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Windmill,Rayner's Lane,London 28 March 2004

A free gig is never to be missed especially when it involves two new rock bands. A good-sized crowd (over 150 easily) considering it was a Sunday night and apparently the landlord was happy as bar takings were triple the normal Sunday night amount. Who said rock fans were a bunch of boozers  Plus proves that live bands pull the punters in if promoted!

Mother's Ruin started the evening off with a varied covers set ranging from a blistering version of Aerosmith's `Mama Kin' (although the other Aerosmith cover `Dude Looks Like A Lady' didn't quite work) to Motorhead's `Ace of Spades' via `Growing On Me' by the Darkness (credit to the singer/guitarists who made a decent stab at getting those falsetto vocals right!). Good to see `Kick Out The Jams' get an airing as well (a staple of many a Blue Oyster Cult show and originally a Doors number). A very competent three-piece, who are well worth seeing if they play near you.

Have to be very honest for the next band as Reloaded features my good friend Nikk Gunns. Good to see them live after illness prevented any live shows at the tail end of last year and you could see the band were itching to get going. Cover opened the set, a Steppenwolf classic but not the obvious one, instead `Magic Carpet Ride' and a fine way to start the set off. Reloaded play mostly originals which is a brave move given that most of the audience tonight would be hearing these songs for the first time. Some good tunes including `She's No Angel', the Bon Jovi styled ballad `I Believe' and '68 & I Owe You One'.

In guitarist Chris they have a real find (plus a deadringer for a young Bernie Marsden!) as he tackles blues rock style and fats soloing with ease. He also covered the dual guitar roles of the Thin Lizzy classic `Jailbreak' with aplomb. Only quibble of the night was the rock steady bass of Johnny Tuck was doing a Manowar and drowning out the guitar for the first two numbers, but a quick sound tweak and all was fine. Quick mention as well about vocalist Nikk Gunns, he has the attitude and the stage moves down to a tee and in the music world self-belief is an all- important commodity.

Very enjoyable night of rock `n' roll and hopefully both bands will see more live action in the coming months.

Review: Jason Ritchie

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