Breaking the Silence

After a summer spent playing all over the show at some pretty high profile festivals (Rock am Ring, SwedenRock, Hyde Park Calling etc) our old friends McQueen return to these shores for their Halloween Homecoming Tour. There have been line up changes over the summer with recently joined bassist Gina now being the recently departed Gina (not that she's dead or anything!) who in turn has been replaced by new bassist Kat (not to be confused with guitarist Cat!).

There's a much healthier crowd in Rock City than there was early on in the tour at Manchester and whilst they do seem a little static they are vocal and of course there is the usual contingent of hardcore fans that keep the noise up throughout. The set list is starting to sound a little familiar despite the order being changed and the overall sound is too quiet by some way. I hear there are plans afoot to introduce some new songs into the set after this current tour and they will be welcomed but that's not to say that the older songs have grown jaded, far from it. Despite the low volume the band still manage to inject plenty of attitude and energy into their performance with singer Leah on fine form, pulling all manner of poses and wild eyed stares.

Kat seems to have settled in well after a slightly nervous start in Manchester and the last couple of weeks have clearly seen her grow into the role, tonight's performance being far more accomplished and impressive. Kicking off with 'Dirt' it's clear that guitarist Cat is also in fine form and it goes without saying that drummer Hayley beats the crap out of her kit. A recent feature in Drummer magazine confirms what we already knew & there's no better example of her talent than on the catchy 'Running Out of Things to Say', which might not get the crowd moving but it does get them singing. There's no weak link in their set and it's hard to pick one over another but few would probably argue with the sheer brutality & aggression of 'Break The Silence', Leah's growl in the chorus seemingly having some of the younger crowd members at the front completely captivated.

It's all over fairly quickly tonight as they round it all off with 'Bitch' and they leave the stage to a great reaction. It's been a slow rise for McQueen with crowd numbers growing steadily rather than achieving overnight adulation but they're getting there & doing everything right, how many other bands would kill to be on the same stage as Twisted Sister & Saxon at Hard Rock Hell Festival? McQueen have earned it & they continue to impress.