Tag Archives: John Lawrence

STACEY CRONIN + Asylum Affair at Staines Riverside Club

It’s been a while since the “Harlech Hurricane” sashayed her stuff on the Staines stage, accompanied by her conspicuously talented bandmates.

But this week we again enjoyed the power and potency of Asylum Affair with Stacey Cronin on lead vocals as they played their evocative power-ballads to an eager crowd at Staines pre-eminent music venue, the Riverside Club.

The line-up included John Lawrence (guitar) Gar Lando (drums) Colin Payne (bass guitar) and “the claw”     aka Mark ‘Wilko’ Wilkinson who recently “broke his arm” so couldn’t provide us with any sax on the evening but nevertheless still wizzed the keyboards.

The eighties make you feel nostalgic just thinking about them — and the charm of songs from that era live on in our hearts. Who does not love Belinda Carlisle, Whitesnake, Foreigner and The Bangles?

Songs are accompanied by sensitive organ ripples, flexible bass waves and foamy ridges of guitar…@neilmach 2017 ©

So Stacey sings lusty songs about breaking up and/or uncontrollable longing and all her hearty canzones are  accompanied by sensitive organ ripples, flexible bass waves and foamy ridges of guitar.

Some songs have been removed from the set-list since the last time we saw the band play in Staines…

However many of our favorites, such as “Love Is a Battlefield” (Holly Knight with Mike Chapman and made famous by Pat Benatar) have survived the cull and demonstrate the extraordinary power and finesse of Stacey. She has a distinctively soft, warm and raspy voice of sandalwood & bourbon whiskey.

A new number is “Stop!” the Sam Brown song (Brown, Sutton, and Brody 1988) brought with it with layers of sentiment. This was overwrought, almost highly-strung — and had a sense of neurosis surrounding it. The performance at Staines was so frenzied and nuanced that it left Stacey exhausted. She collapsed in a corner to recover while the band played a musical number.

Their old bossa nova piece “Parisienne Walkways” has been replaced with another number that allows the band to show off their expertise and effectiveness. It’s been traded for the funkier “Let’s Dance” (Bowie, 1983) with John pulling-off the Stevie Ray Vaughan solo at the end with flair and confidence.

the band showed off their expertise and effectiveness…
Here John Lawrence w Colin Payne @neilmach 2017 ©

Soon after “Alone” – the ‘Heart’ chart hit – written by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly – Stacey announced that “We’ll play the ‘other’ Heart song too…” — thus neatly summarizing the Wilson sisters career.

So the band lunged into the next head rush song with enthusiasm. We were reminded of the low tones of Grace Slick (perhaps not surprising, since the Starship’s trooper was known for contributing to Heart’s recordings) and also the flavor of Steve Nicks

Never Tear Us Apart” (INXS 1988) was another superlative addition to the repertoire, with drama and passion in each corner and layer-upon-layer of ritzy synth.

Stacey Cronin and Asylum Affair at Staines Riverside Club @neilmach 2017 ©

Perhaps most enjoyed were the Fleetwood Mac songs, and especially “The Chain” from Rumours (1977) with its well-known instrumental section associated with Formula One.   And “Rhiannon” a first-half closer — taken from the predecessor album, Fleetwood Mac (1975.)

Purple Rain” (Prince, 1984) in the second half – also gave room for John’s extended solo.

And this time the ‘Giant of the Bass’ Colin stayed in his seat (he’s still recovering from a medical procedure, we wish him a full recovery) but managed to provide undoubted fervour and gusto to the rhythms along with the über-talented Gar Lando on drums.

This was a dazzling and magnificent concert with Stacey as radiant and charming as always and the band playing at its very best.

Intoxication and rhapsody in every heartbeat.

