The Waterfront, Norwich, November 17, 2021
by Adam Aiken
Norwich band Blind Tiger might look like a cross between Dothraki and a skater-boy crew, but they prove immediately that they belong on a bill with New Wave of Classic Rock luminaries Bad Touch and Piston.
With Charlie McCarthy’s vocals filling the room and Damon Daye Moon on drums looking like a man possessed, this is a well-oiled outfit that should go far.
It’s a necessarily short set, but songs such as Adrian and a great cover of Burn help this five-piece get the night off to a fantastic start.
Packing a whole lot of groove, and with songs such as Leave If You Dare in their locker, things are all set up for Piston to take tonight to the next level.
But despite their boundless enthusiasm, they’re not dealt the greatest hand when it comes to the sound.
Things are great in the slower Carry Me Home, but when it gets heavier we lose the detail that their fine tunes deserve.
Rainmaker should be a highlight of the evening but its guitar intricacies are lost in the mix. And although set closer Proud Mary is raucous good fun for everyone, it might just as well be a punk band up there blasting it out.
There are no such issues for headliners Bad Touch, though, as the Dereham boys kick off their Better Late Than Never tour in their home county.
With cracking fourth album Kiss The Sky to promote and months of enforced absence from the road giving them plenty of time to come up with a fresh setlist, it’s going to be interesting to hear which new songs have made the cut and which old favourites will be rested.
After opening with favourites Lift Your Head Up and Good On Me, frontman Stevie Westwood, resplendent in a natty floral suit, tells us – for the first of several times this evening – how thrilled he is to be back on stage.
It shows, as does the hard work they’ve been putting in during a busy lockdown: the whole unit is firing on all cylinders.
The guitar work of Rob Glendinning – especially in his solo, which has shades of Peter Green – and Daniel Seekings shines, while Michael Bailey and George Drewry hold things down at the bottom perfectly.
New songs I Get High and Can You Save Me slot naturally into the set, and listening to this Norfolk rock ‘n’ roll once more is like finding a long-lost comfort blanket.
They always like to chuck in a cover or two, and this time it’s Alanis Morissette’s turn.
“We’re doing our best to make a good song shit,” quips Westwood at the end of Hand In My Pocket. Far from it: nothing about Bad Touch tonight is shit.
But unlike when Inglorious played here a few weeks back and gave Morissette’s Uninvited their own stunning twist, tonight it feels like a wasted opportunity not to hear another of the new tracks.
It’s just a minor grumble, though, and we’re quickly back into the groove as the show races to the finish line, with the catchy Come A Little Closer, the anthemic Outlaw and regular set-closer 99%.
Before he leaves the stage, Westwood once again tells us how thrilled he is to be back. It’s clear from everyone present that the feeling’s mutual.