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Big Face Makes Big Debut

Guildford Civic Hall, 1 March 2003

This was an eagerly awaited return to the stage for Kenney Jones. There had been much talk about this new band, not least through two extensive Daily Telegraph pieces and 2002's It's All About the Children single. As the first gig this was a chance to play together for the first time and the set consisted primarily of cover versions, albeit mostly from the former bands of Big Face members. Strangely, the multitude of Who tracks were from the pre-Kenney Jones days rather from It's Hard and Face Dances

The first thing to say is that this band is highly impressive and highly professional. Vocalist Robert Hart has a great voice and commanding stage presence. It was a pity he mixed up the lines in Substitute but the superb rendition of the Who classic meant that he was forgiven. His vocals on Handbags & Gladrags were also superb. Kenney's drums were very much to the fore and drove the band forward. He seemed to be very happy to be back on stage. Unfortunately, there was only one Small Faces track, All or Nothing, and the style of Big Face hinted that a version of a song such as Rollin' Over or Wham Bam Thank You Mam would work very well. Hart followed All or Nothing with the claim that Steve Marriott was the greatest vocalist that Britain had ever produced. Naturally, this raised a cheer of agreement. One of the highlights was the new song Mr Brown that aims to deliver an anti-tax message (hear, hear). Rick Wills introduced this song as being popular with the the Conservative Party but not at all with Labour. Let's hope that it gets a release soon, hopefully around Budget day so that it has maximum impact!! Gary Grainger was introduced as the man who wrote Hot Legs for Rod Stewart. This sounded much better than the original (I hated it originally!)

Not surprisingly, such an experienced line-up has an impressive list of friends. Jim "Nick Nick" Davidson introduced the group and added to the percussion for the last two numbers. Damon Hill, former World Formula 1 Champion, proved himself to be a more than competent guitarist on 5:15, where he took the solo, Won't Get Fooled Again and All Right Now. The final guest was John Lodge of the Moody Blues who played guitar on Chuck Berry's Sweet Little Rock & Roller although one suspected he would have preferred to have taken over Rick Wills' bass.

So this was a superb debut from Big Face. Apparently there is to be a US tour at some point this year and, hopefully, they will undertake some more UK dates as soon as possible.

Big Face are:

  • Vocals/guitar- Robert Hart (Bad Company)
  • Guitar- Gary Grainger (Rod Stewart band)
  • Bass- Rick Wills (Foreigner, Bad Company, Small Faces Mk II)
  • Drums- Kenney Jones (Small Faces, Faces, The Who)
  • Assisted by Steve Smith (Keyboards) and Nick Cook (Percussion)

Tracks included:

  • I Can't Explain
  • Maggie May
  • Cold As Ice
  • Feel Like Making Love
  • Handbags and Gladrags
  • Substitute
  • Hot Legs
  • All or Nothing
  • Angel
  • Mr Brown
  • Stay With Me
  • 5:15
  • Won't Get Fooled Again
  • All Right Now
  • Sweet Little Rock & Roller

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