Launch Party / Debut Gig
The Spitz, Spitalfields, London, 27th September 2005

Pictured: Paul, Simon, and Phil relax at the soundcheck

This was one of those events that I just had to attend: Paul Cook's first gig with his new group, his first band proper since The Chiefs Of Relief. The soundcheck saw the band in buoyant mood, as they ran through various songs and experimented with some reggae effects. A small but sonically great venue, The Spitz, showed off the component parts of the band to full effect, without distorting the sound. Relaxed and fine-tuned, Man-Raze were ready to go....

Pictured right: The soundcheck.

The lineup of Paul Cook, ex-Girl bassist Simon Laffy, and Def Lepard's Phil Collen, was always going to result in a solid rock sound, with a helping of flash guitar work. From the opening song Connected With You, the powerful bass and drums revealed that Paul and Simon are more than merely providing back-up for a Def Leppard side-project, and are essential to the essence of the band itself. Paul's drumming is always a pleasure to witness as he hammers home a bone-shaking beat, with some neat deft moments proving his versatility.

The Def Leppard fans in attendance were not disappointed either with Phil's crystal clear lightening guitar, and effortless lead vocals. A cover of Jimi Hendrix's Fire allowed for some OTT guitar work, which was fascinating to watch. However, the band's own material was of the most interest; You're So Wrong, and Halo sounding particularly strong. The single Skin Crawl was a highlight, a growling, and slightly haunting rocker, it makes a fine introduction to the band. But there is far more to Man-Raze than full-on rock, with reggae clearly on display in Runnin Me Up. It's Entertainment finished the set in an up-tempo and uplifting pop moment.

Pictured left and below: The gig.

The gig was billed as a launch party for the forthcoming Skin Crawl, and provided exactly that. The 35 minute set focused on Man-Raze itself and avoided covers of songs by their famous "other" bands. They were not here for that, and they didn't need to rely on such a ploy. Man-Raze wanted the crowd to know who they were and what they had to offer. We were in no doubt. A great performance from a tight outfit who know how to deliver, both live and on record. Man-Raze will be around for a long time yet...

Set List: Connected With You / You're So Wrong / Every Second / Low / Fire / Runnin Me Up / Skin Crawl / Halo / It's Entertainment.

Review and photographs by Phil Singleton



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Photographs taken by Phil Singleton
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