Tag Archives: The Flowerpot Derby

Panic Room – Start the Sound

Panic Room hit The Flowerpot in Derby and Sound Control in Manchester for the third and fourth dates of their 2016 “Start the Sound” tour. Last year they supported themselves by starting the show with a semi-acoustic set promoting their mostly unplugged album “Essence”, but this time it’s all-electric, with two lengthy sets and a brief interval. Even with no support band there was more than two hours of music, and at Derby especially they pulled a sizeable and appreciative crowd.

For this run of gigs it was close to a greatest hits set, drawing heavily from their strongest album, “Skin” as well as obvious highlights from their other albums, with a focus on the harder-rocking side of the band’s music. “Song for Tomorrow” got the full electric treatment and made a dramatic opener, and the jazz-tinged “Chameleon” with the flute solo was an early highlight. The blues number “Denial” from “Essence” made an appearance, and there was also a welcome return for their imaginative reworking of ELP’s “Bitches Crystal”. The highlight of the set on both nights was the absolutely stunning “Nocturnal”, a song not performed live for several years.

Dave Foster

With Dave Foster now well-enough established in the band it’s almost time to stop thinking of him as the new guitarist; much of his playing was spectacular. He’s starting to put his own stamp on the older songs, and it’s an amazing sight watching his hands fly up and down the fretboard during the solos, especially his shredding on songs like “Apocalypstick”.

After the two-day convention at The Robin 2 in Bilston in May, the band return for six more dates in June including a high-profile showcase gig at Islington Assembly in London. Then they’ll be heading into the studio to work on a new album for the rest of the year. They will be rehearsing a lot more material for the convention, so it’s entirely possible the June setlist will be different, but whatever they play, they’re on such great form at the moment that those gigs are not to be missed.

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Panic Room & Morpheus Rising, The Flowerpot

After a one-off gig in Milton Keynes back in April, Panic Room came to The Flowerpot in Derby for the first date of their short UK tour.

Morpheus Rising at The Flowerpot in Derby

Openers Morpheus Rising had supported Panic Room on last November, and they’re back again for this tour. They have a changed lineup for these gigs, with Touchstone’s Henry Rogers joining the band on drums, and this weekend, Andy Gooby standing in for Andy Smith, who was off in Holland with Mostly Autumn. Despite the musical chairs, they are getting better and better as a live band with their modern take on classic twin lead guitar hard rock.

They’re now working on a second album, and the set contained quite a bit of brand-new material alongside favourites from their first disk “Let the Sleeper Awake”. Their signature guitar harmonies between Pete Harwood and Damien James Sweeting are as good as ever, with some very impressive soloing from Damien in particular. The new material came over very strongly, possibly slightly more riff-orientated than before, and whets the appetite for the forthcoming album.

Anne-Marie Helder plays the silver wand at The Flowerpot

Panic Room themselves have an altered lineup from last year, with Pete Harwood doing double duty in both bands. Playing only his third gig with the band, he’s fitted in very well. With Morpheus Rising he doesn’t play many solos, leaving them to Damien Sweeting with his flashier shred-metal style. But Pete Harwood’s playing suits Panic Room’s music perfectly. He’s got the same less-is-more understated style as the departed Paul Davies, which is precisely the sort of guitarist Panic Room’s music needs. There are many bands made up from a couple of key members plus supporting cast, but Panic Room have always been an ensemble where the whole is far more than the sum of the parts.

It’s almost impossible to pick out highlights from Panic Room’s set, such is the strength of their material. The set naturally drew heavily from their latest album “Skin” with selected highlights from the first two albums. The songs range from the out-and-out hard rock of “Apocalypstick” and “Hiding The World” to the emotional intensity of “Skin” and “The Fall”. The jazz-flavoured “Chameleon” saw Anne-Marie Helder’s ‘Silver Wand’ making an appearance, and they’re still playing their inventive reworking of ELP’s “Bitches Crystal”. Anne-Marie was on superb form as always, demonstrating just why she’s an award-winning vocalist. But then so was everyone else.

With The Flowerpot not far short of full, one wonders how much longer it will be possible to see this band playing small and intimate venues like this. The tour continues with shows in London, Norwich, Bilston and Manchester before Panic Room head into the studio to work on their fourth album.

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Chantel McGregor, The Flowerpot, Derby

Chantel McGregor at The Flowerpot Derby in December 2012A few photos from the fantastic gig by Chantel McGregor at The Flowerpot in Derby at the beginning of December. If you haven’t seen Chantel live before, her guitar-shredding mix of blues and rock is not to be missed.

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