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IT BITES/Jon Amor Blues Group
Bush Hall,  London 20 May 2012

First time I have been in this lovely venue - very grand with its high ceilings and chandeliers, although outside it is not one of the best parts of London!

It was a good sized crowd to see It Bites on their tour to promote their excellent new album 'Map Of The Past'. But first a highly enjoyable support set from the Jon Amor Blues Group.

Jon Amor and his three piece band ripped through some stonking blues rock including gems of the new(ish) album, 'Angel In A Black Dress'.  'She Thought I Was An Eagle' and 'Juggernaut'. They played a fast and frantic set with plenty of short but sweet guitar solos and they went down well with the crowd.

So onto It Bites who had one minor line-up change, Nathan King (Level 42) was standing in on bass for Lee Pomeroy who was playing down the road in Steve Hackett's band.

For the fan this set was amazing as the band played the whole of their new album 'Map Of The Past'. Impossible to pick highlights as the band played so well throughout the whole night although I did enjoy hearing 'Send No Flowers' (complete with the audience joining in enthusiastically) and the moving 'The Last Escape' played live.

John Mitchell fronts the band with ease with John Beck's keyboards a vital part of the sound. The only band member I couldn't see much of was drummer Bob Dalton who was tucked away at the back of the small stage.

After a quick breather from playing the album the band returned for three songs off their comeback album 'The Tall Ships'. Wisely picking the more uptempo songs they had the crowd in the palm of their hand. 'Ghosts' started of the trio of songs followed by the simply super 'Oh My God' (no sampled intro this time with John Beck bravely trying to recreate the 'I got your words' harmony intro) and 'The Wind That Shakes The Barley'.

Not sure about shaking the barley but the crowd were shaking the precariously positioned monitors at the side of the stage! After such an energetic set the band still had more for the encore 'Kiss Like Judas', the only song played from the Francis Dunnery days.

An amazing gig and with an enjoyable support band what more can you ask for? It Bites are a band looking to the future and happy with the present, just don't go expecting to hear 'Calling All The Heroes'. The night got even better with the band announcing they are back in October (although you can see them in July at the Celebr8 prog festival at the Kingston Hippodrome).

Man In The Photograph/ Wallflower/ Map Of The Past/ Clocks/ Flag/ The Big Machine/ Cartoon Graveyard/ Send No Flowers/ Meadow And The Stream/ The Last Escape/ Exit Song/ Ghosts/ Oh My God/ The Wind That Shakes The Barley/ Encore: Kiss Like Judas

Review by Jason Ritchie

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