Live Review: Kira Mac - The Patriot, Crumlin
27th November 2022
Support: Dan Byrne
Words & Photos: Paul Hutchings
It’s often said that variety is the spice of life and 24 hours after watching the crushing technical Faces of Death tour in Bristol I find myself a mere 20 minutes up the road from the house to catch one of the hottest acts on the classic rock circuit today. It may be a Sunday night but the Welsh certainly like their standard hard rock and have sold this gig out weeks in advance. It’s the proverbial nose to nipple in the venue, which is one of the best in South Wales with the team there having invested big time in ensuring that everyone has a good time. That’s down to the driving passion of proprietor Angela Draycott and family, who ensure that everyone from artist to first time fan is treated with a smile and a warm welcome. There are few venues where the landlady would give you a free drink when you are reviewing and shooting. It really is a magical place and feedback from visiting musicians is also universally positive.
It's no surprise that the venue is rammed to capacity though, as the two acts playing are both Steelhouse Festival alumni from earlier this year and with the festival being within stone’s throw of the festival site, well, you can work it out.
It’s a real treat first as former Revival Black Dan Byrne treats us to a lovely, seven-track acoustic set. Dan has been working with Myke Gray for some time, so it’s an even greater thrill to see Myke bringing his fantastic guitar skills alongside Dan. It’s a simple, but beautiful set, mixing tracks written by Myke, Dan, Red White & Blue, Revival Black and Skin. ‘Hemispheres’ from the recent Revival Black album sets off the goosebumps and Skin’s Tower of Strength particularly exhilarating. The latter allows us time to find our voices and at Myke’s urging, the Welsh choir make the song our own. It’s a phenomenal start to the evening, with two of the nicest people in the rock world showing their qualities in stunning fashion. A real joy to catch.
It’s not been more than a couple of weeks since I reviewed Kira Mac’s debut ‘Chaos is Calling’ but the album has such support that it’s already crashed into the UK top 20 with a number 13 placing. Standing next to the stage as the band take their places, you may not have witnessed vocalist Rhiannon Hill looking a little stage fright as she waited to race on. You’d certainly never have guessed it a minute later as Kira Mac launch into ‘Deadman Walking’, one of several songs from the new album. I say several because the band play the entire album’ albeit not in order.
I was impressed with the band’s recovery at Steelhouse after some horrible technical difficulties, but tonight they simply ace it from start to finish. The songs sound great, with a cover of Nickleback’s ‘Animals’ one of three covers thrown in to beef up the set list. ‘Hit Me Again’ has the crowd pumped, whilst they slow things down a little with the ballad ‘Never Going to Stay’. Between songs, Hill is a chatterbox, her enthusiasm spilling over with tales of recording songs with Imagine and Yesterday in the title whilst in Liverpool. Drummer Max Rhead gets a heroic welcome (his dad is part of the Steelhouse team), the band launch into the title track of the album (named after their generally chaotic approach) and the venue bursts with joy. The music is short, sharp, and snappy. The band are slick, with guitarists Joe Worrall and Alex Novakovic adding some steel to the band’s hard rock sound.
Encore time starts with a singalong as ‘Nothing Else Matters’ gets the crowd going again, before ‘One Way Ticket’ sends everyone home happy. “Will you come and see us again” Hill asks during the set. It’s a resounding yes from the audience. With the backing of Planet Rock (big favourites in these parts) it’s likely that the next time Kira Mac headline in Wales it will be in a larger venue. That’s what The Patriot is all about. And we can all say that we were there close to the start. A wonderful evening.
Photo credits: Paul Hutchings