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Stone Broken - O2 Institute, Birmingham 19.05.2018

After heavy snowfall forced them to cancel their hometown show back in February, Stone Broken are back with a rescheduled date – a sell out at the O2 Institute 2 in support of their new album ‘Ain’t Always Easy’. They bring along American outfit The Nectars and also The Bad Flowers.

It’s The Nectars who get the night underway, a female fronted Punk quintet hailing all the way from New Jersey. Singer Jessica Kenny instantly gives off a serious Gwen Stefani vibe, and not just because she looks similar to her! In fact, the band have stated before how they hold No Doubt as an influence, and this is very apparent in 'Heaven', which definitely succeeds in waking the crowd up and best showcases what these guys are all about. The bands debut album 'Sci-Fi Television' is about to drop, and will almost certainly be worth a listen, no doubt about it!

Next up are The Bad Flowers, a riff heavy Rock n' Roll trio who like Stone Broken are from the Midlands. Right from the off it is a joy to watch these guys, each member compliments each other so perfectly, and all have a real energy that you just can't take your eyes off. Karl Selickis has to be one of the most entertaining drummers around, and has a stage presence most frontmen would be jealous of! 'Thunder Child' is a huge highlight, and best shows the bands tight-nit ball of energy that they are. The Bad Flowers go down absolutely brilliantly with the crowd, it's safe to say they've done themselves absolutely no harm and gained some new fans for their troubles.

It's clear to see the headline act have built up quite a following so far, the room is rammed to the rafters with excited fans, and no matter where you look there is a Stone Broken t-shirt, there is a real buzz about these guys and for good reason. As soon as they take to the stage they're met with a huge roar, opening with 'Heartbeat Away', and it doesn't take long before the place is in full swing. The bands energy is fitting for a group who are playing a packed out stadium, let alone a sweaty medium sized venue! The guys are towering over the crowd for most of the show, with bassist Kieron Conroy and guitarist Chris Davis constantly swapping sides of the stage, and frontman Rich Moss clearly having the time of his life up there, drummer Robyn Haycock just doesn't stop smiling!

Much of the setlist consisted of songs from there latest release from earlier this year 'Ain't Always Easy', with 'Doesn't Matter' and 'Home' standing out as highlights. About two thirds of the way into the set we are treated to an absolute killer drum solo from Robyn, with the other members leaving to give her the whole of the stage to herself and really show off what she's got. Towards the end of the main set Rich brings his younger sister up on stage, and gets the crowd to sing her happy birthday, although explaining that her birthday was actually around the date of when the show was originally scheduled for, still a nice thing for a big brother to do though! As the band leave the stage, chants of 'Broken Army!' fill the room as the dedicated fans demand for more.

The encore opens with an emotional Rich explaining to the audience of a fan of the band named Mike, who had sadly passed away not too long ago, he followed the band everywhere in the UK and had become good friends with them, a few pictures of Mike were dotted around the room, with one leaning up against the drum head and others held up by members of the audience, which was a lovely touch. Rich proceeds to perform an acoustic number of 'Wait For You' and after dedicates not just the song but the whole night in Mike's memory. They wrap the night up with a cover of Backstreet Boys' 'Larger Than Life' and close with fan favourite 'Not Your Enemy'.

All in all, a fantastic night of live music, with two brilliant new discoveries in 'The Nectars' and 'The Bad Flowers', and a real joy to watch the mighty 'Stone Broken' who are gaining serious momentum and are surely destined for big things in the not to distant future!

Photos & Review - Sam Robinson Photography

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