could be running out of new ideas. Luckily this isn’t the case. Perhaps these differences and unique aspects may be harder to spot, but when studied carefully they are quite obvious indeed. Bizarrely, James Stone’s vocal range alongside the subtle blues basslines reminded me very much of Stevie Nicks circa-Rhiannion. It’s the idea of the effortlessness when going from the low notes to the high notes without really breaking a sweat.
As I said when I reviewed the album, they’re not obviously a blues band, there are layers that have hidden it rather well, creating a more modern sound that would appeal to a 21st Century audience. The thing connecting them back to the style though is the slight hint of Thin Lizzy in the instrumentals, and occasionally vocally when Stone feels the need to rest a little. Despite the comparison to older artists from the 1970s, their aesthetic appeal seems fit in with the 21st Century ideology without them belonging to a certain scene, crossing over between classic metal and grunge, making it much easier for them to appeal to a wide audience.
It’s a shame that on this Sunday evening they didn’t manage to draw a bigger crowd, even if they were supporting the Scottish touring band The Apex Collective. The band were certainly not phased though. Playing a set like they were playing to 500, they showed that it doesn’t matter who’s in the room, this is what they are and this is what you can expect, hopefully in larger arenas in the future.