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4 August 2012

Two Rivers Festival, photo by David Wilson

The Two Rivers Festival is part of an annual arts festival run by the local council. What makes it slightly different to a regular, locally run festival is that the promoters, Loud and Proud in conjunction with Real XS usually manage to lure a big name to headline and this year we were to be treated to The Union, none too shabby I'm sure you will agree.

The event itself is held in a pedestrian zone in the town centre of Paisley  (which is just outside Glasgow in case you are wondering) and on arrival I was faced with a crowd split between rockers there for the music and Saturday shoppers wondering what all the racket was about.

Devil May Cry, photo by David Wilson

The racket at that point was being created by local band Devil May Cry who proved to be a bit tasty. They play a melodic, AOR style of rock of which I only caught the last couple of numbers, it was enough however to convince me that they would be worth catching again at some point.

My first full set of the day was provided by Fastlayne who proved to be another cracker. Again, more melodic rock but with a harder edge, UFO sprung to mind at times, and they went down well in the afternoon sunshine.

Fastlayne, photo by David Wilson

Vocalist Robert Traish once fronted a thrash metal band called Drunken State back in the day, and proved to be a bit of a seasoned pro when it came to playing up to the crowd; hell, he even managed a chorus of Spongebob Squarepants for the younger members of the audience which got one of the biggest cheers of the day.

Toozup were next to tread the boards. They are a fairly bog standard covers band and were competent enough, but nothing special, they are available for birthdays and weddings I believe!

Gallus Cooper, photo by David Wilson

Following Toozup though we had one of Scotland's best tribute acts Gallus Cooper, who pay a pretty faithful homage to the great man. Opening with 'Bed Of Nails' the band immediately impressed with frontman Gallus looking even more haggard than the real item!

All the Alice favourites were aired including 'Billion Dollar Babies' complete with doll and sword, a crowd pleasing 'Poison' and the inevitable 'School's Out' complete with giant balloons being tossed into the crowd.

Gallus Cooper, photo by David Wilson

Great entertainment then from a fantastic band were all on top form. I will need to catch their full show at some point which contains the 'full monty' Alice show, snakes and all.

The Amorettes, photo by David Wilson

The clouds were gathering overhead as The Amorettes took to the stage. Having just released their first album 'Haulin' Ass', this all girl trio are starting to make a bit of a name for themselves. Not having seen them before I was unsure what to expect and to be honest I feared the worst.

The Amorettes, photo by David Wilson

What we got though was a new Rock Goddess, these girls can rock with the best of them. Heavy bassline and hard melodic guitars are the order of the day coupled with a strong vocal from Gilliam Montgomery. During the set, the heavens opened and the aerial pyrotechnics added to the performance, the rain however sent the crowd scurrying for cover which was a shame.

The wildcard of the day though were The Wee Band who are the product of the promoters Loud And Proud which is a music school which gives youngsters a start in music and do some sterling work.

The Wee Band, photo by David Wilson

I have been to enough school concerts though to know what these things can be like, good for the parents, not so good for everyone else, but this crew are in a different league. All aged between 13 and 16 the band would put many older, more established names to shame.

Opening with 'Sweet Child 'O Mine' the band were a revelation. It is hard to single out individuals as all on stage put in a great performance, the stage presence isn't quite there yet, but that will come with time which they have plenty of.

The Wee Band, photo by David Wilson

Set highlights included a great version of 'The Chain' and a very heavy version of Rock Sugar's mash-up 'Don't Stop The Sandman' which ended their set. A highly impressive set then from a group of very talented individuals, definitely ones to watch out for.

Chips then beckoned after which we picked our spot to witness Attica Rage. Frontman Jonny and drummer Ritchie both originally come from Paisley and their family were out on mass to lend their support including the Rage grannies.

Attica Rage, photo by David Wilson

The band had thought about toning down their set a bit to appeal to the passing masses, but decided instead to do what they do best and rock hard and heavy.

Opening with 'Road Dog Forever' the crowd were with the band from the first chords. Jonny was in fine voice and the rest of the guys played like men possessed and were clearly having a ball. The bulk of the set was culled from the excellent 'Road Dogs' album including a sing-along version of 'Ashamed' which went down well.

Attica Rage, photo by David Wilson

The guys also aired one new track from their forthcoming album which they are in the process of writing and recording, the working title is 'Flight 180' and it is a monster of a track with Ritchie battering the living daylights out of his bass drum.

Attica Rage, photo by David Wilson

If this is the standard of the new material, then we are in for a treat come the end of the year. The guys threw in a couple of crowd friendly covers, namely 'Rebel Yell' and 'Paranoid' which finished off a solid set. The Rage grannies should be very proud.

The Union, photo by David Wilson

The stage was then set for The Union and as just as Luke Morley struck the first chords of opener 'Watch The River Flow' the heavens opened once more and this time it showed no signs of abating quickly. The guys and the crowd though soldiered on in the downpour and provided a set that was worth the soaking.

'Black Gold' was next followed by live favourite 'Blame It On Tupelo'. The crowd reaction was a bit muted in the conditions, but the band play up a storm, literally.

The Union, photo by David Wilson

I have seen The Union twice already this year and this show was equally as good, unfortunately the weather did dampen spirits a bit, but those who remained were rewarded with a top class show with Pete and Luke swapping guitar licks as quickly as the rain was falling. A good end to the day.

The Two Rivers proved to be a great event with a fantastic array of bands. Credit must go to the local council for resurrecting it this year (it was cancelled in 2011 due to lack of finance) and hopefully after the success this year's event, 2013 should already be pencilled in.

Review, interview and photos by David Wilson

Gallus Cooper Review (17 August)

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