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The Standard, Walthamstow, London 17 October 2009

Stray, photo by Noel Buckley

Here at GRTR! Towers Stray are one of our favourite bands.  Led by the ever dynamic Del Bromham who has steered the band through forty years of rocking culminating with the release of last years excellent 'Valhalla' CD. The best material from the band since the classic debut back in 1970.

Steve Boyce, photo by Noel Buckley

I have to give special mention to support - The Steve Boyce Band.  Despite the pub sounding band name, Boyce and his boys have been going for some time and last year won a competition on Absolute Radio, which saw them winning a support slot on the main stage opening for Eric Clapton at Hyde Park.  Playing standard hard rock music with catchy hooks, the band are well worth checking out.

I've seen Stray many times and the band have never disappointed me and tonight was to be no exception.  The perfect setting to see Stray is on a Saturday night in a club size venue with the beer flowing freely, which was tonight here in the East End of London.

Stray, photo by Noel Buckley

For a three piece Stray create a powerful heavy bluesy sound. Del Bromham out front gracing us with some great guitar solos whilst also singing songs with passion and meaning.  New boy drummer Karl Randall, the youngest member of the band, has brought a metallic sound to the band especially on the newer numbers.

Such confidence the band have in 'Valhalla' that five songs are performed which all get great applause. The ever 'youthful' bassist Stuart Uren (who defies age) takes on joint vocals on the funky 'Skin' and the infectious 'Free At Last' two tracks that are great even on first listen.

Stray, photo by Noel Buckley

'1600 Pennsylvania Avenue' was another great new track which will send shivers down the White House, and 'Harry Farr' continued the war theme, a story about the execution of the young soldier for cowardice in 1916, is a poignant choice.

Of course there was classic choices aplenty.  The timeless 'Time Machine' is always a joy to hear, as is the frantic 'Jericho'.

My favourite 'I Believe It' is the stadium track that Noel Gallagher never wrote, a forgotten classic.

Stray are best known for 'All In Your Mind' which ended the main set tonight which also included versions of 'Enter Sandman' and 'Daytripper' mid-section of this epic track which ended with plenty of feedback from Bromham.

Stray are one of the hardest gigging bands in the UK and you can do them some justice by checking them out.  Like I said at the beginning, they never disappoint.

Set list : Houdini / Move A Mountain / Skin / Time Machine / Jericho / After The Storm / 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue / Harry Farr / Free At Last / I Believe It / Suicide / Buying Time / All In Your Mind... encores... Hallelujah / Rock 'N Roll / Move It

Review  by Mark Taylor

Photos by Noel Buckley

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