At the Think Tank, Newcastle, U.K., March 17, 2017

BONAFIDE (Live at the Think Tank, Newcastle, U.K., March 17, 2017)
Photo: Mick Burgess

On the day that Metallica announce their latest UK tour, that comes no closer to Newcastle than Manchester at a wallet busting £95.00 a ticket which includes a £10, yes, that’s £10 booking fee for each ticket, it’s refreshing to see that the grass roots of Hard Rock is very much alive and kicking as Sweden’s Bonafide headed back to the region as headliner of a tasty three band bill and all for little more than the price of Metallica’s booking fee.

After over 20 years on the road and 9 albums under their belts there was no shortage of quality songs to play as fellow Swede’s Killer Bee delivered a hugely satisfying but overly short set of quality melodic Hard Rock, a type that Sweden seems to produce with consummate ease. Lead singer Brian “Bee” Frank’s powerful voice particularly imposed itself on the Zeppelin inspired Children of the Evolution.

While a tour that incorporates a show in Norwich one night followed immediately by a long slog up country for a show in Newcastle the next night may be enough to finish most bands off, it represented no more than “a trip around the corner” for Aussie three piece Tequila Mockingbyrd.

Losing bassist Jess Reilly on the eve of the tour due to unforeseen family problems could have been a disaster for the trio if it were not for the last minute arrival of Keira Kenworthy stepping into the breach and after a couple of hasty rehearsals, it’s as if she was always part of the band.

With their debut album due out within the weeks the girls were primed and raring to go kicking off with the sprightly Money Tree it was clear they had what it takes. The feisty, Punk energy with a large slab of Pop melodies along with the edgy vocals of Estelle Artois and the animated, powerhouse drumming of Josie O’Toole showed they had learned a thing or two on the road with the likes of Richie Ramone and Cherie Currie of the ultimate girl group, The Runaways. Their riotous cover of Somebody Put Something In My Drink by The Ramones would certainly have met with Richie’s approval. Jager Bombs and I Smell Rock’n’Roll give a pretty good indication of where these girls are coming from.

Already heavily play listed on Rock radio and with some high profile tours and festival appearances behind them and with their debut album poised for release, the future is looking bright for Tequila Mockingbyrd.

14 shows in 14 days, playing the length and breadth of the country, now that’s what you call a tour, just like they used to do in the old days. Bonafide may be celebrating their 10th anniversary this year but their whole soul and attitude pays homage to the spirit and passion of ’70’s Hard Rock.

The foot to the floor beat and pumping bass of Dirt Bound and Rock ‘n’Roll Skal (that’s cheers in Swedish by the way) are simple yet deadly effective. Rock ‘n’ Roll was never meant to be like doing quadratic equations, it’s meant to be fun and fun this was.

Lead singer and guitarist Pontus Snibb was one engaging frontman, armed with a voice perfect for the likes of Peg Legged Pete and No Doubt About It adding a twist of cheeky wit along the way to bring the stories to life. When not fronting Bonafide, Snibb can be seen behind the drums for alt. country cult heroes Jason and The Scorchers. What a talented chap.

Joined by lead guitarist Anders Rosell, former Raging Slab drummer Nikklas Mattson and bassist Martin Ekelund, who looked every inch the Rockstar pulling the poses with his low slung Gibson Firebird bass, Bonafide now have the settled line up to take them onwards and upwards.

Loud Band, Hard Livin’ Man and Fill Your Head of Rock need no explanation and do just what you’d expect and do it well. If fist pumping Hard Rock anthems with a distinct ’70’s vibe are your thing then you’ll be hard pushed to find a better live band around than Bonafide.

Three bands for around a fiver each of hot, sweaty Rock ‘n’ Roll. Now that’s a great way to start the weekend.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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