September 6th 2013 | Norwich Waterfront Studio | Gigs
Words: Liam Forkes | Photo: Kayleigh Francis
When Harry Radford first announced his solo project, many people were worried. With the band that propelled him to fame – Yashin – becoming one of the fastest growing UK rock bands after touring with the likes of Black Veil Brides and We Are The Ocean, many didn’t think that he could sustain such popularity on his own. While his first single, “Gallery”, received mixed reviews, last Friday night at The Waterfront, Norwich, Harry showed that he is quite capable of holding his own on his own…
Despite the setbacks of a small venue and an even smaller turnout, opening support band Hill Valley High, a five-piece alternate pop band hailing from Shropshire, took to the stage and made it their own. Blasting through a set mostly consisting of their self-titled mini-album, the band’s catchy riffs and impressive vocals captured and retained the attention of the audience. Musically, Hill Valley High didn’t falter for a second, with every note pitch perfect. The band were clearly enjoying themselves, consistently bantering with each other and their audience. Despite the small stage, front man Phil Marsh projected an impressive stage presence, jumping and dancing around – demonstrating that he is quite able to take on a stage of any size. In fact, the energy radiating from the whole band was impressive; it didn’t take long for the audience to join in with all the jumping! Overall, Hill Valley High’s opening was an impressive high-energy set from a band who are surely destined for bigger things.
Then the stage suddenly darkened. The lights slowly faded up, revealing the man everyone was there to see. Kicking straight into “Cherry Lips”, Harry Radford denied his doubters.
It was quickly clear that Harry’s showmanship that make his Yashin shows so exciting had been carried through into hissolo shows. With his consistent requests for jumping, clapping and movement, Radford effortlessly made the audience join in with his energy. As with Hill Valley High, Radford took a small stage and a small audience and made it feel larger from the high energy and limitless movement throughout the set.
Musically, Radford again took what makes a Yashin gig such a spectacle and brought it into his own set, with his voice hitting every note perfectly. Once again, the joking and bantering both between the band and the audience gave off an atmosphere of friendliness and warmth, showing the audience how much Radford appreciates the fans who have stuck by him throughout this transition to solo stardom. Blasting through his recently released EP “Pressure Makes Diamonds”, he had no issue switching from the heavier riffs in such songs as “Black and Blue” and “I Need My Fix”(a song which involved the crowd heavily to sing along with the backing vocalists) to calmer, more heartfelt songs such as “Gallery”. A particular highlight of the set came from a warm, acoustic cover of Bruno Mars’ 2010 chart hit “Just The Way You Are”, showing Radford’s flexibility when it comes to what he performs. However, on the negative side, the rest of Radford’s band did fade into the background somewhat. Obviously the audience had come to see Harry Radford himself – but this approach made the band look a bit obsolete. This response is simply unfair; it is simply wrong to overlook the vital importance Harry’s support band have contributed to the success of his solo project.
As the set drew to a close, Harry took the time to explain why he decided to make his solo music, and thanked everyone who has helped propel the success of not only his solo career, but also that of Yashin, to the heights they have achieved. Finishing off with the excellent “Bite The Bullet”, the audience seemed to be overjoyed at the spectacle which befell them.
While Radford alone may never reach the heights that Yashin have achieved, he is definitely on the right path to success. Not bad at all. 8/10