The Loft, Southampton

Tonight is the first night of Derby 5-piece Rock outfit These Wicked Rivers, eleven date Forces Of Nature UK Tour. The band are looking forward to showcasing for the first-time, tracks from their new album to be released early in 2024. Tonight’s gig is at the Loft in Southampton a 300-capacity venue with an intimate feel to it. With Baltic minus temperatures outside, hopefully this evening’s three strong line-up will inject us with some much needed warmth.

The first support is London guitarist/vocalist Kit Trigg along with rhythm section of Guy Flannigan on bass and Nick Slight on drums. Today is the day that the band release their “Goin’ For Glory” 4 track EP and much of the audience who are already au fait are looking forward to hearing tracks from it. With his well-loved Fender Strat, Kit shows off his considerable skill on the fret board with some impressive rhythmic backing. Tracks like blues-infused “Making It” and the Ep’s title track also show off Kit’s captivating vocal range. His number one fans, his Mother and Father are in the audience tonight and they watch their son proudly as he wows the audience with a great set.

The set includes a great snippet of Jon Forgery’s “Proud Mary” and the band’s own version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well”. Their sound includes a host of influences from the 1970’s as well as more recent modern-day sounds. His mastery with the guitar is certainly one to behold and for my first experience of seeing this trio live is one of amazement. This rest of the crowd share my positivity and show their considerable support after they leave the stage to hopefully shift a few copies of the new EP at the merch stall.

Kit Trigg
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Next up is the main tour support The Karma Effect, a band I was fortunate enough to catch at last year’s Loverocks Festival just down the road in St Leonards (Near Bournemouth). These guys are a perfect match to be on tour with tonight’s headliners as they both share a love for vintage Rock ‘n Roll. The five lads arrive onstage looking fine in their retro psychedelia stage clothes and light up the place with their opening number “Steal Your Heart”, the Gibson Les Pauls sound top notch and frontman Henry Gottelier (who reminds me of a young Toby Jepson) and Robbie Blake provide some fine six-string melodic sounds.

The band who describe themselves as the illegitimate lovechild of Black Crowes and Aerosmith, with a step-sibling of Greta Van certainly are as thrilling to watch as they are to hear. Despite being the first night of the tour, tonight’s sound guy has done a fantastic job and the band are sounding perfect. With all the elements; Guitar, Keyboards, Bass, Drums, and vocals combining well together to create the band’s significant sound. The set is a mix of old and new; with a showcase from the band’s forthcoming album “Promised Land” and a preview in the form of the title track where they have found some fresh creativity that sounds like all five cylinders are firing up. The band end their 45 minute set with the excellent “Testify” and they get the crowd evolved with a euphoric sing-along to end things on a high.

The Karma Effect
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The headliners dutifully take to the stage and despite being a fair way from home, they get a warm welcome from this Southampton crowd. The last time they were in this neck of the woods they played just down the road at the 1865 during Nozfest; where I was fortunate enough to stage manage for them. Kicking off with the title track of the new album the band quickly settle in and show us what they are made of. They are a solid unit of five musicians, all who have they’re rightful place in the band and provide significant contributions. They are just a joy to watch and their own enthusiasm for their epic retro Rock is clear and it soon radiates into the audience.

The psychedelically dressed stage with its drapes; vases filled with flowers, standard lamps and colourful logo backdrop match the coloration of the music. I’m a huge fan of guitar music with Scott Gorham, Neil Young and Gary Moore being amongst my favourites. Guitarist Arran Day is certainly out to join this list, he is one of the most animated players in the business with his sidekicks and with solos he plays are just something precious to behold. Each song that the band play you can just feel the audience holding their breath waiting for the rush of rhythm; the pace of the guitar and the emotive vocal delivery, they just grab you by the scruff of the neck.

These Wicked Rivers
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New and old tracks are woven together with a beautifully flowing setlist that has a fine momentum and not a spare moment to even grab a drink at the bar. These guys hold your attention, not with what they say but with how they play. From the epic wall of noise that is “Evergreen”, to the smouldering “When The War Is Won” you just cannot tear yourself away and why would you want to.

The new album features some great tracks and the band seem to have upped their game in the creativity stakes with tracks like “Riverboat Man”, “The Family” and the exceptional mind altering “Just To Be A Man”; along with the mind-blowing guitar solo in “Lord Knows”, which is worth the entrance fee alone. When singer John Hartwell smiles, he smiles with his eyes and you can tell as he looks around at the audience, he is more than pleased with the impact that has been made with his band’s music. This album is not out until the 1st March and when it hits the shelves it’s going to find its way into the hearts of guitar music fans.

The set closes with grandiose “Don’t Pray For Me” and I close my eyes and let the tune’s epic contours wash over me and impregnate my ears getting into my brain. Aaran and John’s guitars fill me with great joy, just like those great guitarists of yesteryear did. What a absolutely fantastic night, if the tour is rolling into your town or somewhere close by I suggest you get yourself along and grab yourself an experience that you will never forget.

These Wicked Rivers
Force of Nature
Black Gold
When The War Is Won
That Girl
Riverboat Man
Lord Knows
World in Chains
The Family
Lonely Road
Just To Be a Man
Shine On
Don’t Pray For Me

The Karma Effect
Steal Your Heart
Doubt She’s Coming Back
Livin’it Up
Promised Land
The River
Wrong Again

Kit Trigg
Freak of Nature
Show ‘Em What Yo’re Made Of
Making It
Proud Mary (John Fogerty)
Goin’ For Glory
Oh Well (Fleetwood Mac)
Light at The End Of The Tunnel
Snake In The Grass
Grow With The Flow



Words & Media by David Chinery
Pictures by Lynn Frances Photography

these Wicked Rivers