Warrior Soul @ The Asylum, 30th March 2018

As you walk into the small venue it is the merchandise stands that catch your eye. Warrior Soul are selling backdrops and artwork whereas Ryder’s Creed have a larger amount of merchandise to sell tonight in comparison with the headliners. And, as the support act take to the stage, you realise how they are treating this gig as if they are playing the Genting Arena, which is refreshing to see how wholeheartedly they are committed to their live performance. Swiftly moving on from their previous band Black Rose Cadillac, Ryder’s Creed are beginning to establish themselves in the classic rock genre, admittedly not breaking any new ground but competent nevertheless. The lead singer, Ryan Hulme, has a strong voice and their songs play to this strength. Unfortunately, their set went on too long for my liking, as I prefer a support act playing for around 20 minutes giving you a taster of what they have to offer rather than an elongated saturation. 

Warrior Soul is the band name for what is essentially Kory Clarke and his success has fluctuated but the core fan base have always remained loyal. During the mid 90s, Warrior Soul’s music moved from staunchly emotive and political rock to “acid punk” and this vibe is still permeating in the latest release Back On The Lash.

As the introductory riff of American Idol resonates, Clarke enters through the crowd, ever the rockstar in shades and a snakeskin waistcoat, and the moment he hits the stage his ability to entertain prevails. Kory Clarke’s vocals have a raspy sexiness that pervades through the initial section of new songs, despite being slightly low in the mix initially, and then the strength of his voice reaches a pinnacle when he launches into older tracks such as Ghetto Nation.

The final section of the set releases some pure blinders, including the gut-punching Ass Kickin’ which sees more of the audience drawn towards the stage to appreciate the full force of the performance. The set list plays with the pace, moving adeptly between the faster tracks such as Punk And Belligerent and the more sentimental songs of the back catalogue such as The Losers.  Warrior Soul have always had the ability to write a heart wrenching number and The Losers is the epitome of this skill, seeing Clarke giving it every ounce of emotion whilst looking into the eye of everyone near the front. The highlight of the set is Jump For Joy taken from Drugs, God And The New Republic with its shifting rhythm demonstrates how good Clarke’s touring band are. Rotten Soul draws the show to an end all too quickly, especially as precious time was lost to a broken string with no spare instrument, not before Kory raises a defiant fist into the air with a chant of “We are Warrior Soul” emulated by the adoring and clearly euphoric crowd.

Warrior Soul have always been divisive, you either love them or hate them, but tonight’s show has certainly sealed their status as one of the most overtly passionate bands and, walking out of the venue, I overheard that they had won over at least one more fan. 

Reviewer: Toni Woodward

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