Words & Images: @neilmach 2017 ©
Link: https://www.facebook.com/asylumaffair/

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Stacey Cronin and Asylum Affair at Staines Riverside Club

The amazing quality and superlative musicianship brought to The Staines Riverside Club by ‘Stacey Cronin and Asylum Affair‘ this week made me realize that really good ‘covers’ bands should make you think.  We all know that these bands are here to entertain us.   But – from time to time – it’s nice to be challenged. And ‘Asylum Affair’ put so much effort into bringing you their passionately performed ‘forgotten classics’  that you tend to feel delightfully exhausted when it’s time to go home. They are a power-house of talent and energy.

It’s also refreshing to have some 80’s power ballads for a change. Sometimes ‘covers bands’ do not offer enough fresh ideas to an audience. Party bands should try to entertain and delight – of course – but they should also surprise their audience – perhaps revealing long hidden memories or replaying some cherished old favourites.

So we had “Alone” – the ‘Heart’ hit song –  written by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly. (They also wrote the Madonna hit “Like a Virgin” and The Bangles “Eternal Flame”.) This  piece showed off the remarkable talent of Stacey.  She is a gutsy, powerful and passionate lady. And we also had the incredible “Love Is a Battlefield” (Pat Benatar) which was released in 1983 in the United States. This song was written by Holly Knight with Mike Chapman (half of the brand “Chinnichap.”) Stacey says that this is her favourite number to perform and we could see why. She brought drama, remorse and extraordinary strength to each word of the song.  And the tune has being going around in my head every since!

http://www.asylumaffair.com
http://www.asylumaffair.com

But although the focus was on ‘The Eighties’ it does not mean that the band did not play some enjoyable hits from other decades. “Handbags and Gladrags” is normally associated with the Stereophonics or with the theme tune of  ‘The Office’. But it was actually written in 1967 by Mike d’Abo (vocalist with Manfred Mann) before being offered to Chris Farlowe as a single. Dave Greenslade played the piano riff on that original version. Asylum Affair’s interpretation had everything that we expected from this much loved song. Pathos, the sense of loss and  the overpowering nostalgia. It was all there.  Ahh! Those bittersweet memories. It was an excellent cover.

The Boss” was also covered. “Born to Run” (1975) was sung with the same vigorous hard-working energy that you would expect from  Bruce Springsteen himself. The ‘Clarence Clemons’ sax piece was expertly executed by Mark ‘Wilko’ Wilkinson, who swapped keyboards for the saxophone. Later we also had “Because the Night” – one of my favourite songs of all time –  it was written by Bruce Springsteen for his ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’ album in 1978.  And it is still Patti  Smith’s most popular  number.

Stacey Cronin’s voice is often compared favourably with Bonnie Tyler. But I think that her voice has more in common with Steve Nicks than with Tyler. It has that high quality husk – for sure – but it is not so acidic or sand papery.  The voice  is light, fluorescent and powdery.

So, when the band played their songs from Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ album, we enjoyed the full range of delicate expressionism – easily spliced with powerful zest and gusto. For these songs,  the boys also came to the microphones to provide some beautiful harmonic backing vocals. And the Fleetwood Mac numbers provided an opportunity for John Lawrence (lead guitar) to produce an abundance of perfectly pitched and lavishly adorned solo work.

During one number – the ‘Prince’ odyssey  that is “Purple Rain” (1984) –  the excellent ‘Giant of the BassColin Payne moved so far from the stage  – (using his wireless kit) – that he more-or-less left the building. John then focussed on the blooms and contortions of that famously extended guitar solo. It was moving stuff!

The Staines Riverside Club has brought some incredible music to Staines over the years. And they can be justifiably proud of hunting down Stacey Cronin and Asylum Affair. This is every bit a high quality music act.

So please don’t miss them next time they come around. And support live music locally.

– © Neil Mach May 2013 –

Link:

https://www.facebook.com/asylumaffair

Check http://www.ents24.com/staines-events/staines-riverside-club for the next gig at the Riverside Club

Stacey Cronin and Asylum Affair