The Holy Rollers
Saturday 3rd October 2015
The White Bear, Mancot, Deeside
Now I may not know much, but I do know two things very well: the first one is ROCK and the second one is ROLL. And so I was looking forward to finally seeing The Holy Rollers play, bringing their unique brand of rock star to a local venue.
The White Bear is a great pub; featuring live acts every Saturday in addition to all the other wonderful things they do (like the food). It’s also very close to home for me, luckily. Though I was a bit worried I might end up hosting the after gig party for The Holy Rollers, being so close to the place. Luckily that never happened – otherwise my TV would surely have been thrown out of the window…
Wrexham’s finest – The Holy Rollers – are a covers band par excellence; expertly rendering classics across various genres from different decades. I understand they’re also debauched rock’n’rollers with a penchant for chaos and partying.
Whilst anticipation mounted, the band took their places and the intro tape played the start of the A-Team. You know, “In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison for a crime they didn’t commit…” This was the first stroke of genius of the night. If ever I’m in a band, I want the A-Team intro before I go on. Awesome.
The Holy Rollers, crack commando rock stars that they are, launched into their first set of the night setting the tone nicely, with well chosen songs that skipped across styles effortlessly. There’s some Oasis (“Rock’n’Roll Star”); some Stones (“Jumpin’ Jack Flash”) and even a classy “Beat It” to get the party started. An early highlight for me was the Weezer classic “Buddy Holly”, just ‘cos I love Weezer.
The band confidently raided the back catalogue of numerous great bands to deliver a quality set, impressing with their craft. Vocals and guitar duties are shared (and alternated) between Rob Roxx and G Bomb, adding some variety to the delivery. Both of them delivered the tunes with a cool tenacity that made it all look easy.
The first set featured a storming final run through “Should I Stay of Should I Go”, “Hard Day’s Night”, “You Really Got Me” and Primal Scream’s “Rocks”. You can’t fault that for a set list.
After a short break, the second half of the gig was back on. We get ‘Phonics classic “Local Boy in the Photograph” and a bit of Bon Jovi. The Holy Rollers version of Bad Company nugget “Feel Like Makin’ Love” was another highlight and a nice change of pace.
A mini punk rock section followed with “Teenage Kicks” (Undertones) and “Ever Fallen In Love…” (Buzzcocks). The rhythm section did a fine job of keeping everything together as the pace changed through out the gig. Bass player Maxx stalked the room like a rock’n’roll avenger with mayhem in mind. Drummer Good Boy Roy pummelled the skins as if they’d insulted his mother.
Although delivering familiar material, The Holy Rollers always have an element of surprise tucked up their sleeves. Case in point is the genius mash up of “Seven Nation Army” and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” – two songs melded together to create a whole new monster. It shouldn’t work, but it does – incredible. The White Stripes and Marvin Gaye? Who knows what other Frankensteins these mad scientists can create?
The joy of The Holy Rollers gig was the fearless renditions of songs regardless of musical styles; be it “Uptown Funk”, Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” or the Smiths. They are unafraid to play great songs, whether old or new, and regardless of genre. It made a refreshing change to hear this four man mobile juke box playing songs that were well known, but given an exciting make over.
When the gig was over, The Holy Rollers dispersed. Probably off to some rock star mansion to drive a Rolls Royce into the pool. Or setting off fire works in expensive hotels. Whatever they got up to; we, the people can rest assured. Rock’n’roll is in safe hands.