For a sophisticated evening of musical entertainment, nothing works better than some wonderfully crafted adult contemporary pieces, sung with feeling, and performed by a group of musicians who are truly accomplished.
This Thursday we were treated to a thoroughly entertaining show by Stacey Cronin and Asylum Affair at the superlative Staines Riverside Club.
Small in stature, impressive in vocal authority, Stacey reminds us of Janis Joplin — with the grit and husk in her throat that you might associate with Bonnie Tyler. Her vocals are yielded with intense drama and sentiment.
The band specializes in slow-tempo songs that evolve into strong and emotional climaxes. These power-ballads are almost always supported by majestic drums, polished electric guitars, and sublimely powerful choruses.
So memorable covers included “Alone” – the ‘Heart’ hit song – written by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly. This gave the opportunity for John Lawrence (lead guitar and backing vox) to emulate Nancy Wilson (who played lead guitar in the original recording) and illuminate the centre-piece with some evocative sounds
We loved the Asylum Affair version of “Love Is a Battlefield” (Pat Benatar) – which was released in 1983 in the States. This song was written by Holly Knight and Mike Chapman (half of the brand known as “Chinnichap.”) It is a dark, almost painful, song… With under-currents that evoke feelings of emotional difficulty and imminent “Heartache to heartache …” Stacey dug deep into her inner strength to provide sincere sadness and heightened nostalgia.
Mike d’Abo’s “Handbags and Gladrags” was also wonderful. And the Springsteen numbers— “Born to Run” (1975) with ‘Wilko’ Wilkinson on sax (and keys) — and also “Because the Night” (made famous by Patti Smith) were both bold and powerful.
The Fleetwood Mac songs (from the Rumours album) gave ‘Wilko’ a chance to pull out all the stops on his keyboards. And John Lawrence thrilled us with his amazing technique on the Guns N’ Roses number (“Sweet Child O’ Mine”.) And we cannot forget the solidly reliable and inventively rhythmic contributions made by Colin Payne ( bass guitar and vox) and Gar Lando (drums).
This was earnest and zealous power-pop rock with vocals from Stacey that were so hot and steamy they almost peeled the wallpaper off.
Words & Images: @neilmach 2015 ©