MYKE GRAY (ft KIM JENNETT)
Find out more about MYKE GRAY here.
I've been following Myke Gray's career since my youth when I first saw his band SKIN in the '90s, a band I watched live many times and always felt it a massive shame they split. They were quite frankly one of the best rock bands of the era, fantastic songs with Myke's classy guitar work and that stunning voice of Nev MacDonald. Perhaps just a little too late to the party, five years earlier and they could have been headlining arenas. I wish I'd seen Myke's earlier band Jagged Edge but loved the Red, White & Blues which saw him again hook up with Jagged Edge frontman Matt Alfonzetti, another truly great singer.
After some time away from music he returned in 2017 with a solo album, Shades of Gray, which showed his touch around the fretboard to be as brilliant as ever, mixing the shredding with sublime melody like only he can. An invite to play Download festival followed and this current project started to take shape. Myke has always worked with brilliant rock singers so it should come as no surprise to see Kim Jennett becoming involved.
It's a partnership that has seen her incredible charisma and youthful energy re-ignite that rock n' roll spark in a whole bunch of classic songs from his back catalogue, stamping her mark so strongly that her own solo career is also starting to blossom, with an album in the works which Myke is producing. So the future looks bright for both of them right now, and deservedly so. I felt privileged to be able to shoot their recent London show at one of my favourite venues, the Underworld in Camden. The musical history resonates so strongly in those walls...
The band was completed with guitarist Glenn Quinn, Colin Parkinson playing bass, and Neil Ogden behind the drums, a solid trio who provided the perfect platform from which Myke and Kim were able to thrive while also adding their own personalities to the mix.
The set opened with the Red, White & Blues track Stand Up For Rock & Roll, a song tailor-made for moments like this, and ended with a barnstorming Take Me Home. In between were select gems from throughout Myke's career including one of my all time favourites the Jagged Edge classic You Don't Love Me during the encore, but it was understandably the SKIN tunes that made up the bulk of the set...
Colourblind, Take Me Down To The River and Love Like Suicide showed the class of the songwriting and of course the hits got the crowd moving and singing along... House of Love and Look But Don't Touch both hit the sweet spot in particular. Kim chose the introduction to the latter to speak about issues of consent, a message the guy who kept grabbing her leg should try harder to understand. The song is literally called Look But Don't Touch!
Not only does Kim have an outstanding singing voice but a compelling stage presence too, a constant rush of energy throughout, throwing shapes, popping hips, and punching the air like a born performer. The stage wasn't big enough for her. Much kudos should be given to Myke here for stepping back a little and giving her room to create such a show. Make no mistake, he knows how to perform too, power-poses a-plenty looking every bit the guitar hero his people had come to see. And what a connection he has with his audience. There was a lot of love and respect in the room for him for sure.
It wasn't all rock n' roll bluster and swagger though. A heartfelt Counts For Nothing showed the classy sublties and Tower Of Strength was simply glorious. Shine Your Light closed the set on a high before a cool Tripping kicked off the encores. Myke spent some time thanking the band and crew and even people in the crowd who he recognised from their constant support over the years, naming them too... a sincere moment of gratitude before he took to the mic himself for I Get Up. This latest release has been so well received, a tongue in cheek nod to the '80s hair / glam scene and a reminder to us all that there's always a place in rock n' roll for a whole lotta fun!
Find out more about Myke Gray at www.mykegray.rocks...
...and follow Kim Jennet on facebook.
Here's some vids...
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